May 19, 2010

You go into detail describing Holly’s grandmother’s items in the garage attic. Why? They only become pertinent to the story at one point, but it’s obvious you are saying that Mitch isn’t seeing something, that they are necessary to the story. — Laurene

Laurene wonders why I spent ten lines or so, in Chapter 12, describing Holly’s grandmother’s items stored in the garage attic. Well, a lot is going on in this scene aside from the action, and it has to do with the theme of the discovery of evil, mentioned above. Evil and chaos are often equated. The evil that has entered Mitch’s life, for which he is unprepared, is about to spawn chaos when the gunman in the garage accidentally falls to his death, complicating Mitch’s situation enormously. Mitch’s cruel upbringing was evil, while Holly’s grandmother raised her in a benign atmosphere of love and order–which is one reason Mitch is so intensely drawn to Holly, for she embodies the reason and order for which he yearns. By bringing to your attention the grandmother’s collections, and the ebullient traditions with which she celebrated every major and minor holiday, I am hoping to establish, in ten lines, the contrast between Mitch’s childhood and Holly’s. In Chapter 15, on page 98, when Mitch stands in the garage attic, thinking that an important truth is hiding from him in plain sight, he is beginning to come to the recognition that Evil and Good exist, that the definition of evil is not relative, and that the loveless and irrational world of his father is beginning to poison the loving and ordered life he has built with Holly–which it is indeed poisoning, through the medium of his brother. Now I’ve just spent ten times more words explaining why grandma’s collections were described than I used to describe them in the first place. But I’ve always believed that this kind of subtle building of background is preferable to three pages of flashbacks to show the grandma being a loving person and a keeper of traditions!

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