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Friday, August 22, 2008

Adventure Thursday - Cape May

Can you hear it? Can you hear the sound of these baby clams all clamoring to dig their way back into the cool, moist sand? ... the sound the sea makes when it passes over the clams and sand? ...the sound the water makes as it finds air holes and seeps in deep below? Ahhhh... there's no feeling like being at the beach, hearing the sounds of the sea...



Some of my favorite things about the beach...


Toes in sand...


The sound of the rolling waves, the feel and smell of the ocean breezes...


And sunsets reflecting in the
ocean's surface.






Now onto a different topic...

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE (book 6)
OK, I finished reading this book while at the beach. I thought this was my absolute favorite. Now, I'm not so sure. I thought perhaps because it was the only book in the series I had read before seeing the movie and so I was able to make predictions and feel that joy of reading. To me, reading is an action-packed verb, not a passive one. It's not just sitting back and scanning your eyes over words. It's thought-provoking, brain stimulating, ponder-inducing... At least it should be.

While reading, I stuck notes in pages making my predictions about things foreshadowed, SURE I would predict the ending correctly. I felt smart.
Here's what I learned...
  1. You CANNOT predict the ending of any JK Rowling books. My prediction was dead-on. But what JK does is... well, something like muggle magic. She waves her left hand saying, look here, look here, all the while her right hand is doing something completely different and unnoticed by the reader.
  2. While, as a writer, you want your reader to be able to make predictions and feel successful about them, you don't want them to feel, either a.) that the prediction was too easy or b.) that it was impossible to figure it out. There is a fine line here between letting your readers down on either side of this spectrum.

I felt let down.

I am an adult and feel I am astute at making predictions in books and movies. There are very few that I have not been able to figure out. It is like a brain massage for me. I don't want it to be insultingly easy. I want to put pieces together and remember facts and feel challenged. And at the end, I want a pay-off for my dedication and hard work. I want to feel successful. Maybe there will be one or two things that will surprise me, but complete shock! I actually don't like it. It makes me feel like the writer just wrote that ending, was holding out information, and did that only to shock the reader at the end.

For my erroneous prediction, highlight this paragraph (I learned this from Beth) This IS a spoiler to book six... I thought Malfoy was bitten by Greyback Fenrir - the werewolf responsible for turning Lupin into a werewolf. She kept making reference to him and how he liked to bite boys when they were young. It seemed too obvious that Malfoy really had the Dark Mark on his arm and that his master really was Voldemort. Also, it seemed too obvious that Snape was truly on the Dark Lord's side. So it's not so much that I didn't see that coming, as I guess, it was too obvious...

You CANNOT predict endings with JK Rowling. Her endings are so far out of left field, there is no way you can figure it out. And I think she purposefully throws you off by making you think it is one thing and then you find out it is something completely different. For me, I didn't feel like, "OHHHHH! That's what it was!" I felt like. "Now how was anyone supposed to figure that out?" I don't believe she seeds her stories at all and I think she does this on purpose so you can be shocked at her endings. It goes against EVERYTHING we are told by editors. We are told... make sure you properly seed and foreshadow. JK obviously does not do that.

I've been told I will NEVER be able to figure out book seven. At first I felt challenged by those who believed, finally a book will stump me. But now I feel like, yeah, I probably won't because JK doesn't play by the same rules the rest of us play by. Which makes you wonder, doesn't it??? After all she does live in a castle in Scotland. So, she broke all the rules of writing and there she sits on her throne for doing so.

And my last topic of the day...

Danette Haworth's Violet Raines Almost got Struck by Lightning. I had heard it was out in bookstores and so I needed to buy HP Deathly Hallows, so I couldn't wait to see Danette's book there too.

I ran to my local Barnes and Noble and searched the shelves. I couldn't find it. Then I heard, "Look Mommy, isn't that it?" And there it was... on a DISPLAY with other newly released books... FACE OUT! That's right folks, FACE OUT. I took pictures but they all came out dark and blurry :(

Those of you who are not writers, don't understand, face out is a big deal. I've spoken to the lady who runs the children's section of our Borders about this very topic. She told me she is given strict orders how to present books. So, obviously, Borders in NJ wanted it FACE OUT, Danette! I snatched up my copy and the Deathly Hallows and ran to the check out counter wanting to yell to everyone, I "know" this writer. She is one of my blogger friends. You should buy her book. Buy three while you're at it.

Meanwhile, my girls and I put names in a hat to see who got to read it first. I lost. I'll have to move on to Deathly Hallows for now... Congrats Danette! (from Rowling to Haworth...) We are all so proud of you and vicariously living through you at the same time!

Enjoy what's left of summer!

19 comments:

Amy Tate said...

Oh thanks for blogging about it - I'll have to pick up a copy...or two! I love your photographs of the beach!!!! I'm a beach comber too. Glad you had a safe and happy trip.

Danette Haworth said...

Sheri!
Your post has made my day (and brought tears to my eyes). Thanks so much for your enthusiasm and for blogging about Violet. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed sharing your report on FACE OUT! with my husband and my mom.

Sheri said...

Yes Amy, run, don't walk. If you read Danette's blogs, they can be very funny, so I am SURE her novel will be a hoot!

Danette, my pleasure! The next time I go to Borders, I will bring my camera so I can take a better picture for you.

Angie Frazier said...

Sheri, I sometimes felt the same way with the big shockers in JK Rowling's books. At times I felt the whole "Now how was anyone supposed to figure THAT out?!" thing. But she's still a genius :-)

And my Violet Raines just got shipping from Amazon!! Yay! My girls aren't old enough to read yet, so HA! I get it all to myself :-)

JeanieW said...

Sheri,

Please hurry up and read Deathly Hallows. I'm eager to see if you still feel the same way about Rowling once you've seen how the whole series pans out.

PJ Hoover said...

Great post, Sheri! I love your analysis on JKR.
And face out is a huge deal! Congrats to Danette! And you are so sweet to mention it!

Sheri said...

Angie, I'm glad I am not the only one who has had that feeling about JKR. And yes, she is still master story weaver, even though her books are unpredictable.

Welcome Jeannie W. It will take me a while to read, but believe me, I will be sure to post about it.

Thanks PJ. So now I suppose we each need to find a rule to break and break it like no one's business and we'll be laughing all the way to the bank with JKR too! Oh and as soon as your book is on the bookshelf, I'll be running to buy it too! (And if it's not face out for some reason, it will be after I leave!)

ChrisEldin said...

Beautiful photos---looks like a well-needed and deserved respite!

Ahh--Cannot wait to read Danette's book!!! The cover is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen.

HP--I haven't read any. Thought that would be my summer challenge, but didn't work out. Am starting with HP1 next week when kids are in school...
:-)

Sheri said...

I think I like HP 1 the most. I thought it would be six, but now I am back to book 1.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Here's what I think about JKR: Very good character development - that is: board games, lego set, and much much more. Here's what I've learned: You want good character development from the general public, get a marketing/advertising firm to make everyone interested enough to buy your books.

Angela said...

Yay for Danette and Violet!t

beth said...

I can only like HP6 when I think of it as a "bridge" between HP5 and 7. HP6 is my least fav one of all.

I like your analysis. I usually prefer NOT to figure out the end (if I figure out the end, I dislike the book, usually)...but I do like to have a AHA! moment at the end where I realize what the clues were and how I could have figured them out. In all reality, some of the "clues" from HP6 are revealed in HP7, so that might make you feel better (although not the werewolf thing...that is sadly dropped, despite the time she did put into building the idea up).

HP7 is OK...I still think HP3 is her best. That was one I NEVER would have figured out the end to, but all the clues were there (like the 6th Sense...)

Sheri said...

JR - I agree, a character that is marketable is the key to finacnial success. My screenplay writing teacher's first question was always, is it marketable. At first I hated that question, but then I understood... it is nice to write for yourself, but at some point, it would be even nicer to be paid!

Ditto, Angela!

Beth - I think the difference between 6th Sense and any HP book is at the end of the 6th sense you feel like, YES! All the signs were there! How genius! And then when you watch it over again, you wonder how you never saw it to begin with. BTW when I saw the 6th sense, in that early scene where Bruce Willis is shot, I whispered to my husband - Oh he's dead, there's no way. And then when they had dinner "together" for their anniversary and she didn't seem to hear him, I whispered, see. he's a ghost. And my husband kept shushing me telling me I was wrong. It's just that JKR throws all these hints that never pay off and then the ending is so convoluted, you could NEVER have figured it out if you tried.

I do have my theories for how I think the whole series will end, but I will tell you what they are after I finish HP 7 and see how far off I am.

keri mikulski :) said...

Love the pics. :) Home sweet home. :) I'm glad you enjoyed Cape May.

Congrats, Danette! What a nice post, Sheri. ;)

Sheri said...

Thanks Keri

Sarah Hina said...

I loved the beach photos, and your descriptions! You evoked the roar of the ocean in my ears... :)

I'm in the middle of HP3. I think this one has really gripped me more than the first two. But I'm sorry you felt betrayed! That always sucks to feel let down, especially when you're so engrossed in a series.

Hopefully, the Deathly Hallows will redeem Rowling in your eyes! :)

(Sorry I haven't been around as much. I'm getting my butt in gear...)

Sheri said...

Hey Sarah! So glad to see you.

I haven't lost my love of JKR. I guess I just wish it had made good on some of the things foreshadowed. I still love her!

So far book seven is a bit slow. I am on page 80 or so

Rebecca said...

I love the beach. It's been many years since I've been to the ocean, but I enjoy a lake as often as I can. One time last summer we witnessed little soft shell turtles scrabbling out of the sand and into the waves. It was so neat. Alas, no camera.

Concerning Harry Potter, I've only read the first one, and I enjoyed it, but I just wasn't blown away like so many other people. Maybe it's my tendency to rebell against whatever is all the rage. Most of my favorite books are nowhere near as popular as Harry Potter.

Sheri said...

Becky, I couldn't imagine a life w/o the beach. It is so rejuvenating! That is so neat about the turtles. We don't see things like that in NJ beaches!

I know what you mean about not normally liking what's trendy. My favorite children's author, as I know we've spoken about, is Sharon Creech. And, I know we've also shared, how another all-time favorite book of mine is Out of the Dust. Most people have never heard of either one. I also can't imagine a life w/o SC or OotDust either!

“Personal limitation exists only in our ideas of who we are. Give up all notions of who you are and your limitations will vanish.”

- Anonymous