Still working on edits for Two Tickets to a Christmas Ball.
Writing tips: started to, began to, seemed to are all over used.
With started to and began to, you are implying that the action will be stopped.
He started to wash the car, but a a cloudburst put a stop to that.
If the action is not going to be interrupted then use the subject and the past tense of the verb.
He washed the car. The day was sunny and perfect.
Example: He began to explain why he was late, but his date shut the door in his face.
He explained why he was late and his date understood his dilemma.
Seemed to. Really? He seemed to grow in appreciation of the arts.
Well, did he, or didn't he?
She seemed to understand what had held him up.
Did she, or didn't she?
He seemed to be listening to her theory about microbionic soil, but then he poured his coffee into a bush.
The last one is acceptable, but don't pour your leftover coffee on plants. It will seem to kill them and they will begin to rot.