Friday, 26 September 2014

Jack be nimble, Jack be — everything!

Have you ever noticed how many nursery rhymes, fairy tales and fables are about a boy named…JACK.

Think about it.

There’s Little Jack Horner. Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack and Jill. Jack is even the name of the character in the next Superman Duffy book—Beneath the SOIL. (Coming this October!)

What’s with all the Jack’s?

I started thinking about it, and maybe it’s just that writers have a hard time coming up with original names for characters.

When I’m writing a story, I can go through about a dozen names before one actually sticks. Why? Well, the character’s name has to suit his personality, right? (Come on, doesn’t Jack sound like a mischievous little guy? Hint: In Beneath the SOIL, he is!)

But let’s say you don’t want to name your character Jack.

Here are a few tips from writers I dug up about naming characters. Maybe they’ll come in handy for you:

1. Make the name age-appropriate. Sure, Rose was a popular name a long time ago, but is it still popular? And is it a good name for a 10-year-old girl?
2. Science fiction names don’t have to sound alien. Same goes for fantasy—as much as I admire G.R.R. Martin’s imagination, Khaleesi is a pretty weird name. Sometimes, if I can’t pronounce a name in a book I’m reading, I make up my own!
3. Steer clear of over-used names. Like, Jack, I guess. Ha ha.
4. Watch out for names of well-known personalities—Oprah, Hannibal, Romeo.
5. Have fun!

Hm. Come to think of it, it looks like I have some character names to think about. I’m writing about a young boy who likes running, going on adventures, and hanging out with Grandpa at the farm. Got any name suggestions for me? <grin>

Okay, gotta jet!

— Chase "Superman" Duffy

Friday, 19 September 2014

Hanging with some cool "city slickers"

Today was the best! I hung out in Stony Plain with about 1100 kids from the Edmonton-area to learn all about agriculture and where our food comes from.

Because I grew up around my grandparents’ canola farm, I don’t fall for all of the myths—like, I don’t believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows. (You don’t either, right?) But that doesn’t mean I know everything.

We spent half of the day on a farm, and the other half visiting displays set up by the various commodity groups from around the province. 

The Alberta Canola Producers’ Commission even gave away SIGNED copies of Amelia “Xerces” Duffy, the fifth book in the adventure comic book series inspired by…me. <grin>

I talked to quite a few of my “city slicker” friends afterwards, and we all agree—there is SO MUCH to learn about agriculture and food. Pretty exciting stuff. I tried to take pictures—but the whole day was JAM PACKED. Before I knew it, it was time to go home.
Hey! Were you at City Slickers today? Email a picture to and you could win a signed Chase Duffy comic. Cool, huh?

Gotta jet!

— Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 12 September 2014

Everyday sayings inspired by...AESOP?

We’re learning about fables in Language Arts right now — and of course, we’re talking about Aesop. No matter how old (or young) you are, chances are good that you know a few of his stories. Like, The Tortoise and the Hare. (Side note: Cut! To the Chase… the sixth book in the Superman Duffy adventure series is actually a RE-TELLING of this classic story…fun, right?)

Anyway.  Even if you don’t know the specific details about each of Aesop’s fables (other than most of them are about animals), you probably know quite a few of the expressions we use EVERY DAY that were inspired by his writing.

“Slow and steady wins the race” is obviously from The Tortoise and the Hare. But, did you know that “Honesty is the best policy” is from Aesop’s tale Mercury and the Woodsman or that “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill” is from the story, The Mountain in Labor?

My mom always tells me not to “count my chickens before they hatch” — she probably doesn’t even realize that expression comes from Aesop’s fable, The Milkmaid and her Pail. And sometimes, I forget to “look before you leap” which is, you guessed it, another expression from an Aesop story, The Fox and the Goat.

“Birds of a feather flock together” comes from the Farmer and the Stork and to have “sour grapes” was first used in Aesop’s tale, The Fox and the Grapes. Who knew?

Wow. Aesop really did write a lot about animals! I guess it comes down to “quality, not quantity” — <grin> see what I did there? That saying is from Aesop’s tale, The Lioness and the Vixen.

Gotta jet! Looks like I’ve got some reading to do!

— Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 5 September 2014

Off to a great start!

School is IN session and so far, I really like my classes and teachers!

I cracked open my first new notebook on Tuesday, and I have even started taking actual notes during class. Maybe that will help with increasing my math mark this year. I think my note taking has improved since last year too. (Even though most of the kids in my class “print” I still like cursive writing…it makes me feel more like a writer. Ha!)

I ran three days this week, but wow, is it ever starting to get chilly. I heard that it even SNOWED last week just west of Calgary. Yikes! I am so not ready for that. In fact, it was such a great summer, I want to hang on to it as long as possible.

Which is why I’m excited to post this great picture from the Tarzwell family. This is my friend Stephanie’s mom, Ludivinia. She hung out with me at the Calgary Stampede this year and sent me this great picture. Cool, right?

To say thanks, I’m sending the Tarzwell family a COMPLETE set of the Chase Superman Duffy comic books, including 5-7-5 Errand Boy, the latest book in the series. Did you take any pictures with me at the Stampede this year? Send them in! Maybe you’ll win something too. <grin>

Gotta jet! Have a GREAT weekend.

— Chase Superman Duffy