Have you ever had the urge to hold a book in front of your body and snap a photo? Yeah. Me neither. But apparently there are humans out there that do.
CORPUS LIBRIS is a site devoted to those with such urges. Touted as "Books with Bodies," this site was created by Emily Pullen who was bored one evening in a bookstore back in 2008. Anyone can submit a photo. All you do is take a book and hold it in front of your body. That simple.
Some pix are hilarious. Others are, umm, slightly blush worthy. All are interesting. Pop on over and check it out. And if you're entertained, HEREis their previous site with even more pictures.
Fun fact: I hate fruit. No, really. Can't stand the stuff, except for apples. I'll eat those. Nevertheless, a writer must eat healthy, so I do own a juicer to get my share of fruit-a-licious nutrients.
You may be wondering how this ties into reading, writing, or publishing. It doesn't. Today, friends, we are roaming off the leash into the neighborhood of how to choose a good piece of fruit.
Whenever I thump a melon, I listen to hear if anything taps back on the inside, a morse code that says "I'm the sweetest one here so buy me." Newsflash: this doesn't work. So I googled it. Here's what you're supposed to do. Hold the melon in one hand and tap it lightly with your other hand. If you feel a reverberation in the hand holding the melon, that's the baby for you. If not, go buy some bananas.
I figure if they don't have green or white fuzz on them, winner winner chicken dinner! Nope. Wrong strategy. Apparently you need to pick the one that's heavier than it looks. What does that mean? Just go for the one that's heaviest, I guess. It has something to do with the water content and juiciness.
Did you know that berries can continue to ripen at home? Huh. I must've been in the bathroom when the teacher was imparting that little nugget of wisdom. Still, if you like sweet berries, go for the most vivid in color.
This is a fun trick. You simply try to pick out one of the center leaves. If it comes out easily, the pineapple is ripe. Makes me want to run to the store and give this a whirl. What I usually do is sniff the outside and see if it smells like a pineapple, which turns out is a valid way to select a tasty pineapple.
Any other sage fruit advice you readers want to share? Educate me in the comment section.
Sometimes when you’re in the middle of working on a story,
you have to set it aside to meet a marketing request such as answering
interview questions. Or maybe you need to submit a biography to an editor. You
guessed it. That’s what I had to do the other day.
What’s the big deal? Well, writing a bio is harder than you
think. Go ahead. Try it. I’ll wait.
Were you dazed for a moment trying to decide what
information to include? How to make it more interesting than a legal
disclaimer? Where in the world to begin?
Don’t worry. I’m here to help. Let’s do this thing here and
now so you can avoid that deer-in-the-headlights expression in the future.
There are different types of bios that you’ll need because
there will be different venues where your writing will appear. You can tweak
your copy to fit any situation as long as you have the copy to begin with.
Can you write a bio in 20 words or less? You might be asked
to. Work on it now and you’ll have it on hand. Paint with a broad brush on this
one. Having it too specific, such as related to a particular genre or book,
will not only limit you but will likely become outdated in the future.
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she
first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures at www.michellegriep.com
This one is your longest piece of copy. Think last page of a
book with a smiley picture of your face. Give a sense of your personality
without every last detail. No one wants to sit through a literary slide show of
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she
first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she
writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager.
She resides in the frozen tundra of
Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high
school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she
gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive
amounts of scones while rambling around a castle.
Michelle is a member of ACFW (American
Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild).
Keep up with her adventures at her
blog WRITER OFF THE LEASH or visit michellegriep.com
There’s no getting around the fact that sometimes you do
have to shave your legs and put on a pair of panty hose. Yeah, it’s rare,
especially for me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t keep a spare pair in my
dresser drawer. That’s what this bio is all about. Dressed up and ready to go
out to a black tie event with several credentials that show you’re a legit
Michelle’s been writing since she first
discovered blank wall space and Crayolas...professionally, however, for the
past 15 years. She teaches history and writing classes for a local high school
co-op. She is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG
(Minnesota Christian Writers Guild).
Generally a bio is written in third person. For your fun
one, go ahead and break all the rules. Be silly. Be creative. But most of all,
let your voice shine through.
I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically
gives me two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I
chose the latter. Way cheaper. I've been writing since I discovered blank wall
space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write...except for that
graffiti phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?
Did you notice a common thread throughout? The ol’ Crayolas
line? That's because I'm a freak at heart. What is it about you that makes you you? That’s the key theme to use in
each bio, no matter the tone.
Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of parking your
butt in a chair and getting this chore out of the way. You will have to doodle
around with them now and again to keep them fresh and updated, but at least it
won’t be like the teeth pulling experience of getting the first draft down.
No matter the genre, every story has characters, otherwise you'd be writing a phone directory. Hold on. Bad analogy. I know plenty of characters in a phonebook and who the flip uses a phone book anymore anyway?
As I was saying, sans phonebooks, characters are an essential ingredient in a story recipe. There's lots of tricks to jazz up a memorable character, but EVERY character needs some basic things.
5 Essentials For Character Building
What's makes your character scream like a little girl? Centipedes? The IRS? The threat of an alien probe shoved up their...wait a minute...I'm scaring myself. And that, my friends, is the point. Everyone is afraid of something. Identify what your character is afraid of so that you can use that fear to ramp up the tension.
I'm not talking six-pack abs here, though in the case of your hero, that's never a bad idea. What sweet skills does your character possess? Is he a crazy freak with nunchucks? Can she hit a raccoon in the eyeball from fifty yards away with a slingshot? Maybe this character has x-ray vision and can see into people's souls. Whatever. Give them something to work with.
Perfect characters make readers want to punch them in the head. Nobody is flawless, so make sure your character isn't either, even your super stud that swoops in to save the day and the damsel in distress all in one fell swoop. This can be something as small as an inability to balance a checkbook or create a whopper of wart like a gambling habit using stolen money copped from nuns.
Psst. Hey buddy. Come over here and I'll whisper you some covert information because have I got something juicy to tell you. Are you leaning toward the screen? That's because you want to know what I've got hidden. Secrets are like big, juicy nightcrawlers wriggling on a hook, irresistible to the reader fish. Characters with secrets reel a character in.
Everybody wants something. A brand-spanking-new Tesla. A mutton lettuce tomato sandwich. The stupid hangnail on my thumb to go away. Your character wants something as well. What is it?
Make sure to incorporate these 5 building blocks next time you construct a character and you'll be well on your way to making him or her memorable in a reader's mind.
So, it's March. You know, the month with happy green leprechauns frolicking in fields of cloverleafs. The thing is, though, that when I look out my window, all I see is white. It's so cold, I didn't even go outside today. I'm tired of my nostril hairs growing little icicles. They hurt.
Until global warming hits my part of the world, I'm going to hole up with my books. But before I do, here's the low-down on a new site I discovered.
Toodle over to BOOKSHELF PORN. Don't worry. There aren't any pole dancers or nakey-nakey shots. This place is a photo-blog of books, libraries, bookstores and bookcases with pix from around the world. Some are incredibly creative. Others are just...well...weird. All of them are interesting. Check it out.
When I was growing up, the only tattoos my peers sported were stupid little X's or poorly drawn hearts on their knuckles or the back of their hands. A needle, some ink, semi-clean hands. Yeah, this flings the door wide open for life-threatening infections, but if you're engaging in risky behavior, you're probably of the mindset that you're invincible aka an idiot.
No, I don't have one.
Nowadays, tattoos are trendy. All the cool kids have one, or two, or fifteen. The dude that pierced my tragus (I said I didn't have any tattoos, silly rabbit, not piercings) had his entire right arm tattooed black. Even in literature, tatts are trending. Tattooing is practically a non-human character in the YA dystopian DIVERGENT (coming out March 21 in theaters...I'm pumped!), which portrays tattoos as a mark of virtue.
But just because they're popular, that doesn't make marring your body the right thing to do. Many people still frown on those doggone-hippy-dippy marks, feeling sure it's a sign that you'll burn in hell for damaging what God created.
Controversial or not, there's no getting around that tattoos are relevant to today's culture. And exploring current issues (even in historicals) is a great way to connect with readers. Here are a few ways to think about using tattoos in your WIP.
Give a character a tatt.
Generally, tattoos emit a tough connotation. The two prime characters in the running for this aura is your hero or your villain. Give your antagonist a creepy reptilian tatt. How about a symbol of honor for your antagonist? But let's not forget the heroine. That could be a surprise for both the hero and the reader.
Make a tattoo artist a character.
Think about it. Tattoo artists are interesting characters even outside of a book. Why not stick one in your story with all his/her quirks on display? Might make for an unexpected plot turn.
Birthmarks: The natural tattoo.
If you're theologically opposed to tattoos or you're writing of a culture or time period that didn't use tattoos, here's a freebie for you. Birthmarks. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be anywhere on the body, just like a tattoo.
Why should you bother with marking up the body of one of your characters? Because it can open up a whole thematic discussion about:
Personal body image
Consequences of choices
Outward symbol of an inward drive (either good or bad)
Self hatred / love
Personally, I'm not going to rush out to my nearest tattoo parlor and get "Mother" inscribed on my bicep. But, if you feel so inclined, HERE is a site that shows you the 33 perfect places on your body to get a tattoo.
And if you're interested in reading a fantastic novel that's about a man covered in tattoos, check out one of my all-time favorite Ray Bradbury books, THE ILLUSTRATED MAN. Here's a blurb. . .
The Illustrated Man is a wanderer whose entire body is a living canvas of exotic tattoos. What's even more remarkable, and increasingly disturbing, is that the illustrations are themselves magically alive, and each proceeds to unfold its own story.
I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the latter. Way cheaper. I've been writing since I discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write...except for that graffiti phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?