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“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.

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