Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Voting to Buy a Notebook

Recently, I have been working on a small publishing project. The book is the History of the Cane Creek District Association by D. F. Magruder. As I perused the manuscript, I noticed in the minutes of one of the meetings that they collected about $20 for associational expenses. As I read further I noticed that the messengers voted to spend $1.50 to buy a record book in which they could keep the minutes of their meetings. I assume that it was one of those hardback record books with lines on the pages.

In relative terms, a $1.50 notebook would have been a fairly significant purchase for that time period. It was about 8% of the total budget. Even so, the total cost of a notebook appears to have been about the same as it is today.

The person the association authorized to purchase the book also served as the clerk. He was also authorized to print the minutes. By all indications, they expected him to be able to do it with less than $20. Today, that same association spends hundreds of dollars to print the minute books. Things are both different and vary much the same, over one hundred years later.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Completed Outline

At first, I didn't do a complete outline of my current work in progress (WIP), but I read Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! on Friday and I was anxious to see how well my WIP would fit within his structure. By the time I was done, I had the whole thing outlined and I even came up with forty scenes. I suspect that I will be making some changes along the way, but it is a good starting point. I like the outline, but some of what I wrote may not fit.

My WIP is a Dude With a Problem story. The problem is that the man's wife left him and the kids for someone else. One of the things I noticed after reading Save the Cat! was that I have a stranger feeding my protagonist information rather than having him go out and find it. I had noticed that before, but I justified it by saying that it was the only way the protagonist could get the information. That may be true, but if I can find a way around that then I will.

Snyder suggests giving the theme of the story early on. I can’t help but wonder if stating the theme might be more of a subliminal message than anything else. Showing the problem is much more important. Looking back at movies, and some books, I can see where the writer stated the theme, but I really don’t think I would notice it if I wasn’t looking for it. Still, if it gets the reader thinking along those lines then it is a good thing.

The basic theme for this WIP has to do with whether or not truly unconditional love is possible. It is one thing to love a woman when she is around, but what about when she has turned her back on the man and wants nothing to do with him.

One of the big problems I am having with this WIP is that it involves the woman getting involved in some things that I don’t understand why anyone would choose to become involved in and yet people do so everyday. The simple answer is that sin is pleasurable for a season.

Monday, February 18, 2008

More Difficult Than I Expected

Word Music and Lillenas Music use a different scale to define the different difficulty levels of their music for solo piano. Word uses the terms Easy, Intermediate, Medium Advanced and Advanced. Lillenas uses the terms Easy, Moderately Easy, Moderate, Moderately Advanced and Advanced. My best guess is that Lillenas’ Moderate would be split between Word’s Intermediate and Medium Advanced, but most of it would fall within the Intermediate category.

I was looking at their websites the other day and I was attempting to determine the difference between Word’s Medium Advanced and Lillenas’ Moderately Advanced. I clicked on one book that Lillenas has and below the product information was one of these statements that say something like “If you like this then you might like this.” I followed the link to another book by the same arranger. For this product, there were audio files to listen to. I clicked on one and thought “that’s pretty, but it’s a little more difficult than I was expecting for Moderately Advanced.” It wasn’t until later that I realized that this product is classified as Advanced, unlike the product I looked at prior to it. That is one of the problems with recommending one product based on interest in another.

Sadly, my skill level isn’t high enough to play at the advanced level. My sister is the talented one in our family and she can play at that level. I learned some time ago that anything I could learn to play in a month she can probably play sight unseen. When I was younger, I wanted to be able to play a well as my sister. I have since lowered my goal. Now, if I could just say that I played well then I think I would be happy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Too Much Information

I read several blogs. By reading blogs you can find some very interesting information. At times, you can find too much information. Blogs are a very public forum and yet many blog owners include information that would be better suited for discussions with their close friends and family. There are times, after reading a blog post, that I think I really didn't want to know that much about you. Unfortunately, by the time we realize that we don't want to read it, it is too late. My personal opinion is that blog owners need to be more considerate of the people who might stumble across their website.