Now that the final chapter of The Passport To The Wall has been unleashed upon the universe at large, the next stage of ILONA’s story begins.
And that is the Annotations.
Right from the start of the book I made plans to bullet point out where different characters and concepts and thoughts came from, chapter by chapter. And right from the start of this idea I had no roadmap telling me if this would translate to three posts, five posts, or forty-two posts.
Basically, I had no clue how much babblings Passport would produce by me.
So before we begin this anatomy lesson, all this is written with the presumption that you, the reader, have already read all 52+1 chapters of The Passport To The Wall. Reading the other short stories here on Scoops Mental Propaganda would also be a good thing, since Passport crosses over with all of them. All because I loooove the extra work that entails.
Let’s start with the concept. Some years back I noticed how communities of people would and could form, even temporarily for a microburst of a few seconds, over the love of a fandom. Now this is not exactly a revelation, but more than once several disparate people, all in love with the same book lets say, would be around me. A joke or a comment about said book would pop out of my mouth and the resulting laughter created this little conclave of a community. For one brief shining moment.
Repeating this on several occasions, over a lengthy period of time, the result was always the same. My mind wondered if these people, always different each time, actually hung out and were friends, really good friends. Amazing friends who truly loved each other and also, for good measure, loved their fandoms.
With that piece in mind, my thoughts moved into the opposite direction for a bit. What if you were a person who had no friends, were lonely beyond belief, and suffering from some traumas that afflicted so many aspects of your life. And yes, this person also had no fandoms to brighten their souls even.
I know, definite extremes.
And marrying them together just seemed so natural.
A group of young girls in grade five, the last year before they head off to middle school with the teen years looming large, are extremely close. They hang out every lunchtime at a school wall reading and reading and being besties forever.
Into this comes ILONA, a very very lonely young girl who gets the same book the girls at the wall are reading, and uses it to meet and befriend them.
Tucking the idea away, I went about my business and never even thought of what to do with it fully, since Scoops Mental Propaganda wasn’t even born yet.
Now shortly after this blog perked into existence, the first short story I had written in decades and decades was under development. And early on in the process I figured that connecting all of my fiction was right and fun and creates a burden of monumental proportions.
So when Finding Sally was being created, I already knew Nicholas the unnamed man, was the father of one of the girls. And I immediately knew the smartphone belonged to another girl’s mother. And that Nicholas’s appearance had to happen before I brought the daughter into Passport. Just because.
With that in mind, and notes duly updated, The Chat came along in my brain. And right away I knew that Joshua and Tracey were the older siblings of some of the girls. Hence, The Chat is the first time you see Madison and the first mention of the Muskrats, who we find out are Clara and Jackson.
The Truth, while seeming like an outlier, was early on going to be a Youtube show that would annoy the girls. The Judy Blume part came much later.
The Long Drive To Nowhere brings us Cara, a girl who in many ways was more damaged then ILONA, but also had tremendous potential as well. Bringing her in late in Passport, as a foster child living with one of the girls, fit my plans very well. And of course Cara was Nicholas’s daughter from Finding Sally.
Just before I actually started writing Passport, I knew that the journey of ILONA required a look at the circular nature of what she went through. Elinor is a very different little girl from ILONA is at the start of Passport, in thought and deed and relationships. And Elinor is not even in Kindergarten yet. Say Hello To The Clouds, released before Passport even began, featured the first appearance of ILONA.
Which means before I wrote Say Hello To The Clouds, I had to map out the trip ILONA takes, going from introvert to extrovert, sheltered to shelterer, friendless to friendfull. This was always going to be ILONA’s journey, and Clouds would solidify that.
And with that I shall close this part of the dissertation on The Passport To The Wall. Next time, hopefully soon, I will look at how Four O’clock Appointment with Joy along with Kimberly and Jason, two later short stories, fit into the grand plan. And if all goes well, maybe even a breakdown of how ILONA was built into what she is.
And darn it, no bullets points yet because we haven’t even touched anything in Chapter One at all.
Till next time!
…is currently reading Fables v. 17 Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham.