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Archive for April, 2014

Ever pick up a book and find several pages at the beginning listing all the characters? Ever read a book and find yourself lost because you can’t keep up with the characters?
I’m editing a manuscript, getting it ready to be critiqued. As I’m editing, I’m wondering if, perhaps, I have too many characters. There’s a group of kids doing a school project, that’s seven. The main character’s brother and the bus driver. That makes nine characters who are always around and then you have those who go in and out, the moms and dads and teachers.
Thinking I might need to trim the characters, I kept track of the number of ‘main’ characters in the last books I’ve read. I won’t count the Stephen King I’m currently reading (The Stand). The Water Castle had eight. The one before that, The Truth About Truman Middle School,had about seven.
So, is nine too many?
I think it all depends on how they are written. If a character isn’t well developed then no one is going to want to keep track of them and I think that’s the case with the manuscript I’m editing. I’ve got a character who is just ‘there’. Maybe if I combine this one with another weak character, I’d have a better character? If i
In the story I have three main characters, four if you count the younger brother who gets ensnared in the project. The bus driver is important because he holds the answers to what’s going on. Then you have Bobby the jerk. Need him. Whiney Ivy has to stay because she adds humor. And, to tell the truth, Patrick is just there. Bye, Patrick. You weren’t vital to the project anyway.
I’ll try this. If it’ll make it easier for me, it’ll make it easier for the reader.

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I don’t really have a topic today, probably because I have a bad cold and can’t, don’t, want to think much. I got the cold from my sixth graders. Was fine when I woke up, but midday Thursday I had a sore throat. And what a time to get it, right before Spring Break. On the plus side, I won’t have to take off work. When I get a cold, I get a doozy of one.
It being the day before our first day free, a cookout was held for the kids and they had an hour to play outside. Even the teachers got food – chips, hamburger or hotdog, and a drink. The burger tasted so good. I managed to snag a hotdog later too.
Friday I wasn’t bad, well, so okay not so good either. The rain didn’t help much either. I’d wanted to take more pictures as I drove to Columbia and didn’t get a chance. Saturday I had an eye doctor’s appointment. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t have gone anywhere and stayed on the couch, but I had the doctor’s appointment and had to visit the library, which isn’t bad except I really wasn’t in the mood and pretty much grabbed any ol’ book for my mom. She only reads paperbacks because the hardbacks are too heavy to hold. I got her a kindle, but she is certain they are heavier than paperbacks and she can’t ‘turn’ the pages. Maybe when she’s desperate she’ll use it. I think she’s about read every paperback in her favorite genres in the library system.
In the library I met a former teacher from my school. He used to have dreds and is now bald so it’s hard to connect the new him to the old one. He probably thought I was extremely rude because I didn’t say much. I just wanted to grab some books and go home.
Because of my cold I haven’t written much. Then again it’s only been two days. I have been stressing over my imagined overuse of pronouns. I think I’m using too many. But am I really? I have to study the juvie books I checked out and see.
I just finished an autobiography of Anita Lobel. Don’t ask me what the title is, I don’t even want to look it up right now. It’s good though. She was born in Poland and lived during the war, hiding from the NAZI’s before being swept up to go into a concentration camp with her brother. Strange thing, she never once mentions her brother’s name. He’s always ‘my brother’. Last week I read another book on WWII. Emil and Karl I think it’s called. Two boys in Vienna, one Jew, one not, lose their parents. I’m not sure if it has a happy ending or not, the author was vague and it hinted of not so good, but I will think it did end okay. I don’t like books that leave you hanging. Maybe I’m mentally lazy. I don’t know.
And that’s it. So long and until next time.

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Having filled the card on my digital camera, I downloaded the pictures I’ve taken from Hwy 321 onto my netbook. Thinking I could work better on that, I downloaded the pictures from my other cards. It turns out I’ve taken around 1600 photos of a 90 mile stretch of road. Wow. And since then I’ve taken 54 more. In a few months I’ll be moving so it’s near the end of the photographic documentary of that road. It’ll be interesting to see how many pictures I’ll have at the end and how many make it through the editing process.
So, what to do with those pictures? I’ve been thinking of making a photo book from them. It would be nice to sell it to people wanting something of rural South Carolina. I remember one year my mom searched high and low for a simple book to give to relatives and finding nothing that would fit in a suitcase and cost less then $20.00. We ended up getting postcards. Which is another thing I’d like to do with my photos, but not postcards I’d sell, just something to give to relatives or people I meet when I go on trips. Sometimes it’s hard enough to explain just where South Carolina is. When I visited Morocco I tried to explain its location to a man who lived for a while in Alabama. I still don’t think he got it.
Explaining how South Carolina looks like is another matter. There are beaches, swamps, mountains (foothills rather), lakes (manmade) and rivers. Now I’ll be able to whip out a postcard and show them and even give them a card. You can print them out at Wal-Mart for about a quarter and put several photos on one card. I did that to show my aunt in Germany what Arkansas looked like and it turned out quite well.
I won’t stop taking photographs. I plan to make Columbia, SC by next target.

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Dear Hamish,
Thank you for your letter. The weather here is bonny with plenty of sunshine and flowers everywhere. I am sorry to hear the twins broke into your croft. I’m glad me tips will help you. I found the perfect e-book for you: Keep your house safe: the guide to booby trapping your house. It is your birthday present from me. Let me know if any of the traps catch the twins. Then you can call the police on them for a change.
Thank you also for arranging the phone call to me grandmum. She graded me wool as excellent. Pawnee Kitty will shear me in three weeks and it’s off to the post with me wool. The only bad thing was that the twins showed up. They find out everything! There I was, talking wool with me grandmum, and they show up wanting to pester me. Grandmum gave them scones, but they came back and she said I had to talk to them. Horrible lambs. Their faces were full of crumbs. What decent ram will want to marry any of them.
The absolute worst part is that they think I am saving money for them to come visit me in the colonies. Never! Although I am sure it would be quite restful for everyone else.
I am feeling faint now thinking of it. I will write you later.

Your friend (who is about to faint)
Angus. McSheep.

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