I know this looks crappy, but try to restrain your hurt, disappointed glares and let me explain. I'm halfway through with the sequal to The Runaway Apprentice (I'm calling it 'The Legend of Dragonsire' because that title makes me feel all tingly) and since my main characters are going to be doing a lot of travelling, I decided to make a rough map. 'Rough' as in, 'work in progress' - its a tool that keeps me from making mistakes like saying it took them four days to travel to Gallowhaven, and then in the next chapter it takes them two to travel back. Anyhow, here's the reason I've even brought it up. I'm trying to base this series on Celtic mythology as much as possible and during my research, I happened across a relief map of Ireland. Guess what? If you look at the northwest quarter of the island, there are all these pointy things along the top and the left side. Then there's this bay-like thing along the bottom with a series of waterways that leads roughly to the north. In the center and on the right, flat open land. Quite a coincidence, eh? Of course there's no 'Great Mist Canyon' in Ireland, but I'm not really trying to steal their layout anyway - its entirely too small. I do get this paranoid feeling that the final map that will be printed inside the book cover is going to be somehow altered by my subconscious - dear God, please don't let me plagairize Ireland.
In somewhat related news, now that my second and third Krimsonspire novels are completely plotted, I've allowed myself to watch the Harry Potter movies. Not to offend JK Rawling, but I honestly think I like my own stories better, and that's exciting. I thought Harry woul be so awesome that I'd have to go and delete hundreds of pages of drivel. I did enjoy them though. If I could give Ms. Rawling some advice, I'd suggest that she give her main character more of a personality. Harry's too passive. He's a good kid, don't get me wrong, but the stories are too much about what happens to him, and not enough about his thoughts and reactions to it. He could use a few quirks. Of course, who am I to be giving advice? I'm not even published yet. And when I am, people are going to look at my books on the shelf and think, "Oh great, a series about a young sorcerer's apprentice - that's original." Truthfully, I originally wrote a seven-hundred page story with pretty much the same characters and similar plot roundabout ten years ago. I swear. I'm looking at it on my shelf right now. I mean 'right now' (I can type without looking at the keyboard). That book sucks, though, so lets never mention it again. Anyway, I said all that to say this: I'm relieved to find that there are almost no similarities between my story and the really good one that's sold tens of millions of copies and re-invigorated an entire genre. Isn't that grand?
In other related news, but less relevent than the previous 'somewhat related news', I haven't heard back from any of the contests or the one sainted agent that's so far asked for a complete manuscript. None of the contests get judged until a few months from now, and the agent's asked for up to six months to make her decision. So, I'm planning on warming up this Michigan winter with big stacks of prizemoney and accolades, a few publishing credits and then topping it off by signing a contract with a real live literary agent. And if not this winter, then next summer, and if not next summer, then next winter, and so on and so on cuz I ain't givin up folks. And that's a fact.
Of course, I'm not about to quit my job either.