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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Editing Out Characters

So far during the editing process of my current story I have found it necessary to cut out a few characters.  Michelle, Rachel, and Willy were the first to go.  Although they each had a few short lines of dialogue, they really weren't important to the story.  Next came Becca.  She was created to be one of my MC's roommates in college.  She was rude, crude, crazy annoying, and everything my MC isn't.  Her main purpose was to introduce Emily (my MC) to Jason.  Deciding Becca wasn't necessary either, I removed her and had Emily meet Jason on her own.  Removing these characters hasn't bothered me, but now I'm considering removing Jason.  Emily dates him for seven months in an effort to get over her feelings for her best friend Nicky so Jason has a significant part in the story.  I think I can get to the same ending without him, though.  The problem is I like him and the part he plays so if I take him out, it's going to hurt.  But part of editing is deciding what's best for the story, or perhaps I should say who is best for the story.  Characters shouldn't be kept in just for the sake of having multiple characters. 

Poor Jason.  His future is undecided.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where are your priorities?

Hearing all the talk about the debt ceiling and the plan our politicians are trying to put together has me thinking about how backwards our country sometimes seems to be.  For instance, there has been talk about Social Security not getting paid because an agreement about our nation’s debt hasn’t been reached.  It is the job of our politicians to handle this, but they still get paid.  Why? In my opinion, they are failing to do their jobs.  I’m not sure it’s realistic to think Congress shouldn’t get paid, but I’m sure they’d be more agreeable if they were going to be out of their own money.

Here’s another thing that bothers me.  The NFL lockout, which has finally ended.  It’s just as stupid in my opinion.  Most pro-athletes get paid millions of dollars, but they want to complain about not getting paid enough.  The owners make tons of money, too.  Give me a break! I’d like to tell them all to come down to the real world.  And earlier this year when the NFL was considering adding a few games to the season, the players balked not only because they believed they should get paid more but also because of the increased chance for injury.  Really? We have police officers, firemen, military personnel and other professionals who will never make in their lifetimes what some athletes will make in one game! And those people risk their lives on a daily basis.  Aren’t our priorities mixed up? Consider what actors/actresses are paid.  They’re entertainers! They are paid more than teachers, yet aren’t teachers more important? They should be.   

All this isn’t to say all politicians or all athletes or all entertainers are bad.  In fact, there are many who donate a lot of money to important causes, and they’re able to do so because of the amount of money they make.  And it’s awesome that they are willing to do this.  I probably contribute to the problem.  After all, I enjoy sports and TV shows and movies just as much as the next person.  But I can’t help it.  Sometimes I shake my head and wonder what’s really important to us Americans.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More Poetry

Just a quick heads up:

I added four poems to my poetry page.  Check them out!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Get Involved

One of my cousins was recently elected to the county board, and I think it's great he's getting involved.  I hate listening to people complain about the government, whether it's at the local, state, or federal level.  Complaining doesnt' fix anything.  It doesn't solve any problems.  If you want it fixed, get involved and offer a solution! I'm not saying we shouldn't ever be upset by decisions made by government officials.  It is our right and responsibility to question our leaders.  But if you're not willing to participate, I don't want to listen to you.

People don't understand how much of a difference they can make.  This fact frustrates me! I believe every vote counts.  I also believe participating in local elections is just as important as participating in federal elections.  If you only care about who the next president will be, how can you expect any real change? The president can only do so much despite what is promised.  The president has to deal with Congress.  People, pay attention to who is campaigning to be your US senators and representatives! These people and the president have to work together! The same thing goes for state elections.  The governor has to work with your state senators and representatives.  You can't care about one and not the other.  I know this is pretty basic, but sometimes I'm amazed at people's ignorance.

So again, please get involved.  And when I say get involved, I don't mean you have to run in the next election.  But let your voice be heard.  Your officials represent YOU.     

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Time for school! Wait- What?

Just after the fourth of July weekend, I went to the store to get something for my yard.  I was a bit put off when I walked into the seasonal section to find school supplies had replaced all the garden/yard materials.  Really? I thought school didn’t start until the end of August.  Do school supplies need to be purchased so far in advance? I think not.  Oh, by the way, the item I was looking for was nowhere else in the store.  They no longer had the item!

This is almost as bad as walking into a store in September and finding myself overwhelmed with Christmas decorations.  I never have appreciated that.  In September, I want to see Autumn decorations.  I want to appreciate Fall for Fall.  Let me enjoy the cooler temps and the leaves changing color.  Don’t bombard me with a holiday that’s three months away! Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against Christmas.  In fact, it’s my favorite holiday.  But I want to celebrate Christmas in December.  I also prefer to celebrate Thanksgiving in November and Halloween in October.  Is that too much to ask?

Here’s something else that irritates me.  There’s a  craft store I occasionally go to which also has a seasonal section, and I enjoy browsing their shelves.  However, if I want to purchase something for the next holiday, depending on when I go, I may have to turn to the clearance aisle to find what I’m looking for even though the holiday hasn’t arrived yet.  Come on! That’s ridiculous! Let me give you an example.  Earlier this year, I was browsing items for St. Patrick’s day.  I went back to the store a couple weeks before March 17th so I could make a purchase.  However, the St. Patrick’s day items were already in the clearance section.  Why? Because the store needed space to put the Easter items! I understand stores need to make money, and I get that they want to make as much as they can.  And I understand why some customers would enjoy this.  After all, who wouldn’t enjoy spending less money on an item they need and/or want for a holiday that’s a couple weeks away? Does anybody else get annoyed by this, though?

I wonder what causes this craziness to continue.  Is it the stores and their focus on making as much money as possible? Perhaps it’s the consumers who want to save as much money as possible while getting the best deal.  Or is it the fast paced society we live in? We look ahead and prepare for the next thing without ever enjoying what’s in front of us.  Maybe it’s a combination.  I don’t have the answer.  Does anyone? Let me know what you think!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Unexpected Guest

What is it with me and wild animals?

It was just after 5AM this morning when I slid open the glass door so I could go into the sunroom and put Tucker outside.  Right away I noticed something  Various objects were scattered across the floor.  Taking a look around, I noticed a long tear in one of the window screens.  My first thought: Bat! I turned the light on and slid the door closed behind me so the offending animal wouldn't have access into my house.  Tucker would have to wait.  Perhaps my first reaction was slightly ridiculous.  The chance of a bat being persistent enough to claw its way through the window screen would be next to zero.  I think.  However, I've never completely shaken my fear of bats.

I can't remember if I was in eighth or ninth grade when I encountered my first bat.  My bedroom window was left open to let the cool air fill my room while I slept.  Sometime during the night, or very early in the morning, I woke up to find my cat pouncing something on my bed.  As soon as the light was on, a bat began flying around my room.  I have had a strong aversion to bats ever since.  It took two days to get the thing out of our house.

Next story.  Different animal.  While staying at my mom's one summer, my brother fell asleep on the couch (i.e. my bed) and I had to sleep on the living room floor.  I woke up to find a baby opossum staring at me, its gaping mouth inches from my face.  Later that morning, we discovered a hole by the washer and dryer which allowed the varmint entry and access to my nose.  Everyone except me was amused by the scratch the opossum left on me.

More recent story.  Yet another animal.  Last year, I was sleeping peacefully in my bed when I was woken up.  Feeling something on my face, I swiped at it and felt something wet and of a significant size.  I turned the ceiling light on and discovered a tree frog resting on the floor where I had thrown it.  I managed to catch it and release it outside.

Back to the sunroom.  A cautious investigation assured me the animal was gone.  I straightened up and let my dog out.  Taking a closer look at the screen, I could see numerous puncture marks plus a second slit about four inches long.  The slit that allowed entry was about a foot long and a couple inches wide.  Definitely a determined critter.  But I don't know what it was.  Other than the mess, there was nothing to determine what kind of animal would have been so bold.  That being said, it was probably the same animal that got into my chicken coop last week and devoured two of my chickens. 

So the moral of the story? Don't go to sleep apparently.  

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Short post today...

I think my blog is finally looking the way I'd like it to after making some changes today.  If you look to the right, you'll see I added some pages.  I've posted a few more poems on the poetry page.  In the future, I'll let you know whenever new content has been added.  And I will always be open to critique.

Hope everyone has enjoyed the weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

No More Cursive?

Beginning this Fall, Indiana schools will no longer be required to teach cursive.  And for those of you who are unaware as I apparently am, Indiana is not the first state to take this step.  The reasoning behind this move is so teachers can focus on teaching students keyboard proficiency.  Although I certainly agree students need to be able to use a computer, I'm not sure I agree that cursive should no longer be taught. 

Thinking back to the times I've used cursive, I wonder what my college professors would have said if I had printed my essays rather than using cursive.  In one particular class, every test was an essay test in which at least five essays had to be written out.  Would I have been graded differently if I had printed? Maybe not as long as I discussed the topic appropriately.  What about other important tests such as the SAT which require essays? College applications? Maybe I'm too far behind the times.  Are prospective students now typing their essays and attaching them to their college aps? Hmm.  Perhaps someone can enlighten me on this.

I have to admit, I'm not sure I completely agree with this move.  The sad thing is I can't really say why! Should cursive be taught simply because it always has been? Things change, times change, etc.  But my first reaction to this was...extreme.  Why don't they stop teaching math? We have calculators.  Why don't they stop teaching spelling and grammar? Word processors have spelling and grammar tools.  I hope you can sense the sarcasm.  I do not believe math or spelling or grammar should stop being taught in schools.

Maybe I'm reacting a bit harshly.  What does everyone else think about this? Leave a comment to let me know.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Wonderful Weekend

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend.  I know I did! My husband and I watched a couple different fireworks displays, went to a Justin Moore concert, hung out with friends and family.  We even watched a parade.  Too bad the weekend had to come to an end! Alas, it always does.  At least we had a three day weekend, though.  Starting the work week on a Tuesday is much better than starting on Monday.  Don't you agree?

Now that July is here, and I've taken two weeks off from writing, I'm ready to dive back in.  I've been thinking of ways to cut my word count down and I'm anxious to see how the changes will affect the story.  The changes will be for the best, I think, though some of them I hate to make.  I can't wait to hear what others say about it once it's completed.  This story is by far the largest project I've ever attempted, though I didn't intend for that to be the case when I started! And what's next when this story is finished? I haven't decided yet.  I have two western/romance drafts that need work.  Also, I have a few other stories I've been roughly planning for quite some time.  More than likely I'll work on the drafts before I begin something new because I don't see the point of having two novels just sitting around.  They aren't publishable material yet, but they can be.  And I can't decide which new story I want to do next.  Decisions, decisions! They're all part of the writng process. 

So I'm curious, for all the other writers reading this, what are you working on right now?