Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Some Thoughts on Detailed Character Development

I recently began working on a new website called Punksters.net. The site features Punk Rock characters. I created the characters in Daz Studio. After I created the physical characters, I developed names and characteristics for each one.

I am a musician, so I am able to use some of my experiences as a musician for material and ideas regarding the characters. But, for starters, I had to name the characters. Since they are punk rockers and they are normally associated with being wild and destructive, I decided to give them names to match. So from left to right (displayed in the image) are Bing, Bang, Crash and Boom.

I got the idea to name the one Bing because when I first started developing him, he sort of looked like Bing Crosby. Then, for some reason,  I decided to name the next guy Bang. So I then decided to go all out and name the next two Crash and Boom.

Obviously, since they are in a band, each one had to be assigned a specific purpose within the band.  Bing is the drummer, Bang is the guitarist, Crash is the singer and Boom is the bass guitarist.

But how did each guy get his nickname? Well, Bing is short for Billingsly, which is Bing's full last name. Bang's full last name is Bangston. Crash's real last name is Cash but since he gets into a lot of car accidents, they call him Crash. Boom's real last name is Bloom but since he likes to have the bass booming, they call him Boom.

Okay, so I may have induced boredom at this point. But I really do have a point to make. If you really want to have a lot to work with, you need to develop well defined characters. You need to put some serious thought into it if you want to be able to do a lot with the characters.

I intend to do a comic strip featuring theses guys as the main characters. I have also begun to develop other characters like their girlfriends, family members, co-workers and their manager. I worked out a lot of details regarding each one so far. I feel that is the best way to lay the groundwork for creating a weekly comic strip. I like to think that the hardest part is now behind me. If you are at all curious to find out more, please check out the website: Punksters.net

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Setting Goals for the New Year

With every new year, I like to review the previous year to see where I have gone and what I have accomplished. Then I set goals for the new year. The reason that I like to review the precious year is because there are often goals that I have either met or not met. I try to set goals that are attainable and not pie in the sky sort of things that have a very small likelihood of being achieved.

I do a lot of different things. I am a musician, a writer, a web developer and a 3D artist and animator. With each of those things, I may have various goals I will set. I will also have various accomplishments regarding each of them as well. I like to review the accomplishments because we often forget what we have achieved and end up feeling bad regarding the things that we did not achieve. When you see what you have done, it encourages you to strive to do more. If you only concentrate on the things you did not achieve, you may become discouraged.

With my 3D art and animation, I have certain accomplishments that I have achieved over the last year. I created a number of videos and last year was a pretty productive year. At least the last six months of the year were. Not only did I accomplish the tasks of completing various videos but I learned how to do different things within the various programs that I use. So my goals for the upcoming year will be to do some more videos and to also learn how to do a few more things in the programs that I use.

As a writer, I just completed an e-book that I made available for the Kindle. It is now up on Amazon.com. As you may have noticed, I also do online article writing as well. With my online writing, I started this blog called "Bob Craypoe's World" where I write about a variety of things. You may have spotted that one. I also write for a number of websites as well. Over the last year, I made some pretty good money writing and I hope to have a good year this year too.

Over the last year, I completed a very large project on one of my websites. I updated a very large portion of one of my sites that was over 1,800 pages. That was a huge project but I felt so good about having completed it. I have some other goals I want to set with my websites for the upcoming year. I also re-designed two other websites completely. One of them was my worst looking website and now it is one of my better looking sites. both sites were actually in great need of being updated and I am so happy that I did because I am very well pleased with the overall results of both.

With my music, I have certain things I am considering but have not yet made a decision on. I can only put the decisions off for so long; so at some point I will have to decide what my musical goals will be for the upcoming year. I have not done much in the area of live performance over the last year but I did do some videos for some of the music from my CD To Infinity. I hope to do some more videos for more of the songs off of the CD this upcoming year. my eventual goal is to have a video for every song on the CD.

Overall, I would have to say that I am happy with my accomplishments. I hope to do more in the upcoming year but I have not yet outlined what the goals are. I like to outline things on a piece of paper or in a word document on my computer. Then I review it throughout the year to see how I am doing. This is what I suggest other people do:

Review the accomplishments of the previous year and set new goals for the upcoming year. To show you one of the videos I did over the last year, I included a link. Good luck with your goals and the new year and here ya go:

Photo Credit: Image created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Getting Started With Kindle Direct Publishing

Have you ever wanted to write your own e-book for the Kindle? Well, it is not as hard to do as you might think it is. Step one is to sign up on the Kindle Direct Publishing website. That's KDP.com. My account there is associated with my Amazon account so I use the same user ID and password. It just makes it easier to remember.

The formatting for a Kindle e-book is actually very simple. I create my e-books in a Microsoft Word document. If you don't have Word, just go and download OpenOffice for free from the OpenOffice.Org website and just save your document in Word format once you are finished with your project.

All you have to know are the settings for the page and the margins. The easiest setting to get to work is page dimensions of 3.5 inches width by 5.0 inches height. Then you set your page margins to .25 all the way around. That's top, bottom and both sides. 

The font that is recommended by some is the Trebuchet MS font. The kindle itself will not allow you to set the typeface, so this is just for the purpose of emulating the appearance. This allows you to preview your work in Word to a view closest to what the Kindle will display.

Set your text alignment to left align in your document. The kindle will justify the text anyway. For font sizes use 10, 12, 14 and 18 only. Apparently, sizes in between will be shifted to higher or lower values by the Kindle.

Once your e-book is finished, you basically just upload it to the site and it will automatically convert your document to the Kindle format for you. Then all you will need to do is create your cover.

There is a setup wizard you can use to make the cover. It is fairly easy to do and you can always go back to the beginning to start all over again just in case you screw it up. They have a selection of templates to choose from. I used a combination of one of their templates and my own image to create the cover for my e-book.

After you have uploaded your book and created your cover, you set your price. I recommend that you set it at a very affordable price. There are a lot of books available for the Kindle that are either free or very cheap. So you should remember that you are competing against that. I set the price for my latest one at $1.99. If you set your price low, you will be able to sell much more of them and you will make more money in the long run anyway.

Once your project is completed and prices set, it should be available for sale on Amazon.com. They tell you that it may take up to twelve hours but I have done it twice so far and each time it was available within an hour or two. Once it is available, you will be given a link to it. Then you can post the link to your e-book anywhere on the Internet and hope that you can sell some books. i recommend that you post it on your Facebook and other social media pages. Not too often but occasionally. People will get tired of seeing it if you do it too often.

There is a dashboard there once you log into the site too. You can run reports to check on your sales and everything. There are links that you can click on too, that will assist you during the setup process. So you are not completely on your own throughout the process. If you just use the information I have provided above and click on the links for various instructions when you are not sure about something, it should not be too difficult for you.

My latest e-book is called What Not to Do As a Musician. I basically did everything I just explained to you above. I have included a link for you to see what it looks like on Amazon.com. Remember, that could be your kindle e-book up there. Anyway, here is a link to my book so that you can see: CLICK HERE TO VIEW

So remember, all you have to do to get started is to go to: KDP.com

Photo Credits: Images created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau