Monday, 22 April 2013

How to Create A Meme

I started to write this on April 1 and realized it was the next best thing to an April Fool joke. The ambitious title promises help in creating a meme--a tall order since the definition of a meme is still fluid and transforming  through usage as a computer term.

The precedent is already set. Icons morphed from being religious images of saints and the Holy Family, usually painted on wood, into being pictorial symbols for computer files in the late twentieth century. Now journalists use the word wholesale to tag any celebrity or charismatic politician.

The word meme is relatively new but since its appearance just thirty years ago to denote a cultural imperative passed wordlessly through generations, it has changed to refer to any picture of image which catches global attention.

Now it's an image or video that goes viral on the Internet--usually humorous and/or political. Sharing across social networking sites and through emails makes it easy to attract world-wide interest.

Creating the image is the easy part. Creating the true viral meme is in the lap of the gods.

How to Create Your Meme

1. Decide what you want it to do: promote a book or a service, share a worthwhile quote, make a statement about life.
    Have a look at one choice for the twenty-five best memes of all time.
    Warning: this could be a time waster.

2. Check out the many meme generators online--another time-fill for those of us happily procrastinating out there.

A review of the best meme generators is a useful starting place if you want an off-the-peg solution.
     Or: check out piZap.
     Warning: lots of ads but it is an amazing free photo editor. 
Select edit photo and you will find a meme option which allows you to add text top and bottom meme-style. You can also create photo collages and FB timeline covers.

3. Choose your own image to suit your purpose.
    Warning: Remember laws of copyright apply
You need to use your own photograph or choose one that has a licence to allow its adaptation as a meme. If using your book cover for promo purposes, make sure the meme text is memorable not just a buy me shout.

Useful software

Unless you already have photo editing software, try Paint, more features than the Microsoft version, or PowerPoint, or Gimp.
You can use a plain background for quotations
Just fill the box with the color of your choice.
Add text or text and photo and job done.

If you're using Powerpoint. select a size, add image, caption and off you go.

Related text
Writers on the Move: Memes and Themes

Let me know how you get on and send me a link to your meme. Hopefully we can create a mini meme gallery here to showcase them. Have fun.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Turn Your Stories into Videos--The Easy Way

I love technology and new ideas for marketing and displaying writing creativity And I'm doubly delighted today to present my guest blogger Dr.John Yeoman of Writers' Village.

It's a wonderful site for writers packed with information and hosting excellent and helpful writing competitions as you are always promised a helpful critique of your story.

His learning curve in creating the You Tube video on Power Writing that Sells provides a useful step by step guide for simply turning our stories into video.

Do please comment below with your own thoughts, suggestions and ideas.

How To Turn Your Stories Into Videos  The Easy Way

A guest post by Dr John Yeoman

photo from Robgowman, Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever thought of turning your stories or 
poems into videos? True, you could read them aloud 
and podcast them. But a video lets you add graphics, 
backdrops, animation and much else, as well as voice 
and music. 

Your stories glow. The problem is, how can you produce your own quality video and post it at YouTube without a great deal of technical knowledge?

The answer may surprise you. Use Powerpoint! 

I’ve been using Powerpoint for years when teaching 
my university classes in creative writing. Powerpoint 
helps me illustrate texts, animate them and add music 
clips or background narration. It brings my classes 
alive! Powerpoint is also simple to learn, if you have a 
good manual beside you. (I recommend Powerpoint 
for Dummies.) 

So when I wanted to create a ‘class’ in story writing 
techniques as an automated presentation in my web 
site, I thought of Powerpoint. I’m utterly non-technical 
so it took a lot of experimentation but finally I 
produced a video - Power Writing That Sells - that 
attracted more than 480 views on YouTube in its first 
three days.

It’s not slick but it works. Here’s how you can do the 
same for a story, poem or any sort of text whatever 
that you’d like to transfer to a video.

First, I created a presentation in Powerpoint, using 
just a few simple graphics. I animated the sections, so 
they dissolved or flew in at the click of a mouse. Then 
I added a voice-over and manually advanced the 
sections at each step as I recorded my voice. (That’s 
difficult to describe but any good Powerpoint manual 
will show you how to automate a presentation with a 

Now I had a ppt show that would play automatically at 
the click of a button. But I still faced a challenge. How 
could I get it up on the web for public view? First, I 
tried Slideshare. That proved to be useless for 
my purposes, because it does not support voice-
overs for Powerpoint (although you can upload videos 
to Slideshare). Then I stumbled on Prezi, a new 
rival to Powerpoint that lets you make beautiful 
presentations. But again you can’t add voice-overs. 

I realised that an automated Powerpoint presentation 
will not, by itself, work acceptably on the web. 

Powerpoint slide for Power Writing that Sells
I first had to turn the ppt into a video. I needed a 
conversion program. What did I use? I tried 
Wondershare then Moyea. Both of them 
seem to be identical, except that Moyea accepts 
PayPal and Wondershare doesn't. 

So I paid Moyea around $40, downloaded the software and found the conversion from ppt to video was simple. Even for 
somebody who’s not technical.

But I still had the same problem. How could I post my 
video on the web? Metacafe offered me a free platform,
but it inserted 20 seconds of ghastly advertising at the start
of my video, totally wrecking it. 

Of course, YouTube was the answer. I uploaded the 
video and stumbled around the site until I found the 
Video Manager section at YouTube, plus my video 
URL. I plugged the code into my website. (Every 
platform has a different way to do that.) 

Lo, it worked! That said, the video didn't appear at 
YouTube quite the way I wanted. Nor can viewers click 
directly on the hyperlinks within my video. (I know it 
can be done but I haven’t yet discovered how.) 

For me, producing my first video was a painful 
learning curve but the process, once learnt, is simple. 

My next step is to bypass Powerpoint and produce a 
video of one of my live classes in creative writing. 
Could somebody please lend me a copy of Video 
Making for Dummies?

Dr John Yeoman, PhD Creative Writing, judges the Writers’ Village story competition and is a tutor in creative writing at a UK university. 

He has been a successful commercial author for 42 years. You can find a wealth of ideas for writing stories that sell in his 

free 14-part course at Writers’ Village:


Slideshare at

Prezi at

Wondershare at

Moyea at

Metacafe at

Writers' Village at

And the video that started it all: Power Writing That Sells

coming next week: How to Create a Meme
coming April 29:   How to Create an Infographic