Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Permanent Man Blog #4 - The Soundtrack

Featured image4This week's The Permanent Man blog update is short, but so awesome!

I got to thinking about how movies almost always have soundtracks. Television shows often do, too. Sometimes, the soundtrack consists of new singles from various artists or older songs from days gone past.

So how come we don't see book soundtracks? That's right. What is there that prevents such a thing from happening?

I understand you can't play the music while you read the book. Syncing the music with the reader's speed would be impossible. But why wouldn't you have songs inspired by the book? Movies do it all the time. You'll never hear the song when you watch the movie, yet it is on the soundtrack.

So, I've decided to make a soundtrack for The Permanent Man. To do this, I'm using the awesome software found in the Spotify music subscription service. Every time I finish the first draft of a story, I will add a song into the Spotify playlist I've created called The Permanent Man Official Soundtrack. Each song coincides with the story. It doesn't mean it fits the story perfectly, just that there are elements of it that are similar.

If you would like to subscribe to this playlist, you can do so by clicking here: The Permanent Man Official Soundtrack. This link will open up the Spotify app on your PC or the app on your phone or tablet. If you don't have the app, you can download it from the Spotify web site. Once you're taken to the playlist in the software, click "Subscribe". As I add songs, you'll be notified.

Enjoy!

--

desmondshepherdDesmond Shepherd has written several novels including Fram GageFutan Vice, and Imaginary Me. His upcoming project, The Permanent Man, is scheduled to release November 12, 2013 and is his most ambitious work yet. Every Tuesday, right here on The Time Capsule, he will release details about his journey in writing the stories.

He's also expecting his third child within a couple months, so you can expect possible delays in his blog posts and even the release date for The Permanent Man, but he's going to do whatever he can to avoid that.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Permanent Man Blog #3 - TV Show Formatting

Featured image3OK. To get an idea of the format I plan to use for The Permanent Man series, let's take a look at how television shows, particularly dramas, do it. We'll break down each section of the show and the purpose it serves.
RECAP
Many shows, especially ones with story lines that carryover from the previous week or weeks of episodes, give a recap. Many times there will be narration that says, "Previously on (title of show)".
This serves a couple purposes. For those who watch the show regularly, it helps them recall important story points, and especially ones that have a direct impact of the story they are about to watch.
It also helps people who watch the show irregularly or never at all to get an idea of what is going on before they head into the story. It's like guiding a blind man through a room. If you tell him what is there, he's prepared and can understand the layout. If you say nothing, he's bound to bump into a few things and get frustrated.
THE TEASE
The show begins with a short teaser in the beginning. I've seen these range from three minutes and all the way up to ten. This teaser is what captures the viewers interest. So usually, it sets up the problem that needs to be solved. Or the thing that is the catalyst to the story. It almost always ends with some kind of cliffhanger that makes you want to keep watching it after the commercial break.
Other times, the teaser actually shows you part of the story that is to come. You see the characters in a dire situation. But you don't know why or how they got there. So the story to come will show you what happened.
INTRODUCTION
Now  you finally get the title of the show. Instead of placing it at the beginning, it comes after the teaser. The introduction ranges from a short musical number with video that credits the actors and others who produce the show to a simple flash of the title. This confirms what the viewer is watching, and while it may seem unimportant since anyone watching the show should know what they are watching already, it implants the title in their mind, solidifying their longing to watch it.
THE STORY
Finally the meat of the show arrives after the first commercial break. The story progresses with regular breaks. These are kind of like chapters in a book. Pay attention and you'll notice that each commercial break ends with some kind of cliffhanger. In order to keep the audience interested, these mini-cliffhangers are written to ensure the viewer is still watching the show after the commercial break happens. An ineffective cliffhanger at each break could cause a show to lose audience.
At the end, the story is usually wrapped up for that episode. For serialized shows, the story is complete (or maybe it goes into a two-parter) but usually something happens at the end to grab your interest. Another cliffhanger, but this one has nothing to do with the current story. Instead, it gives the viewer a glimpse of what the next story will be about.
PREVIEW
Sometimes, not often, when the show is over and before or during the credit roll, a narrator will say, "Next time on (show title)". For those who can't wait until the next week, this gives them a better idea of the next episode's content. But it only teases them enough to bring them back for more.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS
Each week, a drama episode length is consistent. Usually, without commercials, the length is about 42 minutes. Of course, there are times when they have special episodes that are longer in length, but as a general rule they are consistent in length.
This helps the viewer to know what to expect. When watching and they are coming up on 10 minutes until the hour, they know the episode must wrap up soon. If there appears to not be time to resolve the problem on the episode, then they expect a cliffhanger ending for  a two-part episode. Now, they might not consciously think this, but on some level they do. This is why they can watch every episode and be satisfied. If the length of an episode one week was 20 minutes, the next week, 70 minutes, and after that, 35 minutes, the inconsistency will affect their view of the episode. This would especially be the case if they are buying each episode of a series as opposed to watching it on cable or an internet subscription service.
Now that I've laid out the format of a television series, next week's post will dissect each element and how I plan to address it in The Permanent Man series. See you then!
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desmondshepherdDesmond Shepherd has written several novels including Fram GageFutan Vice, and Imaginary Me. His upcoming project, The Permanent Man, is scheduled to release November 12, 2013 and is his most ambitious work yet. Every Tuesday, right here on The Time Capsule, he will release details about his journey in writing the stories.
He's also expecting his third child within a couple months, so you can expect possible delays in his blog posts and even the release date for The Permanent Man, but he's going to do whatever he can to avoid that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Permanent Man Blog #2 - What I've Learned

Featured image2In writing The Permanent Man series, I don't have to guess at my approach to writing the stories. There are two reasons for this.

First, under the B.C. Young pen name, I attempted this with Miscorrection. I learned a lot from that. Foremost, to be patient. In my hurry to publish the books, I released them way too slow. The first one came out in May, the second July, the third at the end of December, the fourth the following May. Fifth, June. Sixth, August. What should have been a weekly release, became sporadic. I also made the mistake of adding new settings and characters from story to story that affected the continuity. I still think the stories are good and that I wrap it all up very nicely in the final novel of the series, Times, but had I followed a better routine, the series would have been what I originally intended.

But that's a learning experience, and I'm glad I had it.

The second thing lending a lot of help is The Human Division by John Scalzi. This is an episodic series that I have been reading (currently on the eighth story). I've also been checking out reviews on Amazon and other places regarding the series. And on Scalzi's blog, I've been reading comments on posts related to the series.

I've come to find a number of common complaints with the stories. Now bear in mind, I'm not saying I don't like the series. Quite the opposite. I've enjoyed reading it a lot for entertainment and learning purposes. However, here are some consistent overall views:

  • Inconsistency in story length. Many complain that some of the stories are too short.

  • Inability to connect with characters from story to story because they can't remember what happened previously very well.

  • Some stories have a rather mellow resolution to the climax (OK, this is a personal complaint of what I've read so far).

  • Inability to understand the grander story arc.

  • Referring to each story as a "chapter" of a novel.

As I look at those complaints above, I see solutions for all of them. In order to properly explain my solutions, I will post next Tuesday about the formatting of televisions series', particularly dramas, that could help squash all of the problems people have (maybe, because people do like to complain).

Now let me head back to writing The Permanent Man - Episode 2 and reading more in The Human Division.

--

desmondshepherdDesmond Shepherd has written several novels including Fram GageFutan Vice, and Imaginary Me. His upcoming project, The Permanent Man, is scheduled to release November 12, 2013 and is his most ambitious work yet. Every Tuesday, right here on The Time Capsule, he will release details about his journey in writing the stories.

He's also expecting his third child within a couple months, so you can expect possible delays in his blog posts and even the release date for The Permanent Man, but he's going to do whatever he can to avoid that.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Permanent Man Blog #1 - The Announcement

Featured imageIn today's world, people are busy. They have time for little because of the quantity of things to do.

So how do they use that little free time for recreation?

A lot of people watch TV, often having series' they love to watch in bulk on Netflix or a similar service,  or from week to week. The benefit of this is that in 30-60 minutes they can be entertained and move on to the next episode of a series if they wish.

What this has done is caused people to want the fiction they enjoy to be quick. Sure, they may watch a series that has a continuous plot, but overall, they want their stories to happen quickly and be done so they move onto the next one.

This trend in entertainment can't be ignored. And, no doubt, if books followed a similar format with a series, it's possible a new breed of reader could be discovered.

And so my new project follows this mold. I am writing a series called The Permanent Man. This will be written to match the format we've seen for series' on television for decades. Each episode will be readable in approximately an hour. Each episode will stand on its own, having a beginning, middle, and end. And each episode will release on a weekly basis on every Tuesday. All episodes will cost $0.99.

The plan is to have 13 episodes in the first season. The goal is to make the first episode available November 12, 2013.

Over the coming weeks, on Tuesday's, I will post about my progress and whatever details about the series I want to relate.

Currently, I have almost finished writing the first episode. I have two tentative titles for episode one. The first title is simply Pilot. I like this because many television series' title their first episode the same way. I feel this title would give readers an idea of what to expect.

But, I also know Pilot is kind of generic. So the other title I have in mind is Strike a Pose because this fits to the story.


What will I decide to use? We'll see over the coming weeks.

Till next Tuesday...

----

desmondshepherdDesmond Shepherd has written several novels including Fram GageFutan Vice, and Imaginary Me. His upcoming project, The Permanent Man, is scheduled to release November 12, 2013 and is his most ambitious work yet. Every Tuesday, right here on The Time Capsule, he will release details about his journey in writing the stories.

He's also expecting his third child within a couple months, so you can expect possible delays in his blog posts and even the release date for The Permanent Man, but he's going to do whatever he can to avoid that.