Daughter Of The Digital Revolution…And Her AG Cronies

The Crew

The Crew

Who knew that AGSM would open my eyes to how very inspirational my daughter Lulu could be?

AGSM = American Girl Stop Motion = YouTube craze = Lulu’s new favorite pastime

Stop motion videos are super cool, if you’ve never had the pleasure of watching one.  Lulu stumbled upon the YouTube channel and has been obsessed ever since.  An endless stream of hours with Mia, Rebecca, Caroline; sitting, standing, waving, climbing, dancing, and chatting.  But Lulu can’t figure out how to get herself out of the video and with stop motion, that’s a no-no.  The dolls come to life in these videos.  No human intervention is permitted.

Lulu watched and dissected the videos, almost as if to solve the mystery of a magic trick.  I was no help.  I’m not a videophile.  Some may say I’m a bit technologically challenged.  I can’t even figure out how to use our XBOX360.

She tried and failed, over and over.  Finally, she resorted to Google and was so excited to find instructional videos about how to make stop motion videos because, of course, videos about how to make videos are ubiquitous on the Internet.

Once Lulu had the camera app for the bargain price of $9.99, she was ready to flex her moviemaker muscles.  Except she quickly found out that stop motion is tedious as hell to produce.  But that only slightly deterred her.  She only threatened to throw her iPad out the window once.  I would have been so done long before that.

Lulu persevered like a champ.  And guess what?  She produced her own stop motion video.  It makes me a little dizzy to watch because she’s showing way too many frames per second, but we can fix that.

What happens when you have a kid who succumbs to frustration and shies away from a challenging endeavor?  Luckily I don’t need to worry about that.  Lulu’s dedication to achieving the final objective inspires me.  She won’t give up until she finds success.  At the tender age of eight, she already has the game of life down pat.

How can I ever be tempted to throw in the towel with such a source of inspiration surrounding me on a daily basis?

I Promise I’m Not An Author-Stalker!

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I’m a little bleary-eyed as I write this.  It’s been a looooong day for me.  I woke up at 4:00 AM because I couldn’t breathe (damn forced air).  Then I tossed and turned for about half an hour before I gave up on any hope of getting a few more winks. 

By that time, my mind was on high alert and I got the brilliant idea for a high drama scene in my second book (still sans title because I’m only on page 30).  I logged a few notes in my iPhone but it just didn’t suffice.  I needed to get the words out, right then.  So I got a cup of coffee and clacked away on my keyboard for an hour. 

I love it.  It’s rough, but has so much emotion.  I’ll go through it again tonight and make some tweaks.  Only one tiny issue. I’m not exactly sure where it fits into the overall timeline.  I have a million ideas surrounding it on both sides, but I don’t know how to position it in the story quite yet.  That will come.  But the scene can work in so many ways.  I’m so excited to figure out how best to use it.

Today was an ultra-busy day and the next few look just as full.  My energy is all but sapped by now, especially after yelling and screaming about homework.  But I got a bit of a second wind after dinner, so I Googled how to become a bestselling author.  Just to get some ideas.  =)

I came across a blog post by an bestselling author and social media guru named Kristen Lamb with tons of great sound bytes about the trade.  I was hooked.  So I followed her blog, followed her on Twitter, commented on her post, commented on another post, and then she followed me on Twitter!  After some more Tweeting and re-Tweeting, I bought her book on Amazon – Rise of the Machines:  Human Authors in a Digital World.  Awesome cover, Kristen!

Even though I have a Kindle, I bought the paperback.  Yes, I’m one of those people who like to make notes on the pages, fold them down, highlight passages and revisit as needed.  I need the hard copy for all that.  It’s just my thing.

Anyway, I hope she doesn’t think that I’m some wacko author-stalker.  I’m just happy to connect.  =)

Getting To Know My Next Hero…It’s All About The Character Sketch

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Liam Hemsworth

When I decided to write Unlikely Venture, I just WROTE.  I made some notes here and there but for the most part, I found out what was going to happen as I typed.  I didn’t have the whole story mapped out, didn’t use an outline.  But that style kind of suits me.  I’m impulsive so I don’t like wasting time on the planning.  I like to jump in feet first, headed straight toward the action.

I’ve learned a lot over the past year, though.  And I’ve determined that maybe a bit of planning can go a long way.  So, while I am taking a very short hiatus from my last set of edits, I delved into book 2.  I’ve been making notes everywhere, including on my iPhone as I drive (not advisable).  Sometimes to avoid potential fender benders, I call myself and just talk through my notes so I have a voicemail as reference.  Maybe it’s time to download a voice recorder app.

Anyway, I’ve been working on character sketches for my new book.  I didn’t create these up front with book 1; it wasn’t until my editor requested them that I actually sat down to learn about my characters.  I love the robust backstories that resulted from that exercise and a lot of the detail made it into the story.  Anyway, I now recognize the importance of planning.  I could continue my helper skelter writing and eventually, I’d spin out a new tale. But it would lack depth and breadth because I wouldn’t be intimately familiar with my cast of characters.  And that’s a necessity!  You need to be connected to these people to craft a compelling story about them.

So I’ve been working on Chris, my next hero.  But before I can write about him, I need to picture him in my head.  So I’ve been Googling and finally landed on this image.  It’s exactly how I see Chris in my head.  And you know what?  The backstory is just pouring out of me now.  I just needed to make that physical association before I could really understand what he’s all about beneath the surface.

This pic of Liam totally hits the nail on the head.  He is Chris.  =)

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