Monday, July 25, 2011

Man-skirt, diaphanous scarves, and writing blog links

I've been woefully remiss lately about visiting my writing peeps' blogs. I dug out my diaphanous scarves, and left my sasquatch cave to check out some awesome music at the Calgary Folk Fest this past weekend. It was a climatological roller-coaster: it rained, it hailed, there were Wizard of Oz winds, it was blistering hot and dry, cold when the sun set - three seasons in three days.

While there is no video of the interpretive dance I concocted with my diaphanous scarves ;-j, I did feel obliged to write this virtual message.

Memo to the pale white dude with the hula-hoop rocking the man skirt at the folk fest: Underwear. Is. Mandatory! It wasn't pretty when Britney did it and it sure ain't pretty when you do it! Seriously dude, you were one skirt flip away from being the next you tube sensation.

The blogosphere offers a host of entertaining and enlightening blogs about the writing process and the publishing industry. Here are a couple of my international favourites:

From rainy London we have: Notes from the Slush Pile ... and beyond, it's a blog about writing for children, getting published, surviving the Internet - and never ever forgetting that some things we just have to do for love. It's run by three bloggers: Candy Gourlay, Teri Terry (a Canadian, just saying) and Maureen Lynas. They are all SCBWIers. 

In a series NFtSP posted on debut authors, they asked the question: "what does it feel like when the dream comes true?" (oh, bloggowers, it feels good!). Here's the thrid installment in the YA Debutantes blog posts (check out the first and second in the series as well).  

In hot and sunny south Africa we have Nicky Schmidt blogging at Absolute Vanilla where she offers her witterings and warblings (ok, I don't know what those are but I think they are some kind of South African animal - be afraid, be very afraid). 

She's been rocking two series of blog posts: one is a seven part series on sasquatch writing caves Writing Room Revelations where children's and y/a authors reveal their writing room secrets, and the other on self publishing in the changing publishing landscape. 

Now to move from the international to the regional and back to the international.

Saw two great Canadian performers at the folk fest this weekend. kd Lang originally from Alberta and now international famous. I remember back in the olden days (aka the 80s) when I worked at the UofA radio station, she would routinely come to the studio and the DJ would put her on the air for an hour of jamming. Then one time, she was playing in a small theatre in Edmonton and took requests from the audience. Someone shouted out: 'Stop the world ...' (she used a globe as a prop), she said she had the globe in her car and walked off stage, out of the theatre to her car, got the globe and came back and belted out that tune. Her she is singing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver

The other famous Canadian I saw perform this weekend was Buffy St. Marie, her career spans social justice/American Indian activist songs to appearances on Sesame Street (now that's versatility). At 70 years of age, she's still go it. 

Diaphanous scarves safely packed away for the year, now back to my sasquatch writing cave! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Battle of the Blogging Nieces!

In the one corner of the Internet is my actress niece Katie Repman who lives in New York and recently completed a 30 day character challenge. She created a different comedic character everyday. She wrote, acted, directed, and edited them herself. She challenged herself to expand her comedic range by working on different, dialects, ages, and genders.

She's been blogging about the process on Barbie Kong and you can find the videos on her you tube channel

All the videos were funny in their own way - here's one of my favourites: Teen Mom Janelle Evans.

Check out her blog, the rest of the videos on her you tube channel, and follow her on twitter at BarbieKong1. 

In the other corner of the Internet is my teen aged niece Tea. She blogs at Tiny Canadian and like most teenagers is up past midnight, bored, taping herself singing in the dark, putting the videos on you tube and planning her take over of the world (or at least the Internet). 

She's got a great voice and has a few videos up - they are short and sweet - as she says 'you won't have to sit through a 5 minute video rendition of a song' - who needs that right!? 

Here's one where she's singing Fly Again by Nikki Williams. 

Follow their progress on their blogs and you tube channels as they both continue to stretch their talents and put themselves out there! So there you have it - my talented blogging nieces and a bragging aunt! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Juxtaposition of Characters

I embraced the middle aged woman with cats stereotype when I bought this mug designed by Joyce Shelton in the Kelowna airport. It sports the truism 'dogs have owners, cats have staff' (I should have been a cat because I'd like to have staff, if only to do nothing more than clean out my cats' ears - too much information, right?!).

The mug got me thinking about stereotypical characters and the bipolar juxtaposition of characters (writers, eh!? who else thinks about these things?). Bipolar juxtaposition of characters can be seen in just about every sit-com (or drama for that matter). The brainy red-head with glasses, her dim blond bombshell sister and their mischievous brother. Stereotypes? One Dimensional? Stock characters? Sure! 

But on the other hand you need characters to be different. Go to any prison office, group therapy session family function or confined space like an airport or the department of motor vehicles and you are going to find characters that are different - vastly different. Yet they need to be believable, fully formed characters reacting to the situation you've created.

In any family or work situation, not only do you have a diversity of people with their foibles and talents, you have a room full of people who have histories with each other - baggage, kindred spirits, alliances formed, broken or mended.  

Mine each character (no matter how stereotypical on the surface) for the depths of his/her nuances and show the character through his/her reaction to others.

How do you put flesh on your characters? 

Watch the sit-com The Big Bang Theory - a show that takes characters beyond the stereotypes - while I fill my mug with milky tea and put on my bunny slippers ...

P.S.: I would have embedded a clip from the show but I think I broke you tube - I can't get any videos to load. You'll have to do something old fashioned like watch TV!