A Long Overdue Site Revamp

Hi there,

 

After years of inertia, I finally switched a few things around on this website here.

 

I’m a three-trick-pony (which is better than a one-trick pony) so more of the same aesthetics but organized muuuuuuuuch better.

That’s it for now.

 

Take care, Ian.

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Over Half a Million Words and Counting – Resilience and the Creative Mind

I am about to announce my first “officially” published work, as I was lucky enough to team up with an up and coming indie of the publishing world, and I found myself thinking about the path that led me here.

Part of my intellectual process is to understand patterns very easily and part of my spiritual search is to understand the origin of such patterns (or paths) and their influence on the person I am today.

It is often said that any artist who’s “made it” had to fail time and time again in order to learn and grow. I can only say that the clichés are true as I was trying to figure out how many pages I had written and scrapped before getting to this point.

I did a pretty complete breakdown of everything I could think of between being a geek writing his own role-playing games when I was in fourth grade and looking into a chunk the huge market of mystery writing. (soon to be announced officially.)

I wrote

3 role-playing games – say 90 pages total

4 short stories in high school – say 20 pages total.

2 personal essays in junior college – 80 pages total.

5 “short” political dissertations – 200 pages total.

20 smaller college works – 8 to 12 pages – say 160 pages total.

(I’m not even gonna count all the weekly 2 to 7 pages assignments)

About 50 songs (music and/or lyrics) – 50 pages total

1 really bad script – 90 pages

1 really bad novel idea – 60 pages

2 full length plays – 120 pages total

1 short movie script – 6 pages

1 good full length movie script – 100 pages

3 novels : say 800 pages

1 self-made translation : 140 pages

2 poetry collections : 160 pages

4 years of curating texts for the MainLine Gala for Student Gala.

An unspecified amount of arts events and designs

Plus plans for a series of 5 graphic novels which I have yet to count…

2166 pages of “unsuccessful” or DIY writing to get here. At least 420 pages of which I literally scrapped. Most of it I used but have yet to pay out and some if it I actually look to make small amounts of money from.

I’m not even counting the letters, proposals and blog posts.

@250 words a page, that’s over half a million words I wrote before I got a book deal. (541 500 to be precise)

(With all the proposals, treatments, blog posts, letters, homework, submissions… I’m confident I’ve hit the million words by now… but let’s stick to manageable figures for now.)

So I guess the message is this, If you write every day, or even every week. If you started young because it felt natural to you, keep doing it. Half a million words and counting…that’s what it takes.

If that number scares you, you should probably do something else.

“Until you die or it dies in you” – Charles Bukowski.

Take care,

Ian

 

 

 

Fashion, Old Sheds and a Backalley in Rosemont, Montreal

Yesterday was a pretty good DSC_0001evening. We had fellow parents over, had pizza…the kids ate well, then we took out a bunch of lighting kits in the alley, neighbours lend some power cords and electricity and we got to do our first (semi) pro photoshoot while the kids were painting wooden hearts and the baby was asleep…There`s nothing a few homemade/diy KINOS and 60 foot of electric cords can`t do…

I mention semi-pro because none of us were paid, but within about twenty minutes, there were two cinema tech, one fashion designer, one writer (me) and our publicist next door who were chilling in the alley to take some pictures of the shed (and my promo shot for my next book) at the same time…I guess I do live in a really cool neighbourhood.

I`ll save the best photos for when they are needed in December, but have taken the liberty of posting a few here because I wanted to… (All photos Mary Lee Maynard and Philippe Beausejour)B

D Ian 2015

C Ian 2015

F 2015 Ian

E 2015 Ian

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And just because nature does not give a shit…a tree will fucking grow anywhere…

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Turning one of my paintings into a table

I turned a painting into a work table for the job using a bunch of old legs, tampered glass shelves we had laying around and some silicone. I bought the canvas that fit with the glasses we had and used the wooden frame as support for the legs. The glue smeared on the edges, so that’s a technique I’ll have to improve, but as a prototype, I’m pretty happy about it,

MAD paintingDSC_0030DSC_0039DSC_0041

Judge a Book by its Cover

I want to write a quick post about this because I just had that age-old argument with a colleague.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” as if it was supposed to be some great metaphore on how we put too much thought into appearances and not enough in the guts.

While it may sound like glitters and unicorns where everyone can feel good and embrace mediocrity…let’s face it : we need to judge a book by its cover.

We need to…

Because being a writer also makes us artists and therefore, we CANNOT neglect the aesthetic aspect of our work.

Some people only care about aesthetics (Art for art’s sake) and others will claim a work is purely sociological/political…both work with aesthetics, or at least they should.

As writers, it is imperative to dig into design and visual art. We need to know what we love visually, what we like aesthetically and how we can translate the stories we have in our heads, not only into words, but also visually.

It can be daunting : how do you synthesise 300 pages of work into one single image. It is an exercise in minimalism, that is for sure. But why not live up to the challenge. It can be a visual concept, an emotion, a character… why not take this chance to be creative just the same.

Of course, some will say that authors don’t always (or ever) have final word on cover designs. That can only mean two things : A) you had no guts to impose yourself (everything is negotiable) or you wouldn’t dare to try in the first place.

You don’t even need to be a designer. Simple photoshop skills (which most younger people have anyways) will suffice to AT LEAST do a proper maquette of a cover that you can then send to a designer (if need be).

With all the photographs available online in various databases (stock photos) you can do a mock-up in a half-hour, probably do a full (usable) cover in a matter of hours… at least to indicate to your designer what kind of direction you’d like to go.

Cover design it not THAT complicated. If you’ve been raised around computers, you already (probably) know how to do it. And the best thing is, it’s cheap too.

If you can’t afford photoshop, try a cheaper program. Don’t have a good camera : stock photos. Fonts aren’t interesting : buy a few good ones online.

NG cover lowfi

 

The cover for “Northern Gothic” is basically a texture I bought online and photoshopped it to get the color I wanted plus, I added a very common font (that is cheezy, yes, but so what?) It cost me $4.34 (Canadian) to do… that’s it.

But you don’t have to go “cheap” all the time.

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With A Teenage Suicide, I wanted to push my creativity and use everything I knew about the world of Punk rock. So I designed one cover for each of the characters, using “A Teenage Suicide” as a band name, while imitating logos from bands that the teenagers in my story would listen too… I had t-shirts printed and then asked people I know to act as models.

All of that cost me a few hundred dollars (printing one t-shirt at a time is REALLY expensive) but I found the experience worthwhile (sometimes an idea gets in your head and you can’t sleep till its done.)

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On a simpler note, I’ve designed the mock-up for my next novel (Grand Trunk and Shearer) because I know what kind of visual I wanted. I wanted to use the Victoria Bridge because it crosses the neighbourhood my story is set it. It’s a Montreal landmark, plus it looks great. I could have gone there at night and taken a picture, but I was lucky to find one that was perfect in a stock photo database.

I also wanted big BOLD letters that took a lot of space (like the tattoo on my left arm) Because…well, that’s what I wanted.

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Total price for the cover : maybe 40 bucks.

Try and fail and try again, untill you’re happy with what you got. It’s that simple and it’s that cheap.

There’s no reason not to do it.

 

Take care,

 

Ian

 

A Teenage Suicide Won the Expozine Alternative Press Award for Best English Book.

So yesterday was a huge night for me…

 

After graduating from Concordia and putting years of work into my writing, I have received yesterday my first literary award. That’s right, the Expozine Alternative Press Award for Best English Book was awarded to A Teenage Suicide and it came with this amazing blurb.

“Truman’s third self-published novel follows a group of friends working through late adulthood issues of identity, depression, and lots of tough choices. Set in and around Montreal and in particular its punk, art, activist and student scenes, its down-to-earth raconteur style provides an enduring snapshot of young-adult life in the big city today.”

For those of you who don’t know about it, Expozine is Montreal’s bilingual small press, zine and comic fair. It has been going on for almost ten years now in Montreal’s notorious Mile-End district and is often the best place to make a name for yourself as a young author in the city.

This really means a lot to me and I do hope to use it as a springboard for my future projects.

 

I want to send thanks and praises to the people who worked on it :

Benoit Lelièvre, Editor.

Lori Hettler, Proof-reading and creative comment.

Mary Lee Maynard, Photographer (and lovely spouse)

Also, the three models who agreed to work for very cheap, Charles Laurier, Marianne Lapointe and Catherine Ripchensky.

 

“Expozine is organized by Arcmtl, a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting and preserving local independent culture, and is made possible in part thanks to the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des Arts de Montréal.” – Expozine website.

You can find everything here in both French and English : http://expozine.ca/en/awards/2013-2/

 

A Teenage Suicide – all covers are done

ATS ebook sally ATS angela ebook ATS conor ebook ATS jake ebook

Top  – Sally’s cover, photo by Ian Truman, model: Catherine Ripchensky

Second – Angie’s cover, photo by Ian Truman, model: Marianne Lapointe

Third, Conor’s cover, photo by Ian Truman, model: Charles Laurier

Last, Jake’s cover, photo by Mary lee Maynard, mode, Yanick Trudel