"Keep working on a plan. Make no little plans. Make the biggest you can think of, and spend the rest of your life carrying it out." Harry S. Truman

Sunday, September 9, 2007

One "m" too many ?

Here comes a perfect example of what I was moaning and ranting about in my last post. A tiny sentence. Just a few words. But after months and months of seeing it written a certain way, and finding it just fine, I just can't wrap my teeny weeny mind around its new appearence, or rather, its new sound. Anyone want to chime in with their thoughts ? Does that sentence bother you ? Do you see, hear, what I mean by "one m too many?"

The sun burned high in the sky by the time Amadi reached the first stalls.

It used to be :

The sun burned high in the sky by the time Ifeanyi reached the first stalls.

In this case, it's not the number of syllables that bothers me, but "time" and "Amadi" being so close together. My tongue trips over all these "m" sounds.

So, I keep coming up with alternatives. Only, now, I find myself changing everything around, even moving dialogues, and I'm freaking out. What ? That's what writing is all about ? I had no idea!

Anyway, here a few samples of my writing wanderings.

- The sun had climbed its blazing path up the sky when Amadi reached the first stalls. (Huh???)
- The sun burned high in the sky when Amadi reached the first stalls. (Obviously, that would be an easy alternative, except that I don't like it. But don't ask me why.)
- Amadi felt the sun beating down on him as he reached the first stalls.(And when doesn't one feel the sun beating down on them in Africa, if I may ?)
- The sun beat down on Amadi's shoulder as he reached the first stalls.(Forget about the sun beating on anyone's shoulders. Cliche. Obvious. Boring.)
- The sun had almost reached its zenith when Amadi reached the first stalls. (repetition of reached. Bad.)
- Amadi squinted at the sun, as he reached the first stalls. Almost midday. (Mm...?)
- As he reached the first stalls, Amadi squinted at the sun high in the sky. Almost midday. (Not sure. This is a contemporary setting. Kids don't look at the sun to find out what time it is. Either they have a watch, or in Amadi's case, they ask someone who has one. Right? Amadi, what do you say?)
- Amadi squinted at the sun, as he reached the first stalls. (Would he squint at the sun? Ifeanyi Amadi, where the hell are you ??? You just took off towards the market, and now what ? Will you squint at the sun ? Or not? How dare you write in my blog while I sleep, and remain totally mute when I need you to say something ! Anyway, upon reading the sentence again, I realize I don't like "squinted at". Too many d's and t's.)
- As he reached the first stalls, Amadi squinted in the sunlight.(there is no reason for the squinting being there. I mention the sun to give a sense of the passing of the time. It's almost midday. But in fact, I don't want Amadi too aware of that.)
- A little while later, Amadi reached the first stalls. (Pff!)

Well, Amadi is strangely silent and absent, today. Must be striking poses somewhere for his mother the illustrator, feeling all important. And I'm left with my m's. I think I'll go eat some ice cream, now. Or help my daughter find the piece of Lego she's looking for all over the house. Did I mention I also have a translation I need to work on ? But that's OK: deadline still far away so I have plenty of time to feel guilty about not working on that.


kate said...

Hi Katia! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I have been too nauseous to spend much time on the computer lately, but I'm finding your posts very interesting. I had never stopped to consider just what goes into the writing of children's books (though I love to read them!) I've added you to my feed reader so I'll be back!

Katia said...

Thanks, Kate. I'm sorry to hear that you're so nauseous. I can certainly relate. For both of my children, I spent two and half months in bed, totally incapacitated by the nausea that never went away. Up until the 16th week, it was a nightmare. I hope you feel better real soon.

Natalie said...

I see what you mean about the m's...hmmm. Maybe once Amadi has finished posing for the illustrator, he'll come back and help you out. :-)

Katia said...

Hi Natalie,
I think Amadi has decided he's done with me. Or his silence was his way ot letting me know that none of my suggestions met with his approval, and in the end, maybe he was right ? Still waiting for editor's feedback. We'll see :)