Monday, February 13, 2012

Japanese Pop: My Favorite Songs

Not long ago when some of my Japanese friends and I were discussing how Japanese anime has helped given world wide recognition to Japanese Pop music, they asked me some of the Jpop music I liked. I gave them a long list of artist and songs. They were surprised. Here are a couple songs I want to share with you. They are in Japanese, but the music is still beautiful.

"We Say Hello"- by Manami

"Change The World" - V6

"Every Little Thing" - by GRIP

'Rocks' from NARUTO by Hound Dog

This is a John Lennon song. It is one of my favorite of his songs. I just added it for you fellow John Lennon fans.
"Imagine" - by John Lennon

This is not a Jpop song, but it is a favorite of my Japanese friends.

"I will Always Love You"


by Traci Borum

“Which character tells the story?” That’s a crucial character-question writers must ask themselves in the planning stages of any novel. It’s usually followed by: “Should the story come from one character’s point of view, or more than one?” A tricky question, because incorporating multiple points-of-view can be a bit like juggling plates. Each character is tossed into the air for a brief time, highlighted, then another one takes its place. When handled well, this technique can be extremely effective, fluid. When handled poorly, it can end in disaster (plates crashing to the ground).

 Guest column by Traci Borum, who teaches Creative 
Writing at the college level. She’s written for Today’s
Christian Woman magazine, as well as the New Texas
Journal. Currently, she’s working on a women’s fiction 
series. She also runs a writing blog.  
However, if two important factors are considered, the results can be successful:
1) The “Transition” Factor: If not handled deftly, hopping back and forth between characters’ POV’s (especially in the same scene!) can become jarring. I once read a novel that offered one character’s POV for the first several chapters. As a reader, I settled in to know this character’s thoughts, became accustomed to the way her mind worked. Then—the phone rang. The character picked up the receiver and was given some tragic news. And when she hung up, WHAM! The reader was suddenly thrust into the other character’s mind (from the other end of the line). Huh?
There was absolutely no transition, no hint that the POV was about to shift in a major way. In fact, it was so jarring that I had to re-read the paragraph a couple of times for clarification. Even worse, I kept wondering how theother character—the one I’d spent so much time with—was reacting at that very moment. I wanted to jump backinto the main character’s POV again. I’d invested all these hours with her, and I didn’t care about this new character, this complete stranger. I felt frustrated, cheated. So cheated, in fact, that I quit reading altogether. I knew if the author used that confusing technique once, she would likely use it again.
On the other hand, Elin Hilderbrand’s novel is a strong example of how multiple POV’s can enhance a story. InThe Island, Ms. Hilderbrand first allows readers to see one character’s point of view. Then, when we know that character well, the POV shifts to a different character. But—it’s done so effortlessly that it feels natural. To avoid any confusion, the author gives a full break in text, then offers the name of the upcoming character as a chapter heading. The reader is fully prepared for the shift before it occurs.
2) The “Intimacy” Factor: If a reader spends only brief fragments of time with several different characters (rather than long periods of time with only one character), it stands to reason that the reader ends up knowing several characters slightly, rather than intimately.
I’ll use television as an example. Two of my favorite TV shows from the 80’s used an “ensemble” feel as a vehicle for storytelling. One was the extremely popular “ER,” and the other was the not-as-popular “Thirtysomething.”
For me, “ER” wasn’t as successful as “Thirtysomething,” in terms of acquainting the audience intimately with the main characters. Although ER episodes did manage to present substantive character development, they did so in quick bursts (usually scattered between medical cases containing characters we would never see again). Granted, the fast pace and content of “ER” didn’t lend itself to as much in-depth characterization as other shows. But it still left me wanting more.
In contrast, Thirtysomething incorporated a technique that became highly effective. Instead of having all ensemble characters make brief appearances in every episode—much like “ER” did—the writers typically devoted an entire episode to one or two characters only. And during those fifty minutes, the audience became well-acquainted with them, simply by spending more time in their presence. We got to see Eliot at work struggling in his job, then later at home, struggling in his marriage. Or Melissa, dealing with singlehood as well as her flailing career. The viewers’ focus wasn’t divided by other characters (or distracting storylines) during that particular episode. So, we were able to know those core characters intimately. Consequently, whenever the ensemble would congregate together in one scene, we knew each character so well that the dynamics between them crackled with energy and tension.

In the end, when deciding to use multiple POV’s, take your story into account. Would the plot and characters be better served by using multiple POV’s or a single one? Then, study the technique. Read novels that handle multiple POV’s and learn from them (both where the technique succeeds and also where it fails. There’s much to be gained from observing what doesn’t work).
Whatever your decision, being aware of the successes and pitfalls of using multiple POV’s can expand your writing choices. And that’s never a bad thing!
I give thanks to Tracy for sharing this info. Please visit her blog. It has a wealth of information.

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New Literary Agents To Query

Reminder: Newer agents are golden opportunities for new writers because they're likely building their client list; however, always make sure your work is as perfect as it can be before submitting, and only query agencies that are a great fit for your work. Otherwise, you're just wasting time and postage.

1. Carlie Webber of the Jane Rotrosen Agency

She is seeking: young adult (any and all genres), horror, mystery, thriller, suspense, contemporary romance, humor, literary fiction, women's fiction. "More specific examples from my submissions wishlist: anything set in the grunge era; GLBTQ for YA; high-concept YA; genre mashups, like paranormal romantic suspense."

2. Erin Harris of Skolnick Literary

She is seeking: literary novels with compelling plots and international settings; literary thrillers and mysteries (She'd love to find the next Tana French!); noirs (especially starring headstrong female protagonists); and YA and middle grade novels that transport her to magical places.

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Ordering this book makes finding an agent easier than searching the web. Most of the agents are for books. Yet some do work with screen writers.