Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Graphic Novel Book Review

Comic books, graphic novels, whatever you call them, I still find them entertaining, and just as good a read as the 500 page, 5pt font book on the highest shelf of the library. Just because it's full of pictures doesn't change anything.

My point is, I just finished reading Page by Paige, by Laura Lee Gulledge. A wonderful 192 page book following a comic style, while adding an artistic element to the pictures and themes throughout.

Paige Turner, (her parents are writers) has just moved from Virginia to New York. She's an aspiring artist who is losing faith her ability, and herself. Through a promise to herself to try to change things, she makes new friends, gains some confidence, and illustrates the entire journey in her sketch book, which is more or less the book that is being read.

It didn't take long to read. It took maybe an hour or two to get through with no distractions, aside from dinner. From page one I liked it. I like the quirky little drawings, and the more meaningful ones. Page lives very much inside her head, and it comes out in her life through these drawings. A sign that lists sketchbooks for sale becomes "best friends" for sale, and a cold wind literally cuts through her.

She exaggerates differences between herself and others. One instance in particular that I liked was an image of a group of students and herself, showing only the legs and the feet. Paige was the only one in a pair of jeans and Converse surrounded by leggings and Uggs. Which quite frankly, was my high school experience.

Some other little things I loved about this book that added to the experience include the fact that it's completely in black and white. So I think instead of being overwhelmed by color, we're sucked into the story itself. The author also made a font out of her handwriting for the text. And all throughout the book there were subtle references to different bands, and other aspects of her real life.

But in my opinion, the greatest thing about this book was how inspirational it is. It applies to anyone struggling in an art form, not just sketch artists, or people who put wheat-paste art on the walls of a city. Paige not only helps herself, but her friends -- a singer, a comic artist, and a writer -- through the same fears we all have as we work to reach our dreams. Fear of rejection, fear of self doubt, fear of losing touch with doing something we love.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever worried if their art was ever good enough, or to anyone who ever felt like they didn't quite belong, and to anyone who has ever lived in their head.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Small Time Adventure Today

I went to the bookstore and spent fifty dollars, when I could have gotten twice as much for that price on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Narrator

Another Wednesday, another Road Trip.

Let's face it... sometimes we really want to read, but we're too tired to keep our eyes open, so we want someone to tell us the story instead. That's all fine and dandy, but your parents say you're too old to be read to. You're next door neighbor stares at your momentarily before slamming the door in your face. And you're pretty sure that strange guy on the side of the road will read to you, but you forgot he's actually illiterate.

What we need here is an audio book. They will read with pause, unless we want them to, and without dirty looks in our direction. But as great as they are, they raise the question, "who should read them?"

Ah, now that I can answer.

I've narrowed it down to three. Three celebrity voices that could read an epic book, or make a really bad book suck less:


1. James Earl Jones -- the obvious choice. But with classics like "Build it Ray, and they will come" and everything he said in The Lion King under his belt, not to mention those old at&t commercials, he's no newcomer to awesome narrative voices.


2. Morgan Freeman -- he's God. That's about all I have to say about that.


3. Gerard Way -- oh here we go. Now you all roll your eyes, but I have legitimate reasoning, (besides the fact that I went to a My Chem concert last Friday, which if you're interested, you can read the review here.)

But in all honesty, this man has a great voice. It's different. And he's good at narrating. At least that's what I've thought ever since I heard him in this little piece where he actually did narrate something. He can convey emotion, story, and the creepy. And if you have any doubt about his acting abilities, you'd better watch him in this video here.

(Give me a break. I did just go to a concert after all.)

Those are my choices. What are yours?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Can I Leave This Here?

First off, I have the first page of my WIP posted for critique here, and here.

Which brings to mind concerns of mine...

With such a strong dislike of my current job, I'm trying to invest more energy into writing, revising, editing, etc, and I suddenly feel incredibly overwhelmed. I know I don't have many followers, but perhaps the twenty-something that I do have can help me out?

If I'm going to be honest, I'm going to state that I haven't felt good about writing in a long time. I still love it, but ever since I started trying to "fix" my wip, I've been second guessing every word I write. Am I being to passive? Am I telling too much and not showing enough? Are there too many adjectives and not enough verbs? And no matter how many times I tell myself to ignore that and just write what I want to write, those thoughts always come creeping back in, and I worry that I'm screwing myself up.

I'm not asking for a wave of complements here. I'm asking for honest opinions. I need to know if I'm just being to over-analytical.

--

I'd like to add, I think it would help if I had a critique partner. And honest to goodness critique partner who has been in the game and knows what to look for and how to point things out. But I have no idea where to start looking. Any ideas?

And, anyone know where I can find an excellent description of showing versus telling? That seems to be a weakness of mine, and I thought I understood it, but I guess I don't.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Few Italics

He grabbed her wrists and pulled them down. His gaze was so intense she was actually afraid of the one person who couldn't hurt her. He wouldn't hurt her -- he shouldn't hurt her.

"Do you want to know what it's like to have wings?" Suddenly she regretted asking the question. She felt the air shift as he spoke. His grip tightened and it made her wrists burn. Behind him, pages of opens books flapped and curtains fluttered.

A set of wings unfolded from his back almost a feather at a time. They almost looked fake -- opaque, a shadow in the air -- until they stretched all the way out, reaching from one wall to another in the small room.

Beautiful, vibrant -- reds and oranges to match his hair. Unique to him even in a group of the same kind.

"You can't possibly begin to imagine," he said. "And I want you try."

In one fluid movement, his hands went from her wrists to her shoulders. One touched her forehead and her legs buckled.


--

What is this? you might be asking. Heck if I know. I came up with it on my break at work tonight. (The grocery store work, not the bank work. The work I don't dread going to.) Where it came from I have no idea. I just know that it looked a whole lot longer in cursive on a piece of paper I took from the customer service desk.

However, I think I like it. But just because I like it doesn't mean it's good. So critique the heck out of it, if you would be so kind to do so. I think it's the basis for a new story I want to write. Ironically, it's a story I've been trying to write, but with new inspiration, and even a new character. This nameless character isn't who he used to be. He actually has a name, but it's different. He looks different too. My delusions need to be written down, so, I did just that.

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And this is also where I'd like to state my thoughts/concerns about prologues. To me, that's the way I work, but I hear a lot of negative things about how writers shouldn't include them. I never write with the intent of writing a prologue, but I tend to do better with writing something a little in the middle, and then going back. In the grand scheme (prologue, chapter 1) and on a smaller scale, (my wip chapter 1 starts with the aftermath, then goes back to what happened that day.)

So I ask you, my lovely followers, if this was the beginning of the book, just on it's own, to be followed by a separate chapter 1 that probably takes place before this, would you read it?)

(Please excuse any possible run on sentences, or horrible grammar. It's 11pm, and I'm tired. My body has adjusted to a new schedule that my consciousness has not.)

Oh! And go ahead and give me your personal thoughts on prologues, etc. I'd love to hear them!