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Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Wizarding World: Your Vicarious Experience, Part 2

Last post I started my tour of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Here is the second half.

Rides, Wands, and Hogwarts Castle

Further up the street you find a roller coaster: Flight of the Hippogriff. You heard it was family friendly. This is something everyone in your party can do.

While waiting in line, you find Hagrid's Hut.

And sneak a paparazzi picture of Buckbeak.

You sit and pull down a lap bar...then blast around the track! Family friendly? What was the lady thinking!? You were expecting a Mister Toad's Wild Ride, but you got something a step below Big Thunder Railroad! You scream in surprise and zoom around the track.

Behold! You have finally arrived at Hogwarts! And it's magnificent! The wait for this attraction is always long, because not only do you get to explore the castle, but board a one-of-a-kind ride: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Wizarding World: Your Vicarious Experience

Writerly Adventures

 Ever wanted to go to Harry Potter land in Universal in Orlando, Florida? Or have you already been? This is a very detailed vicarious experience for anyone who wants to go, or, who wants to go back.

Welcome to the World of Harry Potter

Congratulations! You made it to Universal's Islands of Adventure! Unfortunately there are SO many tall trees in Florida that despite your excitement, you can't even get a glimpse of Hogwarts until you've reached this bridge near the back of the park. This is an epic moment. Take a picture.

Travel a little further and you come to another bridge with a better view. This picture sums it all up.

Finally you've made it! Compared to the rest of the park, this section shines. It literally looks like you are stepping into another world.

On your right, you see the scarlet Hogwarts Express. The conductor there is hilarious and makes snide comments about "muggle technology." The train lets out a jet of steam.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Toast to the Closet Writers

Many writers, at some point or another, have been closet writers--they don't tell anyone they write, that they want to write, or that they are actually writing. If you find yourself in this situation, you're normal.

Writing can be very personal, like our story and characters are our own children. Or maybe you're a closet writer because you fear what others will think about you if they saw what you wrote, or because you fear you aren't good enough. Or maybe, you're just not ready to share your work yet.

Some of the best writers have been closet writers, and there are wonderful perks to being one.

So here is a toast to closet writers.

Successful Closet Writers

New York Times bestselling author David Farland admits to being a closet writer as a teenager. He'd hide his manuscript, fearing someone would find it. Now he has over 50 books in print (several of which have won awards), has worked in the movie and video game businesses, and is also a writing instructor.

But there are different levels of being a closet writer. Perhaps you aren't a full-fledged one.

While I don't know if Rowling actually kept the fact she wrote a secret, she kept what she was writing secret. She never even told her mother about Harry Potter. And even after publication, she was still somewhat of a closet writer: she showed no one her manuscripts. The first person to read them was her editor.

The Perks of being a Closet Writer

If you are a closet writer, you have something beautiful.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Good News: You don't have to be Perfect, just Exceptional

Right now I'm reading The Maze Runner by James Dashner, and it's a real pager-turner. The only reason I'm not reading it right now is because I'm reading it with someone, so we have to get our schedules to match up. (I'm definitely writing a review when we're done). 

Dashner has created a thrilling plot that takes advantage of hooks. I love this book's set-up. He captures some great images. But like all books, the writing has some shortcomings. I think I've read the phrase "Thomas was surprised that," and "Thomas felt" once every three pages, and those phrases become trite, drawing too much attention to themselves. It's a minor problem.

Does that mean Dashner is a "bad writer?" No!! His plot, hooks, setting, and dialogue are brilliant. 

He's not perfect. He's exceptional.

If you're a writer, you don't have to be perfect either. You just have to be good enough. Don't let perfection stop you from moving forward or doing what you love. If you want to be published, you only have to be great. If you want to pen a bestseller, you just need to be exceptional.

Even fantastic and bestselling authors have flaws. Ally Condie isn't great with character voice. I don't think Stephenie Meyer can write action scenes. Christopher Paolini wanders in his own world too much, making his pacing wobbly at times, and some of his plot is too cliche. J.K. Rowling isn't that great at writing romance. J. R. R. Tolkien's characters aren't very dimensional. Orson Scott Card mostly "tells" his stories.

Don't wait to be perfect to be a writer. If you are good enough, you'll touch a reader. Don't wait to be perfect to be happy writing.

Like many writers, I really want my novel to succeed, hope it does, big time. But I had to acknowledge that realistically, that might not happen. There are too many factors out of my control.

But then I realized: even if my novel never made it onto a bookshelf, I'd be happier writing than not writing.

This post may not be for you. At least not now. But I think every serious writer, at some point, feels the pressure to be perfect. Please, keep improving. Keep honing your skills. But don't wait on perfection.

Ally Condie has a beautiful, poetic writing style that's so easy to swallow that, at times, it has made me envious. Stephenie Meyer can write about emotion like no other. Christopher Paolini not only has a rich writing style that's vivid and clear, but can render amazing action sequences and chilling horror scenes. J.K. Rowling is a master at sewing her plot together with even the most minuscule, selective details and pulling her readers so deep into her stories that they mourn and laugh vicariously with her characters. J. R. R. Tolkien is quite possibly unmatched in his intricate worldbuilding. Orson Scott Card can capture realistic dialogue.

Imagine how many lives they wouldn't have impacted if they had waited on perfection. They wouldn't have even impacted their own lives. At least not in the same way.

So go write! And if you are writing, keep going! Even if it's only for yourself to begin with.

And please, check out this great, short post about finding your own writing talent from David Farland.

Follower Spotlight

Charlie Puslipher is the author of Zombies at the Door and Crystal Bridge. He is a were-hamster and lemur enthusiast who lives in Saint George, Utah with his lovely wife and neurotic dog. He writes sci-fi and fantasy when he's not obsessing over the coming zombie-pocalypse. His velociraptor impression is worth seeing. It's probably the coolest thing about him. You can follow Charlie on Twitter or Facebook.