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Archive for October, 2014

Dear Hamish,

Thank you for the dried blossom. I have framed it so I can look at it and not eat it :). I was sorry to hear about your surprise birthday party. Only the twins could give you one and it not be your birthday. I hope they now realize how dangerous surprise birthday parties are to us Scottish Miniature Sheep. I’m sure they’ve been told of the Great Surprise Birthday disaster of ’94 that nearly burned down the whole pasture. Then again, that may attracted them to do this. At least Fat Malcolm ate the cake and not you, being all comatose and all. Not that I feel bad he got ill, but he should know better than to eat a cake made by the twins and it ’twas quite rude to eat the whole cake and not leave you some.

Last week, we went on a wee adventure to eastern South Carolina. The person has decided to visit as all the state parks. One gets a stamp for each. Pawnee Kitty is doing this too although what she will do with a giant t-shirt I do not know. I think it is more the thrill of the chase.

We visited two state parks, Lee and Woods Bay, and we visited Pearl Fryar’s Topiary place. Och, that was bonny. Mr. Fryar saw a topiary years ago, loved it, and decided to try his hand at it. Now his garden, as big as the pasture, is full of sculpted trees and bonny sculptures. I liked the one with horn instruments. I sent you pictures on me mobile so you’ve already seen the work. ‘Tis all pretty and I didn’t eat any vegetation. That Pawnee Kitty kept on the backs of me hooves so I wouldn’t nibble and deprive someone of art. Silly ewe.

Speaking of ewes, I have a picture of a potential sweetie that I am forwarding to you. I tell you, Hamish, as soon as I grow me horns I am off to New Zealand. They have pretty ewes everywhere and look at the quality of her wool (of the one I sent a picture of).

Must dash,

Your friend in the colonies,

Angus. McSheep.

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Didn’t think it’d be so hard to write in ‘bad’ English. I’m working on an old story set in the U.S. West, a middle / YA western. The main character has never been to school and has met only a handful of people in her life, none whom might be considered as being proficient in the English language. I drop ‘g’s’,  and change verb tenses trying to create an authentic voice for her, but it’s hard. I want to show how she speaks, but I also don’t want to make this so much so the readers gets confused. There’s a fine line somewhere, but I don’t know where right now.

It’s written in first person, something I don’t want to change because I want the story to be wholly from the main character’s perspective. That part is fun to write – meeting up with new situations and describing them. Moving from the ranch she’s almost like a fish out of water.

I think I might want to read some other books set in that time and see how other authors handled it. I read a few westerns, although in the younger set they’re more often described as historical fiction. One was written completely as the main character talked, but I can’t remember if that bothered me or not. Personalty I think it would be a bit strange to have the main character talk one way and think in perfect English. Again, will read up on it.

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Doing the Research

One neat aspect of writing is the research component. For me that sometimes turns out to be an obsession. I can’t move on until I know exactly how something is done, a place looks, what happened when.

Case in point. I’m writing a series and currently the characters are traveling through Mongolia. My writing nearly ground to a halt because I didn’t know how the town of Chior, along the Trans-Mongolian train, looks like. Like, I can’t go back and fill out that part later? No. To me, right then, nothing is more important than knowing how the town looks and how the country side looks and how the children would see it. I soon found out the local libraries don’t have a whole lot on traveling through Mongolia. I had to use the Internet which didn’t give me what I wanted either, but it was a start and I moved on, telling myself: It’s okay. You’ll be fine.

While I’m writing this story I’m working on the outline for the next book. It seems I can’t go on until I know the exact route of Frederick I of German took in the third crusade. So far I’ve only found maps showing a vague route. Internet’s no help and most books barely mention him. Richard the Lion Hearted gets top billing in the third crusade and it doesn’t help that Frederick drowned along the way. Hopefully now knowing that the route went along the Danube River will push me along and, anyway, the route isn’t the main part of the story anyway. I need to loosen up.

When I get stuck in research mode I have to hold myself back so I don’t buy every book on the subject I can find. I don’t need ten books on, say, firefighting or the music business. There are libraries that have books I can borrow and return when I’m finished. They don’t need to clog up my shelves. But now I’m looking forward to the next library book sale for books on the crusades and China and Mongolia even though I don’t really need them. Like I said, I really need to loosen up. At least now I am realizing my obsessions and not heading over to Amazon for my research needs.

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