Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chapter Fifteen: In Which I Return

Word Count: 26,008/50,000

Wow, Reader- it has been a crazy, crazy couple of days. Beginning on Tuesday, I had a whirlwing of stage management duties as we opened and closed our show- in fact, I've just returned from striking the last one.

But I promised I wouldn't talk about that stuff on here. This blog is about WRITING. So let's talk about writing. Today, I'd like to discuss some of my writing inspirations. Here they are:

LIBBA BRAY: A bundle of awesomeness (and I know- I've met her) in both person and writing. I don't really know what it is about her books, but all of them are so incredibly well-written. While I prefer the gothic-ness of the Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Going Bovine was funny, touching, and shocking. I supposed I like her writing because it's so fearless... and yet, she's admitted to crying while writing it. She's a brave writer, I suppose, and I strive to be like that. I also love her dark humor- Gemma and I are like twins in our sarcasm.

MAUREEN JOHNSON: Another awesome YA writer. I love Maureen's writing style. Her humor is always laced into the story but in a different way each time- Jane in Devilish is a darker than Scarlett in Suite Scarlett who is much different than Ginny in 13 Little Blue Envelopes. I have yet to be disappointed by one of her books. She is so skilled at mixing quirky comedy with serious dramatic events- such as the death of May's father in The Key to the Golden Firebird- in oe book. I admire her so much!

IAN MCEWAN: I've only read one of this books, Atonement (and yes, before the movie came out!) and I love his attention to detail. He is also in the category of fearless writer. Amazing.

EMMA THOMPSON: Wonderful actress, yes, and just as wonderful of a writing. Her adaptation of Sense and Sensibility is so great and Nanny McPhee was a great film too. I really want to do what she does- act AND write.

DAVID AUBURN: Playwright, author of Proof. I love Proof- it's so true to life. I just love how true his dialogue is.

NEIL SIMON & TOM DUDZICK: Amazing amazing amazing. Dudzick has often been called "the Catholic Neil Simon" and it's so true. They write completely real scenes with real life problems and are funny as they do it.

There are a bunch of other writers that I admire, but those are the main ones. I strive to their level of greatness.

Now, even though I have been crazy busy with the show, the great thing about being the stage manager of this show was that I didn't have to do anything. Most shows have lots of light and sound cues throughout the show that the SM has to call, but since I didn't have any, I wrote. That's at least an hour and a half of writing- usually around five pages or so- for four days, and on these last two, we did two shows a day. And wow, did I get a lot of writing done. I am ahead of the recommended word count.

My novel keeps getting darker and darker... maybe it's because of the show I was writing during (The Exonerated... lots of death), but my poor main character, Ruthie, has now been tortured. It is not pretty, and I don't know where it's coming from.

Now, an excerpt:

For a week, life went on as usual, which struck Ruthie as incredible. How could they all manage to forget what had begun just seven days before? How could they forget that every second, their lives were at risk?
She wondered, and yet she did it too. She talked and laughed with Nora and Annie. She teased her brother. She complained about small things like homework and chores when people were making much greater sacrifices not so far away. And when she swore she saw Jimmy in the library and the soda shop and grocer’s, she told herself that it was just her imagination and looked in the other direction.
As much as everyone managed to return to their normal lives, however, there were reminders of the losses that had already been suffered all over the city. The buildings that had been hit were still in shambles. Ruthie overheard someone on the street say it could take months to clean up the wreak age, and only if no other buildings fell victim to the Germans. The air raid drills were constant and could happen at any moment. People were now using the underground as a make shift shelter and sometimes, the people waiting down there had to sleep in the station over night. Each time she walked home or to school or to the store or the cinema, Ruthie prayed that she would not have to run down to the tube station and take cover.

There were also the posters. Since the bombing, missing persons posters had gone up all over the city, tied to telephone poles and tree trunks, pinned to community bulletin boards. Some had even been shoved through the Halperts’ mail slot so that when one of the family entered, they would see someone’s black and white photograph staring up at them from the floor. Ruthie always studied these blurry pictures closely. If she saw one of these people on the streets, she wanted to be able to recognize them. She did not know what she would do if this did happen one day – certainly shouting, “I found you!” or chasing them would do no one any good. But this was a dilemma she had not yet faced. Though she tried to look at every face she passed, none of them were those lost people in the pictures. She looked especially hard for Jimmy and Arthur Henderson. Her heart hurt every time she passed one of their flyers, with “HAVE YOU SEEN THESE CHILDREN?” written in large letters above the brothers’ smiling school photographs.
It was the pictures themselves that made the posters so upsetting. While the word missing reminded you that that person was no longer at school or at work or sitting at the dinner table with their family, Ruthie was bothered by the grins, smirks, and shy smiles that looked out at her from the paper. When she looked at those faces, she remembered that these were past events – this person, this parent, child, brother, aunt, might not be smiling like that anymore. Whenever these thoughts came over Ruthie, she could not help picturing those people with scared expressions. What must they be feeling now? Or were they not feeling at all?

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