Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Where do we draw the line between Hollywood drama and the way the Past Gets Rewritten

Canadian philosopher and communications theorist Marshall Mcluhan once said "The medium is the message".

He also coined the phrase "Global Village" and predicted the coming of the world wide web 30 years before its time when Mr. Gore was a mere 14 years old.

I find these bits of information both curious and interesting two days after the coveted Best Movie Oscar prize went to the movie Argo.

Mr. Mcluhan sure did know what he was talking about. The medium was not so much about the content itself but about what the resultant effects of that content have on our greater society. What does creating and viewing that content say about us?

Take the case of the movie Argo. It is a film of fiction, for entertainment, which most films are; however Argo claims to be based on a true story. So what will society think about this film that considers itself based on a true story? Will society expect that film to be true to its word and message? What will be the end result on our social conscious? How will we interpret the 'true story'? And now that the movie has a coveted academy award to its name does that change the social conscious toward this movie in some way?

These are important and curious questions in light of the fact that recently key players in what was commonly know as the "Canadian Caper" and now also known as Argo seem to have a different story to tell from what was portrayed in the film.

While Argo tells the story primarily from the CIA's point of view 1. it leaves out key facts, such as Mr. Taylor's true role and the that the CIA actually played a minor role in the whole affair which I understand was not depicted in the movie.

I have recently read that former President of the US Jimmy Carter came out with his own perspective on "Canadian Caper" events. To paraphrase he said that it was a operation that had 90% Canadian involvement and that Mr. Ken Taylor 2. was the real hero, to quote "Ninety per cent of the contributions to the ideas and consummation of the plan was Canadian, and the movie gives almost full credit to the American CIA.3"

I have read from the sources listed below that a DVD documentary was slated to come out Feb. 19 that "offer(s) more content, a greater sense of Canada's role abroad and the true nature of an embassy.4." It also is said to include interviews with former Prime Minister Joe Clark, former US President Jimmy Carter, former Canadian Ambassador to Iran, Ken Taylor (who was the real hero according to primary sources). As well as an interview with Mr. Affleck. All of the former having some involvement with the actual events, while Mr. Affleck directed and stared in the movie.

As a former high school teacher this has been a long time concern of mine. Many young people today, while not naive don't seem to be having as much debate and dialogue around issues about the "facts" and just how much content is 'based on a true story' and how that relates to the public consciousness and what it says about those who skew the 'true story' and how those who were actually there and are aware of the 'facts' have to deal with skewed renditions of the past. Perhaps society as a whole should be having a wider debate as well.

I have written a fantasy trilogy that is set in Regency England and early 19th century France. I use the names of some nobility from the period for fictional purposes only and make no claims that what I write is base on a true story in any way. I do not claim that my fantasy book is the 'true story'.

Where do we draw the line at fact and fiction? When do we say that it's not in the best interest of those involved and for the greater public to use the term "based on a true story"if the term is so loosely based in 'facts' that it's difficult to find the 'facts' in a piece of drama? What happens to the public/social consciousness when such claims are made but aren't grounded in reality or 'fact'? And do we make these 'fact' claims too loosely before we have a good understanding of what the facts really are? I ask these questions to open up a discussion for public debate, because when "the medium is the message" shouldn't we be considering how we use and interpret such "facts'?

A Writer's Path - words that strive to create meaning.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argo_(2012_film)
2. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/hendrikhertzberg/2013/02/argo-the-jimmy-carter-experience.html
3. http://news.moviefone.ca/2013/02/22/jimmy-carter-argo-canadians-ken-taylor_n_2744219.html
4. http://news.moviefone.ca/2013/02/14/argo-ken-taylor-unbalanced-ben-affleck_n_2690428.html

Friday, 22 February 2013

It's All about Numbers...Or is it?

I've had my new novel in the Kindle store for a week now. Click on the image to go to amazon. You can purchase a copy for 99 cents.

My target was to have one sale a day and I've met my target! Thank you so much to those people who bought my book.

I know that 7 sales in one week doesn't sound like much, but when your dealing with over 200,000 books in the Kindle store, 7 sales isn't so bad.

One other piece of important information that you may have heard elsewhere, but I'd like to share with you is this, if you are a writer the first thing you need to do is write! Try not to get caught up in the number of sales or stats. It your numbers are consistent then things are not that bad. My husband likes to say 'the trend is your friend.' I think there may be some wisdom in that; besides if I'm writing and not obsessing over my numbers then I am that much closer to getting my next paying novel out the door.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Gotta Keep Going...

I published my first novel in Kindle format last week on Valentine's Day. Here's the cover. You can click on the book to take you to Going Home on Amazon:

I made the cover myself. I would love to get feedback in comments if you can spare the time. Thanks!

I was just getting over a sinus infection and the flu. It was a difficult time for me but I stuck to my schedule and my goals and got this short novel out on time.

This week it's been a matter of trying to rest and get better from a cold I've also contracted. I want to be consistent with my goals while taking care of my health at the same time. Oh, did I mention I have asthma and environmental illness. It's been an exhilarating and demanding time all at once. There have been two constants in this whole affair that have kept me grounded. My husband's support and the fact that I have a gym in my home.

I can't say enough about having a loved one, even one person, provide a source of encouragement. It's been a godsend. I can share my successes with him and he actually listens!

Going to the gym (we have one in our home since I can't go out to the local gym without getting ill because of my disability) has helped me to stay focussed and provided me with rec time to read some of those marketing books that can be dry when you want to do something else, but not such a bad read when you're tied to the elliptical!

Well, I guess that's it for me. I'm a writer, so I gotta go write. See you back here soon I hope. Happy writing!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Deeps is Stirring while Going Home is essential!

Hi Everyone,

The Deeps-Stirrings is finally being edited!

I happened to find someone through the Canadian Editor's Association. For those of you north of the border it's a great way to find a professional to work on your project. With a little digging you can get someone who will work in your genre. I'd advise looking before your project is complete, since some editors are backlogged. One editor I work with is booking about 6 months ahead the other about a month.

But enough about that...I'll keep you posted with my progress.

I also have an announcement to make!

I have my first novel up on Kindle!

It's called Going Home. 

Just click on the title to get there. If you are in Canada Kindle now sells titles through their Canadian website. So if you get this message (Pricing information not available.) where a price should be either go to the Canadian site and search for Going Home by Kim Welsman or Click Here.

I'd love to know what you think of the cover art. I did it myself instead of using a service; which was a gamble.

It was quite a process to get Going Home publish. I will blog about my experience in the coming weeks.

I hope you have a chance to come and check out Going Home.

Happy writing!