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Archive for February, 2011

Just in time for the Academy Awards, trivia.  The Academy Awards, which began in 1925, was first broadcast on television on March 19, 1953.  It was hosted by Bob Hope.  The official name of the statuette is the Academy Award of Merit.  The nickname, Oscar, is of unclear origin, but it is believed that the name began when Margaret Herrick, a librarian at the Academy, saw the statuette and stated that it looked like her Uncle Oscar.  Oscar became used as a nickname in the 1930’s and was officially used by the Academy in 1939.  The statuette stands 13 ½ inches high and weights 8 ½ pounds.  It is a knight, holding a sword, standing on a reel of film with five spokes.  The five spokes represent the five original branches of the Academy – actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers.  Most people remember the streaker on April 2, 1974.  It was Robert Opal who ran across the stage, naked and flashing the peace sign.  David Nivens was on stage introducing the nominees for Best Picture when Opal ran behind him.  Thinking on his feet, Nivens said, “The only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping… And showing his shortcomings.”  Other unusual trivia:  Oscar Hammerstein II was the only man named Oscar to ever win an award.  He won for his song, The Last Time I Saw Paris in the movie Lady Be Good in 1941.  Midnight Cowboy, the 1969 winner for Best Picture is the only X-rated movie to ever win an Oscar.  And James Dean is the only actor to be nominated posthumously twice, for East of Eden in 1955 and Giant in 1956.  Gone With The Wind was the first movie filmed in color to win an Oscar.  Ethel and Lionel Barrymore are the only brother and sister to win Academy Awards for acting.  Lionel won an Oscar for Best Actor in A Free Soul in 1931.  Ethel won Best Actress in None But The Lonely Heart in 1944.  And, Holly Hunter won a Best Actress Oscar for a portrayal of the mute Ada McGrath in The Piano (1993) without speaking a word on film.  Just a little trivia for your Oscar viewing pleasure!

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Another rewrite!  Yippee!  My book went to typesetting and then it hit a wall.  A new editor into the process who began pointing out all kinds of things I should have already known.  She schooled me but good.  That’s a good thing, though.  It’s all a learning process and I just had a week long seminar overnight.  I spent over eight hours today working through the first forty-eight pages again.  And when I’m done with this process, I’ll start over.  There are three or four issues to clear up and I’m going through the book separately for each one.  One thing I’ve learned for certain is that a professional editor is necessary – mandatory.  The editors I’ve had working on the book have been GREAT, but they weren’t professional.  I’ve learned more about writing from this one person in an hour-long phone conversation than I’ve ever known.  Editors are people who know EVERYTHING about writing.  Most aren’t writers themselves, which surprises me.  I’d think they’d be master writers, already knowing all the dos and don’ts that make a manuscript great.  I suppose that they’re better teachers, carefully leading us through the mine field that is our messed up work.  And it does take care.  It’s not easy to tell someone who has created something how it’s wrong and how to make it right.  It’s not easy to hear that something I’ve created has monumental errors in it.  But after the initial shock, I knew it was better to have the critique and make the necessary changes before publishing my novel.  I certainly want it to be the best book it can be.  And I’ll work long and hard to make it so.  A big thanks goes out to all of my editors, professional and nonprofessional alike.

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