Monday, September 22, 2014

On Writing and Revising

Unfortunately, the release date for Romance is for Other People has been delayed until next year.  Read more below:
In my teens, I wrote the first draft a story called, The Edge of Existence, in which Chris, Lydia and Jeremy from Romance is for Other People were in there, albeit in different form.  “The Edge of Existence” was action/adventure Spiritual story, very different from the story I’m try to release now.  But the interactions between the three characters made for intriguing writing without the action/adventure main plot.  I couldn’t help thinking about a romantic story, with just the characters, without all of that other stuff.  I wrote a summary, but left it at that.

After graduating from Durham Tech in the spring of 2009, I took a year off. Doing that allowed me to finish the sequel to The Edge of Existence, called Volatile Emotions.  Once I finished that, I finally decided to write Love Square.  I decided to write it in first person from all four of the main characters, Chris, Lydia, Jeremy and Amanda.  I enjoyed getting into the heads of each of the characters, and also jumping back and forth between them.  I particularly enjoyed jumping back and forth between the characters in the middle of the scene, showing each character’s reaction to a scene. 
Then I went to NC State, and graduated from there in 2012.  In the fall of 2012, I finally had the chance to revise it, which I did…but I had no idea of how good or bad it was.  I sent it off to 10 or so close friends, asking them to read it.  The concept and/or starting point must not have been very interesting, and to be honest, many people have busy lives, which led to only one finishing the novel (thank you, Nikki!).  She loved it, (with a few quibbles), which I used to revised it a third time.  I did a few minor revisions during this time, just with little ideas I had about individual scenes.

Then in late 2013, my mom put me in contact with Deneane Sutton, who would help me get my book off the ground.  She found an illustrator, graphic designer and editor.  She was very nice and friendly and I appreciate the help she gave getting the manuscript ready for print. She gave it to a teenage relative of hers, who read it in a day and loved it - that was a good sign.  But as we got closer to the projected release date, I started getting nervous.  What would a professional think of the book?  I thought, based on what I had heard so far, that it was in pretty good shape. 

So in early June of this year, I decided to send to the book to CreateSpace for an editorial evaluation, the same company that was going to publish my work.  I received it in late June…and the editor said there was a lot of work that had to be done.  I was crushed, but I also found the time to do it during my busy summer - a long road trip to Ohio in early August.  I worked feverishly to completely a lot (but not all) of the changes suggested by the editor.  I felt better about it – but I was still unsure about what I had, not only with content but also with grammar. 

In early September, I sent it off again, this time to True Blue Editorial, for an In-Depth Critique, which included line editing, which I so desperately needed.  And her response was…less than stellar.  Even after I had revised it, she thought it needed more work than the last one did.  While admittedly some came from her point of view, I don’t consider her point of view any less valid.  If she thought that, there’s no doubt that many readers would feel the same. 


The bottom line here is that my book need a lot more work.  More work that I don’t have time for before the release date.  I feel like I let everyone down, and I apologize sincerely for that.  I have decided to delay the release until sometime in the future.  It’ll come out when I feel it is at a level that is ready to be published.  With that in mind, I’m going to take a break from my blog as well.  Thank you all for your support.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Romance is for Other People Tidbit #38

Hello everyone! Here is Romance is for Other People Tidbit #38:

38. Lydia's dad has a job as a Realtor.

Look for a new tidbit next week!  Here are the last 37 tidbits:
1. I am releasing a novel in 2014.
2. The title is Romance is for Other People.
3. There are four main characters.
4. The first main character is Chris, male, 14 years old.
5. The second main character is Lydia, female, 14 years old.
6. The third main character is Jeremy, male, 16 years old.
7. The fourth main character is Amanda, female, 16 years old.
8.  The format is first person, split between the four main characters.
9.  The title is a quote from the novel.
10.  All the chapter titles are quotes.
11.  Plot summary (View Here)
12.  Genre: Modern Teen Drama-Comedy.  Just to be clear, it is not: Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Drama, Mystery, Western, or Musical.
13.  There will be a dance in chapter 3.  


14. Chapter 1 will be from Chris and Lydia's viewpoint.  Chapter 2 will be from Jeremy and Amanda's viewpoint.
15. Chris and Lydia will be auditioning for a play in Chapter 1.
16. Amanda has a best friend named Katie.
17. Chris and Lydia have not been dancing together before the beginning of the story.
18. Both Jeremy and Amanda play on basketball teams.
19. Chris Character Profile (View Here)
20. Lydia Character Profile (View Here)
21. Jeremy Character Profile (View Here
22. Amanda Character Profile (View Here)
23. Chris' Parents and Lydia's Parents are close friends with each other.
24. There is a fictional movie called Beautiful Disaster 
25.  There is a fictional band called Psycho Boyfriend
26. The main characters attend William Henry Harrison High School.
27. Chris and Lydia live on Hathaway Street
28. The release date is November 15, 2014!
29. Chris and Lydia live about a mile away from their school.
30. The play (that Chris & Lydia are auditioning for in Ch. 1) is A Midsummer Night's Dream.
31. Chris and Lydia's mantra with each other is "Best Friends Forever".
32. Chris and Lydia have known each other since they were three years old.
33. The story starts in late September.
34. Lydia and Chris went to theater camp together.
35. At theater camp, Chris and Lydia had lead roles.
36. The name of the play at theater camp was Romeo and Juliet!
37. The Howards (Chris' family) and the Jamisons (Lydia's family) have a weekly BBQ together.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Comparing Two Classics with Their Remakes

Remakes were given a bad name when so many of them started coming out in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s.  So the directors started giving new names, like reboot and reimagining.  But really, just the same thing was happening, just under a different name.  In any case, sometimes the new films can be as interesting and well acted/directed as the old films.  Let’s take a look at four examples:

In 1961, Walt Disney Pictures released “The Parent Trap,” which was about a Boston Girl (Sharon) and a California Girl (Susan) who meet at a summer camp and find out they’re identical twins (both played by Hayley Mills).  The girls come up with a clever scheme: Sharon will go to California to see her father for the first time, and Susan will go to Boston to see her mother for the first time, and once they find out they’ve been switch, the parents will have to switch them back, and then they’ll have to meet.   But in California, Sharon finds out that her dad is dating a new young woman… The movie is very funny and very clever, though somewhat repetitive (the same tricks the girls use on each other, they use on the woman the father is dating).  There was a short subplot during the camp sequence where the girls went to a dance with the boys from the camp across the lake, which while fun may have distracted from the main plot.  When the mother and the father see each other for the first time, they immediately start fighting, showing how easy it was for them to break up, but making it harder to believe that they could get back together. Then in 1998, Walt Disney Pictures remade The Parent Trap, this time starring a young Lindsay Lohan.  Instead of being in Boston, the production moved the other girl all the way to London.  The new film eliminated the dance element, allowing there to be more time for the girls’ rivalry.  The girls used new tricks against the young woman the father is dating to get her to leave.  Plus, you could feel the connection between the father and mother more strongly in this one; they didn’t start out fighting like in the original.  Overall, I would say that the new Parent Trap has a light lead over the original, though both are very clever and very fun to watch. 
 
In 1965, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s famous stage play was adapted into a movie, starring Julie Andrews.  In the movie, a young nun cannot keep her duties at the Abbey; she keeps escaping to wonder the woods and she can’t be silent and reverent.  The abbess decides to send her away to be governess of seven children for Captain Georg Von Trapp.   In 2013, the musical was remade as a live version for television.  The live version used the older stage script (or book).  Among the changes: some of the songs were not in the place they were in the movie: “My Favorite Things” was sung by the Abbess and Maria together before she left, and instead “The Lonely Goatherd” was sung during the thunderstorm.  In the movie, “The Lonely Goatherd” was presented as a puppet play that children presented to the Captain and the Baroness.  The biggest difference between the stage play and the movie is that the Captain, the Baroness and Max form a subplot within the play, as they deal with the imminent Nazi threat.  The Baroness is convinced that there is “No Way to Stop It” so why worry about joining the Nazi army, the Captain’s love for his country is too strong, and he refuses to join the army.  Elsa subsequently breaks off the engagement.  The updated live version of the stage play while different, was very good, but could not compare with the classic 1965 movie. 


The first two movies were definitely elements of their time: the first The Parent Trap of the 1960s and the second parent trap of the 1990s.  However, both versions of the Sound of Music are set in a specific time and place (Austria in the late 1930s), and there for have more specifics to be compared.  I still believe all four are worthy of seeking out, and I encourage you to watch each one.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Romance is for Other People Tidbit #37

Hello everyone! Here is Romance is for Other People Tidbit #37:

37. The Howards (Chris' family) and the Jamisons (Lydia's family) have a weekly BBQ together.

Look for a new tidbit next week!  Here are the last 36 tidbits:
1. I am releasing a novel in 2014.
2. The title is Romance is for Other People.
3. There are four main characters.
4. The first main character is Chris, male, 14 years old.
5. The second main character is Lydia, female, 14 years old.
6. The third main character is Jeremy, male, 16 years old.
7. The fourth main character is Amanda, female, 16 years old.
8.  The format is first person, split between the four main characters.
9.  The title is a quote from the novel.
10.  All the chapter titles are quotes.
11.  Plot summary (View Here)
12.  Genre: Modern Teen Drama-Comedy.  Just to be clear, it is not: Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Drama, Mystery, Western, or Musical.
13.  There will be a dance in chapter 3.  
14. Chapter 1 will be from Chris and Lydia's viewpoint.  Chapter 2 will be from Jeremy and Amanda's viewpoint.
15. Chris and Lydia will be auditioning for a play in Chapter 1.
16. Amanda has a best friend named Katie.
17. Chris and Lydia have not been dancing together before the beginning of the story.
18. Both Jeremy and Amanda play on basketball teams.
19. Chris Character Profile (View Here)
20. Lydia Character Profile (View Here)
21. Jeremy Character Profile (View Here
22. Amanda Character Profile (View Here)
23. Chris' Parents and Lydia's Parents are close friends with each other.
24. There is a fictional movie called Beautiful Disaster 
25.  There is a fictional band called Psycho Boyfriend
26. The main characters attend William Henry Harrison High School.
27. Chris and Lydia live on Hathaway Street
28. The release date is November 15, 2014!
29. Chris and Lydia live about a mile away from their school.
30. The play (that Chris & Lydia are auditioning for in Ch. 1) is A Midsummer Night's Dream.
31. Chris and Lydia's mantra with each other is "Best Friends Forever".
32. Chris and Lydia have known each other since they were three years old.
33. The story starts in late September.
34. Lydia and Chris went to theater camp together.
35. At theater camp, Chris and Lydia had lead roles.
36. The name of the play at theater camp was Romeo and Juliet!

Friday, September 5, 2014

3 Action Heroes in Movies with Kids

Most action heroes start out in big action movies with no kids or maybe one in a small supporting role.  Instead, the big, burly guys go out and shoot things against other big, burly guys.  For example, Arnold Swartzenegger plays an action hero in Conan the Barbarian (1982), The Terminator (1984) and Commando (1985).  Next, we see Vin Diesel in movies like The Fast and the Furious (2001) and the Chronicles of Riddick (2004).  Finally, there is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who was originally known as a WWE wrestler and for movies like The Mummy Returns (2001) and The Scorpion King (2002).  All of these guys then played comedies in which their big, burly personality juts up against the personalities of a kid or kids, in a kind of “fish out of water” experience.

Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in Kindergarten Cop (1990), which was about a cop and her female partner going to an elementary school to find the wife and kindergarten-aged son of a drug dealer.  Schwarzenegger plays John Kimble and Pamela Reed plays Phoebe O’Hara.  The fun begins when Phoebe, who was a former teacher herself and originally stated to take over, becomes sick and Kimble has to take over himself.  While there is still a lot of violence (so much it earned a PG-13 rating), nevertheless, much of the comedy comes from Schwarzenegger struggling and finally using his own tough method to deal with the kindergartners.  He does eventually find the wife and son, but not before drug dealer is set free due to lack of evidence.  The drug dealer then sets his sights on finding his missing son…

In The Pacifier (2005), Vin Diesel is Lieutenant Shane Wolf, a Navy SEAL who was originally assigned to protect Howard Plummer against some Serbian rebels.  However, they are caught and Howard is killed and Shane is injured. To finish the job, Shane is assigned to protect Howards’ wife and family, and look for a secret project that Howard was working on called GHOST, while his commanding officer, Bill Fawcett helps Howard’s wife figure out the password to something in safety deposit box.  Julie Plummer (Faith Ford) has five kids: teenagers Zoe and Seth, 9 year old Lulu, toddler Peter, and baby Tyler.  At first, Shane struggles to deal with the five kids, especially the older teenagers.  He also gets into a few humorous situations with Lulu’s Girl Scout troop, who has a rivalry with the local Boy Scout troop.  And of course he has to deal with the toddler and the baby.  As it turns out, GHOST is located underneath the house, and two ninjas, who are actually two Korean spies, try to get to the secret plans.  It’s up to Shane Wolf to save the day.  There is violence in this movie, but it is more silly and in keeping with other family movies.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars in this Disney movie, called The Game Plan (2007).  In The Game Plan, Johnson plays Joe Kingman, who is a football star for the Boston Rebels.  He scores a game-winning touchdown but ignores an open receiver.  The next day, an 8 year old girl named Payton arrives on his doorstep, claiming to be her daughter.  After a few comedic complications, the pair starts to bond when Payton comes to his defense at a press conference and he in turn takes her to ballet practice.  With the help of the Ballet teacher, Joe starts to realize that ballet has as much athletic ability as football.  Joe and Payton have fun together on road games, but then complications arise because Joe finds out that her mother didn't know she left, and that Payton consumed nuts, to which she is allergic.  While Payton is ok, Joe finds out that Payton’s mother is actually dead, and she was staying with her mother’s sister.  Payton is taken home and Joe must face the championship game alone…until Payton shows up and tells him to never give up.  While it does contain no violence (except football tackling), it has some mild innuendos.


All three movies show the main character changed positively by his experience with kids.  In the first two movies, he changes his job to work with kids, and in the third, his priorities change from all about himself to all about his daughter.  Check out these movies of action heroes with kids.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Romance is for Other People Tidbit #36

Hello everyone! Here is Romance is for Other People Tidbit #36:

36. The name of the play at theater camp was Romeo and Juliet!

Look for a new tidbit next week!  Here are the last 35 tidbits:
1. I am releasing a novel in 2014.
2. The title is Romance is for Other People.
3. There are four main characters.
4. The first main character is Chris, male, 14 years old.
5. The second main character is Lydia, female, 14 years old.
6. The third main character is Jeremy, male, 16 years old.
7. The fourth main character is Amanda, female, 16 years old.
8.  The format is first person, split between the four main characters.
9.  The title is a quote from the novel.
10.  All the chapter titles are quotes.
11.  Plot summary (View Here)
12.  Genre: Modern Teen Drama-Comedy.  Just to be clear, it is not: Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Drama, Mystery, Western, or Musical.
13.  There will be a dance in chapter 3.  
14. Chapter 1 will be from Chris and Lydia's viewpoint.  Chapter 2 will be from Jeremy and Amanda's viewpoint.
15. Chris and Lydia will be auditioning for a play in Chapter 1.
16. Amanda has a best friend named Katie.
17. Chris and Lydia have not been dancing together before the beginning of the story.
18. Both Jeremy and Amanda play on basketball teams.
19. Chris Character Profile (View Here)
20. Lydia Character Profile (View Here)
21. Jeremy Character Profile (View Here
22. Amanda Character Profile (View Here)
23. Chris' Parents and Lydia's Parents are close friends with each other.
24. There is a fictional movie called Beautiful Disaster 
25.  There is a fictional band called Psycho Boyfriend
26. The main characters attend William Henry Harrison High School.
27. Chris and Lydia live on Hathaway Street
28. The release date is November 15, 2014!
29. Chris and Lydia live about a mile away from their school.
30. The play (that Chris & Lydia are auditioning for in Ch. 1) is A Midsummer Night's Dream.
31. Chris and Lydia's mantra with each other is "Best Friends Forever".
32. Chris and Lydia have known each other since they were three years old.
33. The story starts in late September.
34. Lydia and Chris went to theater camp together.
35. At theater camp, Chris and Lydia had lead roles.