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Saturday, August 20, 2011

A New Novel, Part 320 What were the Words?

20 August 2011, A New Novel, Part 320 What were the Words?

For those who haven’t been following this blog, let me introduce it a little. I am currently blogging my 21st novel that has the working title Daemon. The novel is about Aksinya, a sorceress, who, to save her family from the Bolsheviks, called and contracted the demon, Asmodeus. Her family was murdered anyway, and she fled with the demon from Russia to Austria.

Dobrushin and Aksinya married.  Aksinya and Dobrushin are in Boston, and Aksinya has come to an Orthodox girl's school looking for a job.  She is waiting for the headmistress to call on her, but she happens to be sitting next to a student... 

The maid turned a stern look at the girl then pointed to the seats.  Aksinya sat next to the girl.  The maid knocked at the office, entered and closed the door behind her.  She exited just a moment later, “The headmistress will call for you in a moment.”
Aksinya answered “Thank you.”
The girl beside her stared at Aksinya.
Aksinya stared back, “I’m Aksinya Andreiovna Lopuhin, and you are?”
The girl answered, “I’m Anastasiya, but everyone calls me Stacy.”  Her Russian was from Moscow, but the name Stacy was said purely in English.
Aksinya laughed, “Do you speak English?”
“Not well.  We’re supposed to learn it here.”
“Are you?”
“Too well.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“My brother taught me some words and the Sister didn’t like me to say them at all.”
“What were the words?”
Stacy motioned for Aksinya to lower her head a little and whispered into her ear.
Aksinya blushed, “Is that why you are here to speak to the headmistress?”
Stacy nodded woefully.
“You have a Nun teaching here?”
“Yes, she is Orthodox but not from Russia.”
“What does she teach?”
“English, German, and French, but mostly German.”
“I see.”

All right, here is an advanced method to show you about a character.  I set up a situation.  Here is a girl who is being punished for some misdeed.  I sit Aksinya next to her.  The ensuing conversation allows me to tell you something about the school, but even more about Aksinya.  This is a method to get across information to your readers without telling them anything.  Plus, you can use this type of conversational scene to get under the skin of your character a little. 

The first glance is interesting enough--the girl stares at Aksinya.  Aksinya looks odd enough for a child to stare at her.  We will discover why, but the point should be made that the girl feels comfortable about Aksinya--comfortable enough to stare.  Aksinya stares back--that's just Aksinya.  She introduces herself, and the girl, Stacy responds. 

The point I wanted you to get here is that the girl is from Moscow, but she is acclimating to America.  Stacy is certainly not a Russian diminutive for Anastasiya.  Stacy was pronounced so well in English, Aksinya asks about is, and we learn that part of this school's focus--English and assimilation.  Then we learn why Stacy is waiting to speak to the headmistress.  Notice, I never tell you the words--don't have to.  Your imagination provides them for me.  This also lets me bring up the point of a nun teaching at the school.  This is a foreshadowing, and one part of the reason I wanted to put in this scene.  We get a little information about this nun.  Tomorrow, more about Stacy.

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