A Fictional Character I’d Like to Hang Out With for a Day

medieval baker

Is it really egotistical to bring one of my own characters to life?  I’ve spent so much time developing them, they already seem like real people to me.

If my character of choice existed as a real person (as opposed to a vampire who has been alive for centuries) I’d definitely take Joshua. He’s my favorite character for many reasons, not the least of which is because he’s quite the ladies’ man. Going out to dinner with him, taking in some cultural amusements, having intellectual discussion, etc. would definitely be a nice way to spend a day.

However, if my character came to life exactly as he is in my books, I’d pick Anselm. We would spend the day in my house with my medival wardrobe, costuming books and a sketchbook, and I’d be asking him a million and one questions about medieval clothing. I’d have to beat my husband off him, because he’d be trying to get in armor and Hundred Year’s War questions on the side.

Of course, I’d have to ask him to bite me once, just so I could say it had happened. But his primary function would be to give me a 24 hour lecture on the middle ages, as he lived it.

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That comma

This is a departure from my usual writing assignments, which give you a theme to help get your creative juices flowing.  This is an editing/proofing assignment which everyone who writes needs to do.

Take something you’ve written—fiction, non-fiction, term paper, blog post, etc.—and Find (in Word, this is Ctl+f) every occurrence of the word “that.”  Read the sentence containing the word and do one of three things:

1) Remove it (re-read the sentence to make sure it still works);

2) Replace it with “which;”

3) Leave it alone.

I’ll give you a hint: you should do #1 and 2 much more often than #3.

Overuse of the word “that” is something that I’ve been very guilty of, and as I edit my book, I’ve been taking it out left and right.  And where I don’t take it out, it usually needs to be replaced by “which,” which is more proper, grammatically-speaking.  There are actually few instances where “that” is needed and nothing else will do.

In fact, I’m so attuned to it now, as I read other people’s work, I find myself mentally deleting it or replacing it with “which.”

Oh, and something else I’ve noticed, as I’ve been reading other people’s books, is that the comma is falling out of fashion.  This has been going on for the past 100 years or so, but it’s getting worse.  In fact, it’s getting to the point that sentences don’t make sense anymore without them.  Better to have too many commas than too few, so check those as you edit your work too. 

Personally, I don’t have a problem knowing when to put commas, but I know some people do.  One thing I do, as I write, is I hear the sentence in my head (you can also speak it aloud, if you need to); everywhere you naturally pause in speech, that’s where you need a comma.  Commas = pauses.  If the written word was music, they would be quarter rests.

My Ancestors’ Stories

Palace of Westminster – London, England

I currently have 85 unique names on my family tree.

94% of my geneology comes from the British Isles (England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland);

3% is French

2% is Native American

1% is Dutch

Things I would like to know:

Are all Peardons related (evidence points to "yes"), and is the name really English or French?

Who was "Black Jack" Thurman and how did he come by that name?

What was Nannie's Pritchett's maiden name and were her parents actually 100% Cherokee?

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