Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More reasons I hate Spell Check!

Claire and the Egotistical Rat Bastard is almost done.  YEAH!

It is now in the hands of a group who are reading, looking for inconsistencies and any other craziness that may have slipped past me.  I’m sure there are many.

This brings me to today’s topic.  Why I hate spell check.

I know, I’ve ranted about this before but every time I start to edit it attacks me all over again.

Now this time I didn’t get a lot of little colored squiggles for having a passive voice.  Thank you gods of micro soft!

First, I’ve been cleaning up Molly and the Vampire.  The one Amazon review I’ve gotten took off a star for my problems with homonyms.  She still gave me four stars but said I should use spell check.

I wanted to cry out to her, “But I did use spell check!” 

Now you see; that is part of the problem.  People have a weird notion that spell check actually knows what it’s talking about.  It doesn’t something that has been brought to my attention in a very painful way.  For example, loosing that star.

I have learned a lot about what the program will and will not help me with.  It will not distinguish between those pesky homonyms, and when I’m tired and frustrated I start accepting what it tells me.  BIG MISTAKE.  My reviewer thought that it would get things right. HA!.

I went through the manuscript three times searching for their, there, and they’re.  Lord I hope I got them all.

Spell check also hates normal conversation, at least the normal conversation between my characters.  Conversations between my people tend to be overrun with fragments.  I can’t help it if that’s the way they communicate and I will not be held responsible for what they tell me.

But there is something bigger that I just don’t understand at all.

When my hero Bran tells his friends that “My lady was intent on breaking my heart” Spell Check tells me it should be “My lady were intent on breaking my heart.” 

When “Molly had to give herself a mental shake” Apparently it should have been “Molly had to give her a mental shake.”  It left me wondering who had wandered into the scene and needed a mental shake.  

When Molly thinks that quirky people were usually fun, Spell Check decided that I had too many quirky people and that quirky people was usually fun.

But the one that really got me, the one that took me a couple of minutes to figure out was a scene between Bran and his friends Crow and Minstrel.  The line I wrote was; Both men were grinning at Bran who just looked puzzled.  I thought it made sense, but I was wrong.  It should actually have read, Both men were grinning oat Bran who just looked puzzled.

It was clear that at some point when I wasn’t watching my hero turned into a healthy breakfast cereal.

Molly is going to be very disappointed.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Meet Minstrel

Let me introduce you to my friend Minstrel.  If you have already read Molly and the Vampire then you have already run into him.
I have written this blog for a friend who sent me a list of questions for him.  She just loves him. He has agreed to answer them but I can’t guarantee that his answers will make any sense.

“Hello Minstrel.”

“Hello lovely one.  You are looking delicious today.  Does this mean that you have decided to run off with me?”

“Okay now you have to stop doing that.  The ground rules for this were no flirting.  You promised.”

“Are you sure about that?  I’m certain you must have misunderstood sweeting.  That doesn’t sound like me at all.  We could go to that island I was telling you about love.  We could spend a few days discussing it.”

“Stop that.  Your here to answer questions, remember?”

“Am I?  Well we had best get on with it then.  It will leave more time for seduction.”

“Ahem.  Her first question is about your immortality.  Nan wants to know if that means you can’t be killed or you have always existed.”

“Oh, she likes the hard ones doesn’t she?  Well, I think I can be killed.”

“Excuse me, you think?”

“Well it hasn’t happened yet has it?  But that could only indicate that it’s very hard to do, or that I’ve been very lucky.  I’m not a god, at least I don’t think I am and they would be the only ones you can’t kill.  I think.”

“You don’t sound sure of anything.”

“Oh well I’m not.  I tend to forget things; or at least I try to.”

“Does that mean that you don’t remember if you have always existed?”

“Right.  I must have been born don’t you think?  I don’t remember my parents, but I should think it likely that I had some and I’m certain they were very nice ones.”

“Next she want’s to know, if you have always been, have you always been the same, the same health, maturity, that sort of thing.  Or did you grow up?”

“Lovely one are you sure you wouldn’t rather talk about something else?  Something like what I could do to your body if you were to give me a chance.”

“Let’s stick to the questions please.”

“Very well.  If I was born, and I think I was, then I would have to have grown up.  You might ask my friends Bran and Crow about my maturity.  They might not think I am.  Better yet, ask Molly.  She’ll tell you the truth, that I’m almost perfect.”
“I’ve heard that before.  Next question, have you ever been bored?”

“Well now you see, that’s one reason I began forgetting things.”

“Then you’re telling me that you purposely forget things, important things like having parents?”

“Well of course.  I’ve been around long enough to understand that boredom can be deadly.  But if you forget the past, you are constantly surprised by life.”

“That answers her next question, can you ever be surprised.”

“But there is more than that.  Ladies are always a wonder and surprise.  No two are alike, but they are all beautiful and a joyful gift.  I love you all.  Now, about that island...”

“No island.  Questions remember.  Next Nan want’s to know, because you can change into different things what is the strangest thing you ever turned into, and was there something so wonderful that you wanted to stay that way forever?”

“Well... let me think.  The oddest thing I remember turning onto was a Blue Whale.  It was very exciting to see the world they live in.  As to the second part of your question, I’m very fond of dragons.  Flying as a dragon is like nothing else.  It is exhilarating.  I also enjoy being a big cat.  Stretched out on a big rock in the sunshine is...beautiful.  But I have never wished to remain in a form other than my own.  How could I seduce you were I a dragon, although I could take you flying?  Would you like to fly to that island we were speaking of sweeting?”

“Nan wants to know about some historical events or people you knew.”

“But you haven’t answered my question about flying to the island.”
“I’m ignoring you.  Answer the question.”

“Your friend is the one who writes about history isn’t she?  That would explain it I suppose, this interest in my history.  I’m afraid I can’t help her much.  As I have explained, history, at least mine is something I endeavor to forget.  I do remember St. George but as far as I could tell, he was no saint.  Then he went and killed that poor dragon then made up stories to justify the deed.  And you should know that most of my time was not spent in the human world.”

“Next question, if you wanted to die could you?”

“But why would I want to?  I think your friend needs a vacation.  She thinks too much about death.  Do you think she would like to go to the island with us?  I could make you both very happy.”

“Are you even listening to me?  I am not, repeat not, going to some island with you.  Now, can you have children?”

“Are you offering luv?”

“I don’t know why I agreed to do this.  Every time you show up you make me crazy.  I have one last question from Nan.  If you just can’t die, then when were you born, how were you born, and what is your earliest memory?”

“Haven’t I answered those?  Very well, as to when, I know that I am something over two millennium old but I don’t know how much.  How is anyone born?  I don’t think I was discovered in a cabbage patch.  And I’m sorry but I have forgotten my earliest memory.  At least I think I have.”

“Have you anything you would like to say to the readers?”

“Why don’t we go to my island and take a few days to discuss that?”

“Go away.”

You can see why I was leery of inviting Minstrel in for questions.  Getting a straight answer out of him can be impossible.   

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hot Dogs

I saw someone playing with a Shih Tzu today and it got me thinking about my Crazy Little Monkee Boy. 
He too was a Shih Tzu and he loved me.  Actually, it was mutual.  They are great little dogs and are bred for no other reason than to be little love sponges.  Monkee Boy was very good at his job.  He would go off to play with Muppet (my Lhasa Apso) Or to make the cats crazy, but he never stayed away for long.
If I were at the computer, he would come and lay down on my foot, for a while.  Eventually he needed me to love him and he would stand on his hind feet and nudge me until I stopped and picked him up.  Talking to him, patting his head, even giving him a treat wasn’t enough and if I tried to get away with one or even all of those things, I would suddenly find him on my lap when he launched himself at me.  It didn’t really bother me.  It’s hard to get mad at that kind of affection.
The only real trouble came at night.  In the winter it would get cold enough at night that warm hairy bodies snuggled up against me was a welcome thing.  However, as cold as it was in the winter, it got hotter in the summer.  The cats would disappear, Muppet would find the coolest spot on the tile floor, but Monkee Boy would not leave my side.
Dogs are hotter then we are; they are meant to be.  He would start out snuggled as close to my side as he could get.  That was bad enough, but at least I could get to sleep.  But Monkee was never satisfied with that arrangement and would slowly move up my body until he could wrap himself around my head.
Now I’ve read that when it’s cold if you can keep your feet and head warm you will stay warm all over.  I know it works when it’s hot because Monkee’s belly was like a blast furnace and I would wake up covered in sweat.
I would pry him loose, look him in his big melting brown eyes, and beg him, please stay put before putting him down.  It never worked.  Within 90 minutes, he was back on my head and I needed to wring the sweat out of my sheets.    

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Minor Insanity (really)

Hi there

I know that is a lame beginning for my first post in six months.  I’ve been sick?

No, really, I have.  It’s something that many people live with called depression.  Or as I prefer to call it “AARGH!”  Mine is nicely controlled by medication, but every few years the medication stops working right and has to be changed.  That sounds simple enough, the thing is this time it wasn’t simple at all and it took forever.  However, I’m getting better now, really I am.  I haven’t wanted to whack every idiot I meet over the head with a heavy object in at least a week!  True, some of them would have deserved it.


I’m better, honest!

I’ve finally started writing again.  And it only took me two weeks to write about a thousand words, and another week to get another 5,000.  Pitiful numbers, on a good, make that spectacular day I can do almost that much.  I know this because I have.  It shocked the heck out of me, but I did it.  (You will notice that I haven’t remarked on the quality of those words.)

It might go more smoothly if I stopped listening to the characters in the story.  I was working my way to a perfectly fine ending when they started telling me I had it all wrong and changing the whole thing.

Someone once asked Michelangelo how he did what he did.  He told them that all he did was release the figure that was already in the stone.  Maybe writing is like that for me.  I find the people that already have the story and I just write down what they tell me.  On the other hand, maybe I’m crazier than I thought.  If I were, how would I know?  I mean everything would make sense to me because I was crazy.  Right?