The Green Association for Sustainability

Examining, Defining and Promoting a Sustainable World

Category: Arts and Culture (page 1 of 2)

Art and culture define humanity.  Both are essential to the sustainability of society.

MANAGING BOOK RESEARCH

A Guest Post By Author Teresa Trent, Houston Writers Guild member

Book research can be an exciting part of the writing craft. The process can be interesting and fun; still, many authors admit that research can also become daunting.  Additionally, excess research can be overwhelming, as well as a handy procrastination tool.  If book research is taking you away from developing your story, get back on track with a research plan and a few simple rules.

Planning First:  What Does Book Research Involve?

Primarily, book research involves time and effort.  After producing several books, I discovered that I often spend too much time performing book research.  For example, in A Dash of Murder, I spent long hours looking at pictures of haunted tuberculosis hospitals. I watched TV programs on ghost hunting, taking careful note of the paranormal activity equipment used.

Researching Doggone Dead sent me down the strangest paths, yet. Did you know there is a large assortment of YouTube videos featuring exploding port-a-potties? Spoiler Alert! Now you know — the john is going to blow in that story.

It is easy to get caught up learning about things that my heroine gets involved in while solving her cozy mysteries. I have researched hurricanes, arson, beekeeping, calamine lotion, wedding planners, hot air balloon crashes, and German food. Now, my book research is taking me into the world of psychics and the art of children’s book illustrations.

To avoid over-researching and spending too much time retrieving the information, make a book research plan and organize your research so that you can easily find the information when you need it.

How To Organize Your Book Research

Keeping track of your book research can soon become overwhelming. Through experience, trial and error, I have found several ways to stay organized:

1.    Make Notes!

Keeping notes on your book research is essential.  Begin your research journey by creating a RESEARCH file on your computer.  Place documents, pictures, sound and video clips, emails archives, and any other virtual research here.  If you have a notebook system such as EvernoteⓇ or OneNoteⓇ you can simply click from your article’s website and paste it to your notebook. You can also use a word document, and fill it up with clippings from the internet.  The ScrivenerⓇ writing software offers specific research files and templates.

2.  Keep copies of URLs  

When you use an internet source, make sure you copy the URL.  If you use OneNoteⓇ, dock the program to your desktop by clicking on “View”, then “Dock to Desktop”.  You can cut and paste, or select and drag text and pictures. The program will automatically include the URL and any source citations.  If you have a large list of URLs, a simple spreadsheet can be used to store the research information. Regardless of the program you are using to write in, always copy the URL.  That way you will always know its source, and can find the original site again.

3. Use Pinterest

Think of Pinterest as a bulletin board where you pin up articles you are using for research.   You can create “Public” or “Private” boards.  When you save items privately, only you can see and access them. ..  Public boards provide your readers with a visual into your past works, as well as your work in progress.  Use a separate private board for each series. You can dump pictures, articles and videos on the boards.  Use Pinterest to collect setting and prop pictures, articles on story elements, and even pictures of people that may look like your characters. Pinterest can be a great time saver.

4. Go Beyond Your Computer

Let your book research take you out into the world. In my book, Overdue for Murder, I wrote a scene of a gathering of sci-fi, chick-lit and horror authors.  To produce the dialogue, I needed to gather information on these various genre’s.  Through the Houston Writers Guild’s local literary functions, I spoke with several genre authors. By simply asking “what do you write?”, these authors gladly offered a treasure trove of information.

You Don’t Have to be an Expert!

Sometimes, you may not be able to find the information you need.  I once spent weeks trying to find a substance that would cause someone to eat more cupcakes, without results.  What did I do? Mysterious Additive X was born. Nobody said my baked-goods gateway drug had to be real!

Book research can be fun, interesting and essential to telling your story.  Without a plan, too much information can bog down your story and take away from plot development. Create a system to organize your book research, and choose information that will flow easily into your story. Good luck with your writing, and I’d avoid that port-a-potty if you possibly can.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY:

Teresa Trent writes cozy mysteries that take place in small and quirky Texas towns.  She was born in Tennessee, and is especially fond of Colorado, Illinois and Texas.   After the birth of her son with Down Syndrome, Teresa decided to featured a similar character in her Pecan Bayou series.  She continues that theme in the Henry Park Series with “Gigi”, a young woman with cerebral palsy. Teresa lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, two of her adult children and a needy dachshund mix named Martin Luther.

Teresa’s latest cozy mystery is Color Me Dead. She is also the author of six books in The Pecan Bayou Mystery Series and has been in the top 100 cozy mysteries on Amazon. You can visit her website, and find her on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter or follow her blog.

 

“IT”: The Curious Trailer of Stephen King’s Film Adaptation Trailer

By Kimmarie Rojas, MLS, SEO

“We all float down here …”

…and on September 8, Stephen King’s unforgettable thriller, “IT”, will be floating into a theater near you. Pennywise the Clown, arguably one of King’s most terrifying creatures, will be introduced to a whole new generation of horror fans and coulrophobics. “IT” was a best seller on its release in 1986. But Tim Curry’s portrayal of the killer clown in the first film adaptation television miniseries gave an entire generation interminable nightmares.   The “teaser trailer” promotion for the 2017 feature film broke records, racking up 197 million views within 24 hours. Although a Stephen King story or book to film adaptation is around every corner this year, the trailer of the 2017 release of “IT” is already creating buzz in the film and literary industries and trending across the web.

“IT”: The Trailer Buzz

The 2017 “IT” trailer opens with an adolescent Bill Denbrough folding a paper boat for his young brother, Georgie. The trailer continues with the familiar scene of a yellow-slickered Georgie chasing his paper boat in the rain. The boat falls into the sewer drain and…flash! The screen goes dark and credits appear: “From Stephen King’s Terrifying Novel”. An aerial view of the town of Derry, Maine, focus into a group of pre-teens, including Bill. As they ride their bikes through the neighborhood, the mysteries of their town are defined in background voice.

As disappearances continue, the boys bond into “The Losers Club”, a dark comradery against “IT”. Together, they confront and are confronted by the omniscient creature that preys on their individual fears.

Fans of both the book and the mini-series immediately noticed an important missing element in the film’s trailer and voiced their concerns on social media. Primarily, fans conjectured on the conspicuous absence of the adult story line. In fact, no “adults” are featured in the trailer, at all.

Does the new version eliminate this essential story line? Is there a sequel planned? Without the complete story, how could this version be a faithful film adaptation of King’s original novel?

Stephen King’s response verified (or strongly alluded) that this was indeed part one:

trailer film adaptaton

Producing a Faithful Book to Film Adaptation

Cary Fukunaga, the original director, parted from the movie just prior to filming, citing “creative differences”. His vision called for a sequel that continued the novel’s plot line with the return of the now adult “Loser’s Club” members. When Director Andy Muschietti came on, the “sequel” plan was not reiterated, but neither was it denied. King’s tweet and other evidence of a “Part II” gave clear clues that a sequel is indeed planned, even in the absence of supporting announcements. With a young and unknown cast in Part I, fan reviewers are betting on big names for Part II. Still, some reviewers believe the success of any sequel will depend on the popularity of the first part.

Per Digital Spy , the 2017 release follows the book more closely than the original miniseries. The 2017 film expands on the dark but meaningful themes found in the “Loser Club” scenes from the original text. One significant change from the book is the time in which the story takes place. The original “Georgie” scene and the “Losers Club” plot line took place in the 1950’s. Director Muschietti changed this to the 1980’s, with subtle and not so subtle references to the era in which the book was written. By changing the time element, the film version of “IT” may add reminiscent appeal to the original novel fans. Even with this change, most reviews agree that the new version stays true to, and even expands on, King’s world-building prowess by including the town of Derry as a plot element.

Hollywood’s Love Affair with Film Adaptation

Stephen King’s place as the most adapted living author seems to be in little danger of breach. Still, many contemporary authors have negotiated film adaptation contracts with Hollywood. E. L. James; J.K. Rowling; Dean Koontz; Veronica Roth; Nicholas Sparks; Suzanne Collins. All prolific writers and Hollywood royalty. Book to film adaptations garnered nominations in 20 of the 24 Academy Award categories in 2017. Movies adapted from other media, including video games, television, comics and cartoons seems to be trending upward (Paste).

trailer film adaptationThe sheer number of film adaptation projects beg the question:  Is this a “trend” or the reality of the entertainment industry? Is cross-media adaptation a viable goal for an author? History would suggest it is. In 1900, the Sherlock Holmes short “Baffled” appeared in a 30 second strip that was viewed through a “Mutoscope”, a device much like Edison’s single view coin operated Kinetoscope. Thus, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the first author to be credited with book to film adaptation. Two years later, early film pioneer Georges Méliès produced “Le Voyage dans la Lune” (A Trip to the Moon).  This silent French film was based on the writings of Jules Verne, and created the iconic image of the man in the moon.

William Shakespeare holds the record for the most International Movie Database (IMDb) credits, with 410 feature length films and 997 IMDb credits. Charles Dickens follows with 340 film credits. Dumas, Dostoevsky, Hugo, Tolstoy and Verne all hold a respectable number of credits in media forms that did not exist in their own time. Review the complete list of credits on the IMDb web site.

What Elements Make a Book Attractive for Cross Media Rights?

A faithful rendition of the original intellectual property is an essential element to a successful film adaptation. Fans of the written work will know if the film deviates from the story’s original themes. Finding and relating these themes in a different media can often be difficult. In most cases, a screenwriter interprets the book into a form that is amenable to film media. Savvy authors looking to gain more control over the production of their work are insisting on more involvement in the film adaptation process.

Gillian Flynn lead by example when her novice screenplay version to “Gone Girl” (2014) was accepted by the film’s producers. Flynn’s successful screenwriting debut furthered the conversation in the industry regarding the author’s involvement in book to film adaptation. After all, who would be better at capturing the deeper themes and subtle clues of a story than the person who wrote the original text? Other authors would rather not be bothered with the details of the film industry. Stephen King, for example, has been known to sell the rights to stories for $1 (2017, Den of Geek).

Big Opportunities on the Small Screen

Technology has not only provided a better movie experience, it has changed the way we create, produce, market, and watch all media. The interaction of media platforms has opened new opportunities for producers. Reciprocally, the ease of and access to production has created previous unavailable opportunities for artists. Creatives can now share their works across the globe with the click of a button.  Media outlets such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, once just resellers, are now full production companies.

Scheduled network programming has traditionally depended on episodic conflict resolution.  However, with the advent of DVRs and the availability of wi-fi, web-based media can produce easy to access long-story serials.  For these and many reasons, visual media production will continue to look towards published works as production material. With ready-made plots, familiar characterization, and an established fan base, book to film adaptations have a long and distinct history. Many analysts believe that media cross-over will only increase as technology expands (mpaa.org)

The curious September release suggests that the opposite is also true. Merchandise, franchise, and additional media is often spun from a movie release. Waiting until September removes “IT” from summer blockbuster competition.  September the 8th is a little early for a Halloween date movie; but the timing is perfect for holiday merchandising. Although this is NOT a children’s movie, the release date suggests large Halloween merchandising opportunities. Retailers have a month after release to stock Pennywise costumes and yellow slickers.  Expect to see a plethora of scary clowns and “Georgie” costumed trick-or-treaters this October 31st.

©2017 Kimmarie Rojas

AUTHOR BIO:

Kimmarie Rojas is a Yoast Certified SEO Content and Copywriter, and serves as the Editor for HWG Voices Blog.  She holds a masters in Sustainable Societies from Northern Arizona University.  Her undergraduate work is in Journalism and Political Science.  Kimmarie contracts as an SEO specialist for a Fortune 500 company in Houston.  With 20 years experience in web copy, Kimmarie writes and edits essay, blog, opinion and articles.  She has also completed four novel drafts.  To read Kimmarie’s essays and review the web optimization services she offers, visit her website at https://www.kimrojas.com.

My Last Day

My Last Day

by Marie Rojas

If today were to be my last day,

Would anyone know that I’d gone away?

How many days do you think would pass

Before someone would miss my ass?

How many days would fly right by

Before someone called just to say hi?

And after no answer for a day or two,

Would they come by and say, “hey you!

“Anyone home? I rang the bell,

But inside your house is quiet as hell.”

 

If this was to be my last night,

If I was gone and out of sight,

How long before anyone came?

Someone who knew me and my name?

A day, a week, a month or two,

Long after I’d moved into the blue.

Will anyone miss me or even care

That I’m no longer here to share?

I pose this question in deep despair

Wondering how and when and where

I lost my way on this winding road,

Into a depressive episode.

 

Righteous, indignant, my path my own

It was a choice I made, to be alone:

The most important thing that I could be

Was mother to the children God gave me.

The choice was easy, the choice was clear,

There were regrets and promises to fear.

I made many errors, but in my defense

They will be forgiven, in independence.

I thought myself good, I thought myself wise;

So, to be so alone is to me a surprise.

I missed something along the way,

For loneliness at the end of the day

Came insidiously, through the years

Of quiet nights and hidden tears.

 

If today is to be my last day,

Will anyone notice, I’ve gone away?

 

© 2017 Marie Rojas

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