Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Agenda 21: In Praise of Mom

Agenda 21, pp. 38-40

Four pages after their introduction, our new characters get names. The ugly, snarky, rude one is named "Remy," which is surely not the name of someone that Harriet Parke fought with when she was a kid. The other one hasn't said much and we don't know what she looks like. Let's fix that:

The second girl was small and pale like the waxy paper on nourishment cubes. Her lips and fingernails were kind of blue, and she worked hard at breathing. I could see her shoulders pulling up like she needed more air.

This one is "Marina," a physically frail character who is somewhat polite to Emmeline. No points for guessing where this is headed.

Characters in this story can not only be neatly divided into Good, Bad and Ambivalent categories, but you can easily sort them by how they treat the protagonist. Good characters are cheerful, friendly and helpful; Bad characters are rude, belligerent backbiters; Ambivalent characters are basically cardboard cutouts that can speak. Writing tip #1: Your readers are stupid, so make sure that your antagonists are all assholes so that no one accidentally sympathizes with them.

Marina's real point here is to say this:

"So what's it like having a mother? I don't even remember mine."

This leads the protagonist to an internal mediation on mothers which Hallmark would reject as excessively mawkish. I'm not going to reproduce it here because, while it is cheesy, it's not bad enough to pan. Plus, I am not made of stone, sir.

All Emmeline actually says is "I guess it's normal. It's normal for me." And that's the end of Chapter Four. Next time: We get our first glimpse inside the other location - the Village.

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