The Changing Landscape of Animation May 6, 2013Posted by shannonmuir in Advice, analysis, animation.
Tags: analysis, animation, animation career, animation non-artist, animation studio, changing landscape, distribution, non-artist, studio
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A couple weeks back I got an email from a young woman thanking me for articles I’d written in the past on non-artists in animation and talking about how there doesn’t seem to be much out there on these areas of the field. Those pieces were done largely in the early 2000s but interestingly enough – and perhaps sadly – her observation remained correct. A lot of what is still covered about the ways people can be involved in animation are the artist and directorial positions; that said, the writer is getting more exposure than the past, but still that usually tends to be all that’s out there. She really thanked me for finding what she had and that someone at least tackled the topic.
I’m mulling over why that hasn’t changed, especially with animation easier to produce than ever before. Perhaps because it has become more of a case where people can write, produce, and direct more on their own and the concern really becomes more about marketing and distribution. Perhaps it is all the changes in the studio system model where things are developed and sent straight to their own networks instead of having to shop around. There’s other factors too and I could probably write a book just on that. The key is that the landscape is ever-changing, especially in the way that created content – animation and otherwise – is ultimately consumed by the end user and that seems to dictate a lot of choices. The two main points here are content being mobile, and content being on demand. The idea of being confined to home at a fixed daypart is long gone.
I think in general a lot of what I’ve written in my columns and books are still relevant when it comes to the larger studio system, but those areas aren’t necessarily the first line of how to break in anymore. It may be very possible to make one’s own way and make a difference in further changing the landscape of the animation industry. The key is to do it smartly and make back on one’s investment in doing so. I wish I had an easy formula to recommend for that, but I don’t. So many aspects are still in flux.
My hope is that people are, despite the unpredictability, still willing to try – as long as they do it in a well thought out manner that doesn’t put their own futures completely at risk. We still need innovative pioneers for animation to grow and evolve.
Deciding A Story Arc – What Stays and What Goes? April 22, 2013Posted by shannonmuir in Advice, NaNoWriMo, Willowbrook Novels, Willowbrook Saga, Writing.
Tags: book editing, deciding what to cut, editing, shannon muir, story arc, Willowbrook Novels, Willowbrook Saga, writing, writing and editing
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If you’ve followed the author’s notes at the start of the books of the WILLOWBROOK SAGA, there are mentions that I don’t exactly know how many books it is made up of. That is true, though I do know how it ends. I definitely know how the first five come together in the first arc, and what the three tentpoles are for what on my mind is the second arc.
The biggest question I have to ask myself in the moment is how much of my previously written first drafts will I end up throwing out, and with what I do, will I need to rewrite to replace it or does it all need to be excised?
Some major changes that happened as the earlier books evolved in the course of natural revision have invalidated some of the items in these first drafts so I have to change or remove those items. In one case I did a suplot that became a main plot in another non-Willowbrook movie later on (my one attempt at the now defunct Script Frenzy) and I think that the script story better handles the theme; as a result, I need to remove it from the Willowbrook texts.
The thing definitely is, with NaNoWriMo 2013 closing in within six months, I need to figure some of these elements out as the first book of the above mentioned tentpoles will be the book for the year. It’s the only one not written in any form – the other two first started out as a movie, and the other is a past NaNoWriMo manuscript – and needs to have the seeds planted in it to figure out the other two.
It’s hard to say farewell to bits of text you may have slaved a long time over, or just have written down off the top of your head. I always make sure to keep copies of the older drafts around though. You never know when you might be able to take from them later! I certainly did turn out to be able to do that with Willowbrook.
The Story Behind Discoverwords.com April 15, 2013Posted by shannonmuir in Advice, analysis, Books, ebooks, marketing, promotion.
Tags: book sale website, book sales websites, discoverwords, discoverwords.com, infinite house of books, shannon muir, website launch
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Last week, I officially launched a blog devoted to information on bargain books, free books, limited time promotional books, and other book news called Discoverwords.com. A lot of this material used to be done in the early days on Infinite House of Books, which turns a year old this month. Most of it fell away except the limited time promo books as more and more blog tours with interviews have become the mainstay of Infinite House of Books.
This year I also took a class in User Experience where we needed to create a class project of developing a website. I didn’t want to develop for a website I didn’t at least own the URL to, so I went and found something generic enough for my needs but would fit my project. After many attempts, the fit I found was Discoverwords.com. Past the project, I had no idea what I would do with the URL, but I knew it was a real good find.
With the first anniversary of Infinite House of Books coming around, I began to see what had no longer been offered on the website and the reality being that the one site really couldn’t serve two audiences. As came clear during the User Experience research, some audiences just want to know the latest sales and bargains and don’t care as much in-depth about the authors or the creative process (sorry to say). While Infinite House of Books will continue to examining the relationships between writers and readers in depth, discoverwords.com will be the quick place to find out about bargain and free books plus news gleaned from press releases.
I will plug all my own bargain books and sales at discoverwords.com, but mainly as an example of what is possible. I invite any writer interested in using discoverwords.com to go to the site and read the guidelines. I’m always happy to support writers any way I can.
Now, back to my own writing.
Back in action at AmoXcalli! March 28, 2013Posted by shannonmuir in reviews.
Tags: AmoXcalli, Gina Ruiz, reading, reviewing
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Recently I posted my first review in quite a while over at AmoXcalli run by my longtime friend Gina Ruiz. It’s for a book from Open Road Media called THE GIFT. Not sure how often I’ll be able to fit in guest reviews – writing needs to come first – but it was great to be doing it again.
The World Keeps on Turning… March 11, 2013Posted by shannonmuir in Uncategorized.
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I’m still not really at a point where I want to talk a lot about what’s going on in my life right now. It’s one thing to state the facts, but my blog is usually a lot more about laying things out raw, and being honest and open, and the emotional core of things as I reflect with my animated insights on writing life. I’m not there yet with this. At some point, I’ll get there. Be assured that I’m still working and writing, as those are the things that help me keep focus.
A Quiet Time of Contemplation March 3, 2013Posted by shannonmuir in Uncategorized.
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My blog has been rather quiet, except out of necessity, not just because I’ve been busy, but because there are things going on I don’t yet feel like sharing with the whole world at large that can find me with an RSS feed or Google index. In an world where it is so easy to be public, sometimes we must strive for and value or privacy and when we can control it.
Hope to be back soon.
Smashwords “Read-A-Ebook Week” Promotion… March 3, 2013Posted by shannonmuir in Uncategorized.
Tags: book sale, read an ebook week, shannon muir, Smashwords
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Ebook Sale Smashwords March 3-9 with $2.99 books 50% using coupon “REW50″ and 99 cent books FREE with coupon “RW100,” plus also grab FLYING GLORY FLASHBACK for FREE with the “RW100″ code. See the full list here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/shannonmuir …
Places to Hear My Reflections on Things February 24, 2013Posted by shannonmuir in Advice, analysis, Books.
Tags: indie self-publishing, infinite house of books, self-publishing, state of publishing
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In order to better focus my thoughts and reflections on writing for various media, I’m going to start splitting my commentary into two areas:
1) The craft of writing of all forms, the life of a writer, and insights on animation across the board will still be here at Shannon Muir’s Animated Insights.
2) Commentaries on the state of publishing (self-published and otherwise) and connections between writer and reader will appear at Infinite House of Books, since those areas are its focus.
My goal is to bring my personal feel to both blogs, while letting those who want to focus what information they get select the type of information they receive.
Thank you all for your continued support since 2000.
THE PHOENIX BURNS Now Out for Kindle and Smashwords! February 16, 2013Posted by shannonmuir in Kindle, NaNoWriMo, Smashwords, the phoenix burns, Writing.
Tags: nanowrimo 2012, nanowrimo 2012 novel, shannon muir, the phoenix burns, the phoenix rises, the phoenix rises sequel
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THE PHOENIX BURNS, my 2012 National Novel Writing Month project, is now released in its entirety on Amazon for Kindle and Smashwords. As soon as Smashwords clears it, other vendors will follow suit. The only reason I waited until now is that there was a publisher as one of the NaNoWriMo sponsors and the book due to subject matter – and how open minded the publisher might be – could have been a long shot fit. They were taking open submissions of NaNoWriMo projects right after, so I decided to take a shot. After getting turned down (which frankly was the outcome I expected but I had to take the chance), the book is now available to the public.
Anyone who downloaded it as a work in progress during the Smashwords unofficial NaNoWriMo hosting event is eligible to get the final product for free. The cost is $2.99 USD. I could not pursue a Kindle Select promotion on this title because of the Smashwords tie-in I’d done previously (I’d lose any of the NaNoWriMo designations if I publish and republish and I’d want to keep that), so I’m going to go wide availability with this title.
Most of my posts focus on the storyline, so in my blog I’ll touch a little more on what is summarized in the author’s note. My original intent last NaNoWriMo was to do WILLOWBROOK SAGA BOOK 6, but I was still editing FILL THE INNER CIRCLE (BOOK 3) at the time and did not feel ready to skip ahead to Book 6. Although Book 4 was written in a prior NaNoWriMo and Book 5 orignally written years earlier, I’ve seen the storyline evolve and so much new material included that skipping ahead to Book 6 seemed very counterproductive. For the record, it is my intent to do that book for NaNoWriMo this year and make it nine years of completion wins.
Back to NaNoWriMo 2012. To decide not to do a WILLOWBROOK SAGA title left me in a bind with the start just a day or so away. I didn’t want to not challenge myself for the eighth year. So, with no outline and no real character development other than what was known in the other book, I launched on seeing on what would happen if I caught up with the Rayner family from THE PHOENIX RISES, a book I’d released last March. Without an outline, I just let the characters lead and tell their stories after I decided on the tragic event that set the rest in motion. The whole month, I just let the characters tell me what their story was. The result for me was interesting, and several times I found myself confronted with scenes I wouldn’t have planned to do, but looking at the evidence of the characters and how they behaved in the other book turned out to be completely logical. I believe the end result is true to the spirit of the characters established before. I hope you enjoy it.