Friday, October 31, 2008

The Seven-Year Itch

This week I left the company I worked for after almost seven years. Aside from being paid to watch The Bold and the Beautiful, I'll miss my wonderful colleagues.

Just because I resigned doesn't mean I won't ever see them again, though. All I have to do is hang out at YouTube. Here are two of my former workmates, Gibson and Belinda, who are also actors. Gib's in the Nintendo ads, or TVCs as they're called in the biz, while Belinda is Tall Jan in the All-Bran cereal ad.

Gibson as Cowboy Jed. The TVCs were directed by Bob Dylan's son, Jesse, and filmed in New Zealand. When Gib returned from shooting the campaign, he treated us all to gigantic boxes of Krispy Kremes to celebrate. You can also see Gibson in the Nicolas Cage film Ghost Rider.

And here's lovely Belinda as Tall Jan. (She really is tall). Belinda recently starred in the Sydney production of My Name is Rachel Corrie.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Somebody Call a Doctor!

Our government recently announced a pledge to crack down on the use of skinny models and unrealistic images in the media. Under the proposed code of conduct, magazines and advertisers must add a disclaimer to images that have been doctored. The initiative aims to address body image issues and unattainable ideals. Even the real Beyonce doesn't have a body like the Beyonce we see in touched-up photographs.

These pics from the hilarious blog Photoshop Disasters, however, don't need a disclaimer. A little tweak here, a little tweak there... Next thing you know, limbs go flying everywhere.

Miley Cyrus: Look, Ma! Three hands!

Ah, là est mon nombril vers le haut là dans les collines.
pensé que je perdu il pour de bon.
(TRANSLATION: Oh, there's my navel up there in the hills.
I thought I'd lost it for good.)

Want Fanta? I think the Fantanas need a hand.

Something a little more sinister. Spot the difference in these two pics featuring Prince William.

Best-selling author Christina Dodd's now infamous cover for her novel CASTLES IN THE AIR. The heroine has three hands. As you can see, the hero is thrilled.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rewrite Relief

I've just finished the rewrites on my paranormal YA. Yee-ha!

This manuscript has had so many past lives. The first draft--completed way back in 2004--was written in third-person past tense and just scraped over the 45,000 mark. I had a heroine people either loved or hated and, truthfully, a rather insipid plot. The ms did okay in competitions, but received an impressive number of rejections from agents. Four years and much tinkering later, the main and subplots are totally different, it's in first-person present tense, I hope my heroine is more sympathetic and likable, and the word count has almost doubled. Is it perfect? Probably not, but I can tell you it's a hundred times better than that first draft.

Many thanks to my critique crew, plus my agent's assistant, Beth, and an intern at WH, who all gave me invaluable advice.

A whole slew of craft books also helped me through the latest revision. Click on the links to see the Amazon reviews.
  • MANUSCRIPT MAKEOVER by Elizabeth Lyon. I really had to raise the stakes in my book, and Lyon's chapters on characterization and structure showed just how to do it.
  • SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Renni Browne & Dave King. I liked the authors' solutions to proportion problems--when you spend too much time describing minor points and skimp on the scenes that really need to be big.
  • GMC: GOAL, MOTIVATION & CONFLICT by Debra Dixon. Work out each main character's goal, motivation and conflict, and you'll give your story dimension and direction. This particularly helped me when I was bogged down in that swamp known as the Saggy Middle.
  • NOW WRITE! edited by Sherry Ellis. A collection of tried-and-tested exercises to whip lax writing muscles into shape.
So, what's next? Both me and the book will rest for a while. Then I'll dive into another YA that I've kept in a holding pattern for nine months, and catch up on all that reading...