Building a Heroine – Literally

So I have heard a lot of lessons on how to build a character for you story. You need to consider motivations, back-story, fears, goals, and so much more. For a great instruction of building a character for a story, check out From the Inside…Out by Susan May Warren.

But this blog isn’t about that.  As I tried to create the vision I had for my heroine, I needed to find a “Hannah”. Really how hard could it be to find a cute, whimsical, full length shot of a red-head with curly hair, preferably in a green sundress. Like this photo. Only I couldn’t find one.

Being an istock contributor myself (my portfolio), I have no problem paying for an image but search after search left me empty. Okay, maybe I was being a little picky and specific but that has always been my down fall in my life.

My vivid imaginations comes up with EXACTLY what I want and nothing less with make me happy. Try dress shopping with me sometime.

My Junior prom I gave my mom a detailed description of what I wanted in my dress: blue, short, off the shoulder, with thick lace around the top. (Hey it was 1993 and this was very cool) My mom actually bought this dress without me because it was exactly what I wanted. She was right it was perfect and I loved it.
My senior year it only got worse as I drew the dress I wanted on the back of a bulletin during church: short, black velvet, 3 spaghetti straps that cross/weave in the back. My mom laughed at me, but we searched and found nothing close. But I did find a dress three sizes too big, velvet , and full length on sale for $15. So I snatched it up and marched off to the tailor and $40 of alterations later this is what I had.
So you can see, I know what I want. But tailors couldn’t help me this time. Fortunately, I’ve learned a little about digital stitching along the way.

So I found these two shots.

And with a little work (changing hair color, skin color, dress color, swapping heads, and making the dress a bit more CBA approved) I made the the Hannah I wanted.
Yes I confess I am a Photoshoper.

In fact, if you have ever seen a photo of my family that we are all smiling – yeah it has been Photoshopped.


Many claim that this is “cheating.” But I have to laugh. I am not after a photo-journalistic approach to portraits. Back when people would sit for paintings, do you think that the people never blinked, the kids never cried, and everyone stood perfect for hours. No, the painter painted what he wanted. It was not journalism but a portrait, art.
So what are your thoughts on Photoshop?

A good thing or is it cheating?

My One Sheet

You may have picked up by now, I am a writer . I don’t have anything published as of yet, but I do have a book I am pursuing to get published.

I will be attending the ACFW conference next week to meet and connect with other writers as well as agents and editors. For this conference, I have to have what is called a one sheet. It is one piece of paper that tells a bit about my plot and myself that will stir up interest in my book. So here is my one sheet.


So…did it work? Are you interested in knowing more? Maybe I’ll give you a peek next week. Better stay tuned.

Where Were You?

There are certain events in history that will often beg the question: Where were you? Where were you when Pearl Harbor was hit? Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Where were you when the Challenger blew up? Where were you when the two towers were hit?

I love these questions and it is not because of morbid fixation. I don’t want to know history from facts; I want to know history from stories. I want to picture what it was like. I want to feel the emotion of that moment with the storyteller.

Pearl Harbor was bombed exactly thirty-three years before I was born. But when I think about it, I picture my grandfather in his college dorm gathered around an old radio, hearing the news, knowing his life had just changed forever. Kennedy was shot about twelve years before I was born but I know my father sat in a college lecture and how the class all left un-dismissed when the news broke.

But I can tell you where I was eleven years ago today when the two towers were hit. I remember the sickening ache in my gut as I watched them crumple to the ground live. I remember the days that followed as the country struggled to find its emotional feet. I remember watching the country unite and heroes rise up for unexpected places.

Story has the power to change someone like the facts never could. That is why I write. I have never written an historical fiction but the idea intrigues me.

Whether you write or not, you have a story. Pass on those stories, so as your kids learn history in the class they don’t just know the facts but what it was like to life through it.

So, where were you?

Social Media Sweet Spot

One aspect of a writer’s life is social media. An online presence, if you will. This has been a struggle with me. Inconsistent blogs (if you haven’t noticed), an occasional tweet, but I have struggled to really find my grove.

This week I started my author page on Facebook. I must say that I think I have found my sweet spot. I have had a personal account on facebook since 2007 so I am not sure why it didn’t occur to me earlier that this would be a good fit. After all – facebook is already a part of my life.

I created my page Wednesday night at 8:30 and by Friday morning at 8:00 am I had over 116 likes and By Saturday morning 181.
To have so many friends, family, and strangers interested in my journey as a writer is exciting and humbling. Everyone is excited to see what God will do next and frankly so am I.

So, thanks for stopping by my blog. I am striving to be more consistent. I appreciate your support too. If you want to find me on facebook. I am at www.facebook.com/tari.faris.author If you tweet join me there @FarisTari.

I will try not to have too much overlap but I sure there will be.

So what is your favorite avenue of social media?

Biggest revelation for me to date…

So what was my great discovery? Before I get to that – let’s talk reading.

When did I fall in love with reading? About eight years ago. I was nearly thirty and on bed rest with my first child and before wifi I had limited options. So, I decided to read.

Before this time, I hated reading. It was hard. I could never remember what I read and it made me so tired. Occasionally the letters would move around and I consistency struggled to stay on the right line. Just after college I picked up a novel everyone said I had to read. Just 300 or so pages. Took me a month a reading a little every night. As much as my eyes could handle.

But on bed rest I pushed though and read novel after novel. I think it took me days to finish one book but I did it. I soon discovered that I loved the story and that I’d push though the frustrations just to be able to read another good romance story. (practice makes perfect)

Now – I love to read. Eight years later I can fly through books. I read all four books in the Twilight series in a week (not so good for the house cleaning though.) I recently reread the novel that had taken me a month and finished it in a night.

So what was my discovery this weekend? By my description you may be able to tell if you know much about reading problems. I am dyslexic. I am severely dyslexic. Out of the 37 possible characteristics I had twenty-eight. (it takes 10 to classify as dyslexia)

I must say my husband and I had a good laugh about the description since it make so much sense to many of my “quirks”.

I also love the irony that God has called me to write. I mean I did well in math and science why not focus there? No he calls me to literature and I managed to graduate high school with a 3.6 with never completing one required reading book.

But God isn’t concerned with what I can’t do as much as what He can do. I choose to be open to people he has placed in my path to teach me. After all if He can take me from reading a novel over a month to reading it in a night He can do anything.

Here are the 28 characteristics I could identify with. They may give you new insight into our past interaction if you know me. :)
•    Appears bright, intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level.
•    Isn’t “behind enough” or “bad enough” to be helped in the school setting.
•    High in IQ, yet may not test well academically; tests well orally, but not written.
•    Talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building, or engineering.
•    Seems to “Zone out” or daydream often; gets lost easily or loses track of time.
•    Difficulty sustaining attention “daydreamer.”
•    Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.
•    Complains of headaches while reading.
•    Confused by verbal explanations.
•    Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions, and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words.
•    Complains of feeling or seeing non-existent movement while reading, writing, or copying.
•    Seems to have difficulty with vision, yet eye exams don’t reveal a problem.
•    Lacks depth perception and peripheral vision.
•    Reads and rereads with little comprehension.
•    Spells phonetically and inconsistently.
•    Easily distracted by sounds.
•    Difficulty putting thoughts into words; speaks in halting phrases; leaves sentences incomplete; stutters under stress; mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, words, and syllables when speaking.
•    Handwriting varies or is illegible.
•    Clumsy, poor at ball or team sports; prone to motion-sickness.
•    Can be ambidextrous, and often confuses left/right
•    Has difficulty telling time, managing time, or being on time.
•    Computing math shows dependence on finger counting and other tricks
•    Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces.
•    Poor memory for sequences, facts and information that has not been experienced.
•    Thinks primarily with images and feeling
•    Extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly.
•    Strong sense of justice; emotionally sensitive; strives for perfection.
•    Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure, emotional stress, or poor health.

 

 

 

 

Book Review: The Shadow of Your Smile

I know I am behind the times since this book was released over six months ago but hey my life’s been a little busy. (Did I mention that I finally finished writing my book? No – Well I will have to talk about that as my next post.) :)

I must add though that I loved reading about the bitter cold north as I sat in 110+ temperatures. It is like reading a beach novel in the dead of winter. I figure if I want to escape into a novel – might as well be different from where I am.

Okay, on to the book. First let me say – I LOVED IT! Susan May Warren has the ability to create such a real world for the reader and compelling characters that are both real and loveable. They are the kind you want to fight for and make it difficult to put the book down. I read it in two nights.

But there are a lot of great story creators out there, so why do Susan May Warren’s books stand out to me? They hold a strong element of life truth and biblical truth in them that hangs with you after the book is done.

I am the mother of three children Boy, Girl, Boy. And in a way, looking at this family pre-tradegy was like a glimpse of my little family in fifteen years. I pray I never have to face a tragedy like they did, but the reality is I cannot control that.

We don’t know what our future will look like but I know I want to enjoy every day I have with my kids while they are young. I also will place my faith in a God who loves me much and believe it or not loves my kids even more than I do.

This book really challenged me to be a better mom and wife. And if I can walk away from any book wanting to be a better version of myself while enjoying the story – that is a great book.

Thank you Susan May Warren for allowing God to speak though your words into my life.

Have any of you read this book? What makes a good book in your opinion?

Just Kiss Him Already!

My daughter is five and, like most five-year-old girls, princess obsessed. We’ve seen all the movies, more than once. The other day my daughter was watching The Little Mermaid and when it came to the part of the near kiss she shouted, “Would you just kiss him already.”

Don’t we love hating that moment in the movie. Susan May Warren refers to it in her book Kiss and Tell as the “wink.” You know that point, often close to dead center of the story, when romantic tension builds and you want to yell at the screen “Just kiss him already!”

Or often they do kiss but it’s interrupted or perhaps they stop and say “we can’t.” However it works out it always leaves the audience with a taste of the Happily Ever After but pulls the carpet out from under us making us compelled to turn one more page before we turn off the light and go to sleep.

Growing up, I watched all romantic movies I could get my hands on. I loved the romance but I grew to have great expectations of what was to come. If one of the steps was weak or missing, the whole plot felt weak.

Can you recognize the wink in your favorite romance? What is your favorite wink moment from a movie or book and why do you think it is so great?

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