Harry's Moving Again

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I think I'm a couple of weeks behind on this news, but the release date for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince movie has been moved... again. This time for the better. Instead of July 17th, it'll be out July 15, 2009. Personally, I'm not impressed. They pushed us back eight months, only to give back two freaking days?! Where's the justice in that? All I gotta say, is it better be worth it. The newest trailer says it is, though. Wow... I can't wait!

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Trailer #4

Makin' a List & Checkin' it Twice

Monday, April 27, 2009
Not much has been going on with me these days. I've mostly been waiting, waiting, waiting to hear back from editors. The story I sold, The Stillburrow Crush, is on its way to getting Galley No. 2 made. So, I'm waiting on that as well. Like Nancy J. Parra said in her April 10th blog, Wait is a definitely a four letter word.

I haven't been creating much new material, but mostly been revising old stories. And in the revision process, I'm starting a list of words. Actually, there's about two lists developing. One is for unnecessary words that I'm doing a word find on my word document to look at every instance that word is used in the story. If I really don't need it, or if I can find another phrase there to make it sound tighter or just all around better, I'm changing it. This list of words is being called "The Deleters."

The second list consists of a two words per line. I'm doing a word find on terms that are similar to other words and making sure I've used the right word. This is my "Correctors" list.

Yeah, it's time consuming to do a word find for each word, but it's also amazing how many times I've ended up deleting or changing something.

Anyway, here's what I have so far. Please let me know if any of you know more good words to add to the lists.

-feel (felt)
-affect / effect
-adverse / averse
-compliment / complement
-its / it's
-taunt / taut
-use / used
-wander / wonder
-where / wear
-which / that
-your / you're

The Foiled Blog

Friday, April 17, 2009
I had an entire blog created to talk about receiving manuscript rejections today. But in the past twenty-four hours, I've received two different requests for full manuscripts, so I think I'll put off the depressing "r" topic for some other time. And since my blog idea has been foiled, I think I'll discuss...foils (sorry for the pun; couldn't help it!).

Eons ago when I was taking a writing course in college, I wrote a short story about two friends that were about as similar as black and white to each other. My professor told me I had showed a good example of creating a foil character. And I was like, a what character?

I then learned how authors put certain people in their stories that are the complete opposite of their main character in order to highlight the features of said main character. Instead of outright telling readers about the hero/heroine, they show their protagonist's characteristics by contrasting them with another character's personality. In movies, I would say we'd call these people supporting actors/actresses. (Check out Wikipedia's definition of a Foil for a better description)

After I wrote that story in college, time passed, and I forgot all about these foiled people.... until the other day. I was reading Claire Ashgrove's blog about stretching a story out longer with sub plotting. And for some reason, I thought, hey, Linda Kay, remember those foil characters back from college? They could really add a good subplot and help lengthen a book as well as deepen emotions and give your tale more meaning.

So...There's my helpful writing tip for the day. Don't forget about Foil Characters! Write that on a post-it and stick it somewhere in your writing tool box to pull back out whenever you stumble across a rough patch and need to lengthen, strengthen or deepen your story. They really do help.

Famous Foils in Literature

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell : Rhett Butler and Ashley Wilkes
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck : George Milton and Lennie Small
Don Quixote by Cervantes : Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
Hamlet by Shakespeare : Hamlet and Laertes
Star Wars by George Lucas : Luke Skywalker and Hans Solo
Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling : Harry Potter and Ron Weasley
Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle : Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

Suddenly Bothered

Saturday, April 11, 2009
I received my galley this week for my manuscript, and, of course, I was dazzled. But, hey, this is the first time I've seen one of my stories in the formatted version of how it's going to look once it's released. The copyright page really got to me. Seeing my very own ISBN number, though... wow. It was really something.

But, anyway, when my editor sent it to me, she instructed me to read through the story again, looking only for grammatical and formatting errors. The editing/revising phase was over. Except... as I started to scan through it, I "suddenly" became uber-aware of how many times I used the word "suddenly."

There's must've been a week back when I was writing the story that "suddenly" was my favorite word to type, because I found it used about five times within ten pages, and I wanted to delete every one of them. Except... the editing/revising phase is over and they can't be deleted. I'm not sure why I didn't catch them the other fifty times I went over the story. But now, they're stuck there forever and I bet they're really going to bother me every time I read my book.

In a couple other places, I found a few phrases where I thought, "Man, I wish I would've written this instead of that." Overall, I know the story is fine. But I still have my nit-picking hat on and there are things that could've been better. I just hope this is a normal reaction for authors, the worrying about minor details. I suppose it's like sending your kid off to school their first day of Kindergarten, finally releasing your baby to the world. You can only pray the other kids don't notice the scuff on their shoes or the dirt behind their ears.

I Do, Times a Few

Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I think my family's caught wedding fever... and graduation-itis. I got my last single sibling married off this weekend only to learn my oldest nephew is getting married now too. This August. WOW. I remember when he was born. I was only nine. Instead of telling me my oldest sister was going to have a baby, a handful of my siblings informed me she was buying a dog, and I couldn't play with the new puppy until it was older. Not sure why they didn't just tell me the truth. I'm pretty sure I knew where babies came from by that point.

Anyway, I remember when the "puppy" was born, and we all hopped in the car for a four-hour road trip to go meet him. It was worth it. He was adorable. As he got older and learned to talk, he'd say "macaroni" instead of "cheese" whenever there was a camera/video camera around. So, there's this video of him, running around in a diaper, repeatedly yelling "macaroni!" And now that streaking, macaroni-yelling puppy is getting married.

I feel so old.

Ah, but he's not the only one. My niece, who's even younger than him, has been wearing an engagement ring these past few months. No big announcements have been made, but I'm sure a date will be set one of these days. And I'll feel even older. The only embarrassing thing I can remember about her is that she had a very sensitive stomach in her younger years. You could look at this poor girl wrong, and she's vomit all over you. Taking her out to eat was always a dangerous endeavor. I swear that corner booth in Braums will never be the same again. It's a good thing her stomach has toughened up though. Her fiance is quite the hunter and likes to take her along. Imagine how awful it would be to dress out a deer with such a weak constitution.

If you think that's a lot of weddings for one family, listen to how many of my nieces and nephews are graduating this year. I have one niece and two nephews receiving their diplomas from high school in May. And then another niece and nephew will graduate from eighth grade. That's five family members in one year. I'm going to have to take out a loan in order to get all of them graduation cards.

Not that I'm complaining. I love my huge family... even if they do like to remind me how old I'm getting. They just make events like weddings and graduations and holidays fun and fulfilling with their loud, boisterous chaos.

Making History

Thursday, April 2, 2009
It's April already!! Did anyone pull a joke yesterday? I didn't. But then, I'm not much for pranks . I always feel bad about them afterward.

It feels like the world's playing one big prank on me, though. I keep waiting for someone to say "gotcha" because recently, there's been about five things that have happened that seem unreal. Some good, some not-so-good, and some, just... there. Only about one of these changes will probably make history books, but they're all big differences in my life.

First of all, it snowed this past weekend. We haven't had snow here most of the winter and finally Spring comes and we get our big "winter" storm for the year. Weird. A nearby high school had their prom on Saturday, and they could've been the only class to claim they went sledding after the dance. This kind of weather just doesn't happen here this time of the year.

Second of all, there's the whole economy thing where the government pressured that big wig automobile CEO to resign. That's never happened in the history of the United States. So, that's a record-maker there.

Then, I also saw on the news that the biggest town near me isn't going to have its Fourth of July Fireworks show this July due to lack of budget. And this is usually a spectacular show. I mean, you have to be, like, a mile away to properly see all the fireworks. So that's a bummer for me.

And last, but not least, I've completed the "editing" phase of my book, The Stillburrow Crush. It's now headed into "production" and soon, it'll get a release date set up. That's my exciting news by the way. Before we know it, my first book will be out in online stores, ready to sell to the public. It's as scary as it is exciting.

That's what's happening in my corner of the world. Anything life-altering or history-making happening to you?