Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reading Update #5

As I admitted on Sunday, I missed my last Thursday deadline for talking about what I am currently reading. I was hoping this blog would put pressure on me to not only keep up my reading at a good clip but to think about writing more. It worked for a little while but lately it hasn't been a strong enough force to overcome the other things in my life which keep me from reading and writing. It is still helping some and I hope it will get better.

In the bedroom: I'm nearly done with Ragamuffin by Tobias Buckell. To quote someone on Toby's blog, "That Pepper is a badass." When I finish it in the next day or two I'm going to read The Last Colony by John Scalzi, if my wife (who reads at least twice as fast as I do) is done with it. If not then I'll read The Long Loud Silence by Wilson Tucker. As usual, this is subject to change.

In the downstairs bathroom: For the time being I have stopped reading the collection of short stories about my favorite comic duo so I can get in the mood to start on Story Idea #1. Doing it a little at a time isn't getting me anywhere. Instead I need to read nothing but that for a while and really sink into it before I get the feel for the characters and dialog enough to try and emulate it.
I am still reading Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. I would probably be done with it if I didn't spend most of my reading time in there playing a stupid, yet oddly addictive, Bubble Breaking game on my cell phone.

At the office: I'm about a third of the way through Wetware by Rudy Rucker. I am normally in the office three or more times a week, but this is the third straight week I will only make it in twice so I'm not getting much reading done there.

In the car: I have started A Man without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut, but with there being some compelling things in the news lately, I have been listening to the radio more than usual.

A thought on writing. A coworker of mine who has done a lot of freelance writing for small newspapers read one of my monthly updates to pjfarmer.com a few years ago and offered this observation: nine times out of ten, the word "that" can be eliminated. I reread the entry and realized he was correct, nine of the ten "thats" on the page could be removed.

Removing most "thats" from what I write has become a habit, but as I reread these posts before I publish them I usually notice a word or two I use too often.

(I started to type the last sentence as "...I usually notice a word or two that I use too often." At first it may sound a little abrupt to me without "that" but I bet no one reading the sentence the first time thought it was missing. (I just did it again, I had to remove "that" from "...but I bet that no one reading the sentence the first time thought it was missing."))

Today I used the word "actually" four times. I took them all out.

I've also noticed when I edit these blogs I often go back and make sentences simpler. I will try to provide examples of this on my next blog. (Perhaps needless to say, I originally typed the previous sentence, "I've also noticed that when I edit these blogs..." Maybe its just me, maybe I'm the only one with a that problem.)

1 comment:

CPC said...

No, you're not alone, lot's of people have the "that" problem. :-)