“Then” was brought to my attention by SubtleKate. Best wishes to Kate as she is having surgery on Friday.
My characters did this. Then my characters did that. I reduced 69 “then-s” to 28. I should give the remaining 28 a second look. If you describe what happens next in the story, the “then” is implied. Let’s take a look.
I joined Sir Paul’s fan club, wire tapped his phone, and then stalked his dog-walker.
Why the dog-walker, not Paul?
I joined Sir Paul’s fan club and wire tapped his phone. The police arrested me when I stalked his dog-walker.
Paul hired me as a housekeeper and then I devised a plan to steal his gold records.
Dastardly of you.
Paul hired me as a housekeeper, which gave me the opportunity to steal his gold albums.
I gushed over Paul during the interview and then censored myself for sounding like a groupie.
I would gush too.
I gushed over Paul during the interview until he rang for his army of bodyguards.
I planned my escape route from the mansion, ran it by James Bond, and then made off with Paul’s gold records.
You know James Bond?
I planned my escape route from the mansion, ran it by James Bond over martinis, and was arrested for stealing Paul’s gold records.
Until then, I wasn’t afraid of Paul’s bodyguards.
You should have been. I’ve seen ’em.
Until I saw their guns, I thought I could sweet-talk Paul’s bodyguards into letting me keep the records.