Darth Mickey, Goofy Skywalker, and Donald Solo

I’m sure by now everyone’s heard about Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise.  But what can we expect?  Many fans are undoubtedly panicking, imagining Star Wars movies being filled with songs, being dumbed down and kidified.  Well, that probably wouldn’t be a good idea, would it?

From what I’ve heard, Disney isn’t going to take control of how the movies are written, but they will be based on George Lucas’ original plans for Star Wars.  He did plan for 12 episodes originally, and only the first 6 were made.  Star Wars VII is slated for a 2015 premiere.  It seems that it’ll follow Luke Skywalker after the events of Return of the Jedi.  I guess this means more Luke, Leah, and Han?

When the Star Trek movie series was rebooted, I was very skeptical.  I’m a big Star Trek fan, and I didn’t want the canon to be messed with.  Well, they did mess with it, but at the same time, made it very clear that this is merely an alternate timeline.  The original timeline is still safe!  I do have to admit that it was a pretty good movie.  But what does this have to do with the new Star Wars movies?  Not so much, other than possibly soothing my skepticism.  While J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek vision is a bit different than the original, the new Star Wars movies will be produced by Disney, but Lucas will remain an adviser.  It’s a continuation, not a reboot, as well.

For big Star Wars fans, I’m sure there are many who are very worried about what will become of the franchise.  I’m a fan of Star Wars, but I’m very interested in seeing how the movies turn out.  It’s kind of exciting.  But all is not lost if they’re terrible.  We can still enjoy the original Star Wars movies and ignore the rest!

What do you think?  Are you excited for the new movies, or do you wish Disney wasn’t involved?

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A dinosaur museum near my hometown? Great!

Near my hometown of Beaverlodge in Alberta, Canada, there’s going to be a new dinosaur museum opening in July.  Pipestone Creek has been the location of numerous Pachyrhinosaurus discoveries near Grande Prairie, Alberta.  It’s finally getting its own museum!

The museum will be called the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, named after the famous palaeontologist, Philip Currie.  Currie helped found the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, which is one of the hottest dinosaur fossil regions in the world.  The Royal Tyrrell Museum is one of my favourite museums, and it has the best dinosaur fossil collection I’ve ever seen.

Oh yeah, Philip Currie just received a lifetime achievement award from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.  Great honour for a great scientist!

Editing is very important

After reading some eBooks, I have come to a conclusion.  Many independent authors don’t edit very well.  My guess is that they edit their own books, missing the mistakes that they make.

The simplest mistakes are often confusing similar words, such as their, there, and they’re; elude and allude; affect and effect.  I could go on.  Having someone who’s decent with spelling and grammar read it would get many of the mistakes.

But sometimes it’s the actual formatting and style. I have read some books in which the authors seem to have no idea how to format dialogue well.  One book has improper punctuation and has dialogue of several people in the same paragraph.  For example:

“I’m tired of grammar mistakes.” he said.

should be

“I’m tired of grammar mistakes,” he said.

Did you notice the difference?  The period inside the quote should be a comma if the sentence continues outside the quotation marks.  But it continues on after that with another line of dialogue from another character.  This is how it may look:

“I’m not doing dialogue correctly.” said John. “I know.” said Bob. “This is very confusing to read.” he replied. “Sometimes I have no idea if the same person is just continuing to talk or another person is talking.” said Jane.

Please put line breaks at the end of each line of dialogue.  It keeps it neat and tidy.  You can understand who is speaking, when they finish, and when the next person starts.  It’s so much easier to read!

These problems could even be resolved by using a critique group.  There are people in those groups who are quite strict.  I like Critique Circle, which is an online critiquing group, so you can get a variety of opinions on various aspects, such as style, grammar, formatting, and so on.  But it’s really up to you if you want to use a critiquing group.  Some don’t.  I do.  However, they cannot replace a proper editor.  Those cost money, and I understand that indie authors may not have the money for it.  I know how that feels. But just get someone you know that can be strict to read over your book and do some serious editing.  At least until you can afford an actual editor.  It may not be perfect, but it can definitely improve your readers’ experience.

Comments or questions are welcome and encouraged.

Book Review – Voidhawk

Voidhawk by Jason Halstead is the first novel I read with my Kindle app on my iPhone.  I’m not used to reading eBooks, but I found that there were some formatting problems.  That may be the fault of the app or it may not have been edited or formatted properly.  However, this will not affect my review.

This was both a very interesting book and a very unusual book.  It was interesting because of the setting.  It’s quite unique.  Halstead created a universe in which traditional fantasy races traveled in wooden boats in the Void.  The Void is their word for space.  So, this was fantasy in space!  It is in no way science fiction.  The only thing that separates it from the usual earthbound fantasy is the fact that it is in space.  I really enjoyed how he set it up with planets being the unusual locations for people to go, while most were in the Void in vast artificial settlements and on asteroids.  These places had their own atmospheres.  In fact, every ship had its own atmosphere and gravity plane.

What I found unusual is how its very episodic.  It doesn’t seem to have a single storyline, unless you count the central romance or the characters’ increasing familiarity with each other.  There are many smaller adventures, mostly in life or death situations.  But that doesn’t mean it’s a serious book.  I found it filled with humour.  Some of it was a bit childish and unnatural.  I couldn’t put my finger on it until later in the book when I realised that the humour was quite similar to that of Japanese animation.  Male characters tend to be very embarrassed by female nudity.  While they seem to be adults, they behave like awkward teenagers who have never seen a nude woman.  And yes, there is plenty of nudity and adult humour in this book. It’s not for kids.

The characters were an interesting bunch.  Dexter Silvercloud is the Captain. He’s daring, impulsive, occasionally responsible, and seems to have the most internal conflict.  Kragor is the dwarf first mate who never seems to be serious. A lot of humour comes from him.  He’s a decent character that I liked.  Jenna is the elf. At first, headstrong and stubborn, but she shows the greatest development.  Bekka is the half-elven pilot, and I didn’t find her character to be very deep.  Other characters come in to join the crew, such as Jodyne, Rosh, Bailynn, Keshira, Xander, Willa, and Logan.  My main difficulty with the characters is how they changed emotions suddenly and irrationally.  They didn’t seem very natural.  I don’t know if Halstead noticed this, but every character “chuckled” all the time. That word was overused.

I believe this is his debut book, so his style probably hadn’t been firmly established yet.  But despite the problems I saw, it was a fun read.  It has good entertainment value, but don’t expect to find a deep story.  I’m looking forward to reading the second book in this series, though.

I will give this 3 stars.  It’s not amazing, but it is a decent first book. Recommended to those who enjoy some humour mixed in with their fantasy. Also recommended to those who like unique settings.

NaNoWriMo? NoNaNoWriMo.

Last year, I attempted to participate in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, which is held every year during November.  30 days to write a 50,000 word novel.  I got to somewhere around 1,800 words when I realised how little time I had last November.  I didn’t feel adequately prepared, and I didn’t have enough time to devote to it.  With a pregnant wife, inability to spend more than 30 minutes at a time writing, and general nighttime tiredness, I couldn’t get it done. I gave up.  I wanted to do it at my own pace.

This year, I’m not even trying NaNoWriMo.  I have something in the works, but it’s not a novel.  I’d prefer to spend my time with that instead of a mad dash to finish a novel.  Maybe next year!

So, who’s participating this year?

Reviewing more than just books and TV?

While books will be the main thing I’m reviewing, as well as a limited number of science fiction TV series and movies, I’m going to start reviewing something completely unrelated.  I’m going to start reviewing the food I eat at restaurants.  That’s right, I’m going to be one of those annoying people who takes a picture of their food and posts it online.  But I’m not just posting the pictures, I’m also saying what I felt about it.  No one is immune!  Even McDonald’s will get reviewed!

Looking forward to it?

Revisiting the short story debate

Last night, I posted about whether I should write a novel or have three separate short stories.  After 24 hours of sleep, work, and thought, I may have come to a decision.

The first short story, not one of the three, will be published first.  Later, the other three will be published in one book.  It will not be a standard novel, though.  They will be three separate stories, though they are linked.  Each subsequent story is a result of the previous story.  They are self-contained stories, so it’ll be like a single volume trilogy of short stories.

This is how the plan stands for now.  I can’t guarantee that it won’t change.  I may start writing it and feel that it should be a novel.  It all depends on how the writing goes.

The official blog of Jay Dee Archer. Exploring new worlds, real and fictional.