I’ve been having quite a lot of problems with this book. One scene has been bugging me, causing me sleepless nights. And the difficult thing to explain is that it’s a scene that’s never going to be published. You see, while it’s relevant to the characters; it’s not relevant to the story.
Lucy is falling in love with the enigmatic Von Schmidt. It was always on the cards; indeed some might say from the moment he tells her they’re husband and wife, it was a forgone conclusion. She wants to take it further – well when you’re 18 hormones take over - but he seems reluctant, determined to remain her avuncular. He has his reasons. And at this point in the tale, he does not want them revealed.
But Lucy has stopped functioning. She refuses to cooperate with the re-writes, explain how she found out about the second entrance to the underground facility.
Something has to be sorted out between the two. But how to do it?
What to say?
And how as an author to hint and yet not show, nor even tell?
Perhaps, if Mark had been around and not a prisoner, there would have been a different solution. But Lucy has no best friend in which to confide her woes. She can’t ask the Madman of Leytonstone, and she can’t even ask Frances Stephenson ( a woman who should know how to go about these things) because Frances is dead.
Help comes from an unlikely source. Two throw away lines – chapters apart; and honour is satisfied.
see what London was like in 1927 – rare colour film, uncovered by the BFI
Originally posted on More than a Cat:
Uncovered recently by the BFI, this footage was taken in 1927. 18 years earlier the dresses were longer; and probably less cars. But this was the London, Lucy Pevensea and Mark Birch (two 21st kids) found themselves in. Different isn’t it? Find out more of a world of danger, intrigue and timetravelling teenagers…..
My Uncle Bernard is nearly 80 and nearly blind, which means the copy of The End of the Pier Affair I sent him for Christmas will sit upon the shelf unread. So: we had a cunning plan; we would record a copy for him. It doesn’t need to be studio quality. I’m not selling it. So… download Audacity, commandeer Dad’s microphone, and we’re ready for business. What could possibly go wrong?
That’s what keeps going wrong!
The amount of takes we’ve had to do because she interrupts, asks questions; sneezes and coughs!
You can quite see why Hitchcock preferred closed sets!
Lucy and Mark have been in the thick of it recently, and my attempts to make sense of their situation has kept me busy.
There have been writes and rewrites, as I have attempted to bring Lucy and Mark back together despite Hitler’s precise orders to the contrary. The pairs’ journey from Blenheim to London has changed repeatedly – helicopter, plane and car. With Mengele; without him.
I’ve had Valentin Von Schmidt go after them to be shot and killed by Mengele; to arrive just in time to see the two of them vanish into the distortion. To arrive in the nick of time and then be killed by Mengele
None of it was working.
Was this writer’s block?
Well you know me: I googled. Originally, writer’s block was defined as an inability to produce new work. Well that’s not the problem, excerpts of the third book are bouncing around in my head.
I googled Scott Fitzgerald – one of the world’s most famous sufferers from writers’ block. And that wasn’t it. You see I’m under no illusions. My tales of Lucy and Mark are no Great Gatsby. I’m not unable to write because I think this work is inferior to what has gone before. So why? Was I making it too complex? Or not simple enough?
In the course of my reading, I discovered stress and other work related worries can cause block. But these guys came out of my head in response to the stresses of the so called real world. Those stresses haven’t changed. Dead end.
Eventually I decided that maybe my block was the consequence of not listening to what my characters were telling me about one person in particular… Valentin Von Schmidt
You see, I’d got it in my head that Von Schmidt was fundamentally a good guy. That he would be redeemed by a gallant act of bravery. But he’s not a fundamentally good guy.
But Von Schmidt is different. He’s a white blond, blue eyed Austrian in his late 40′s. His father was a diplomat at the court of Kaiser Wilhelm; his godfather was Bismarck. Before the war he was a doctor, in the Austrian Navy and rose rapidly through the ranks. By 1949 he’s a vice admiral. Frances Stephenson tells Lucy that he was with them in Llandudno in 1914. And suddenly the historians’ amongst you will see my problem. Bismarck died in 1898.
Now all I have to do is work out what is he lying about
2. His age
3. His godfather
all of the above…
or something else entirely?
One of the best reads I’ve had in a while. The characters move back and forth in time uncovering surprising twists and turns in our history. The characters are interesting and lively, the story takes you on a journey and urges you to read on until the end. Overall, ‘The End of the Pier Affair’ is a must read for teenagers and adults alike.
Originally posted on More than a Cat:
As an historian, I usually don’t have a lot of time for geography. It’s professional pride. We’re at opposite ends of the humanities – and like daleks and cybermen, historians and geographers are fundamentally different. One is a noble exponent of detection, the other a mere scientist.
but for Phyllis Pearsall, I am prepared to make an exception. Because like our Kate Shrewsday and a post of hers earlier in the year on Kaspar, Phyllis Pearsall was also instrumental in solving my plot problems.