This time on Annotations to The Passport To The Wall, we finally start the bullet points!
And now we embark onto Chapter One: The Beginning!
• Set-up right away of ILONA and her despair contrasted with the fun and merriment of the schoolyard.
• SummerFall Junior School is the locale.
• ILONA is in grade 5 and is 12. Adding to the mystery of why and what caused her depression. Few kids are 12 in grade 5.
• ILONA is incorrect here in her perception that the girls just became friends this year.
• Her parents being loving and supportive was something I wanted to stress.
• And that ILONA is a latchkey kid, doing the cooking and cleaning in the apartment.
• Mention ILONA having dark hair, just like grandmother Stacy. And mother running fingers through hair, something I go back to several times.
• Old country. Her dad is from the old country, but we later see ILONA has no idea where.
• Everyone lies about their day while having fun at dinner.
• The using of a book to make friends is brought up.
• Song For This Chapter is All You Need Is Love by The Beatles. Kind of the theme of Passport.
• This is something I decided early on to do, pick a song for each chapter that fit the theme, action or character featured. Several chapters were picked waaaay in advance, a few not till closer to publication. And waiting till later I quickly realized was an extremely bad idea and can cause stress.
Chapter Two: Stew and Cookies
• Parents dancing around issue of money. Another sign of trouble in this family.
• Always planned to have the mom break first with getting the book.
• Not remembering the last time ILONA danced is another indication of family dysfunction.
• They knew this has to be fixed. This line is part of the long game to chapter 52, where the parents reveal all the changes they have done behind ILONA’s back.
• ILONA’s favourite pencil, replaced slightly after Christmas by her new used laptop. Another evolution for her.
• The name of the book and author are not revealed here. It is playfully called the Trident book, or the book with the man with the Trident on the cover. It is of course made up for this story and appears or is mentioned in every story I have so far done. And ILONA is so clueless of the series, that she thinks it is five parts.
• Mom calling ILONA kiddo, a term mot used in years, shows that the healing has already begun.
• Song For This Chapter: Goodbye, Goodbye by Tegan and Sara.
Chapter Three: Daring To Be Daring
• Having the book beside ILONA when she wakes up was a way to show how the parents wanted change asap as well.
• Again, a note from the mom inside the book shows the change already happening. Plus the signing of Mumma and Poppa, ILONA’s pet names for them from years ago, shows more healing.
• The lunch bit was some humour I always planned, just to lighten the mood abit.
• I loved the idea of ILONA having a happy spaz when she got the book. And saying I Love You to the book was also all part of the grand design.
• Parents leaving before ILONA gets up makes her a complete latchkey kid.
• Checking in excitement to make the book is in your bag is something we all have done.
• Saying goodbye to her apartment wall, even in happiness, and them not replying (yes, I know they can’t, but still) just struck me as sad.
• ILONA self diagnosing her loneliness just before starting her new life was something I knew she would have to do, in order to grow.
• I wanted ILONA to notice all the firsts with her friends. First wave.
• Clara introduced. And she is blonde.
• Early on with my fiction writing I decided to economize and not bother with plenty of character description of looks. I really wanted to emphasize who they are through words, tones, actions and relationships.
• And not describing Clara fit into my long term plans of eventually revealing that she is overweight.
• Admitting she hadn’t started the book yet sounded like a funny place to end that chapter at.
• Song For This Chapter: Bring It On by Seal. A rousing song for ILONA’s big change.
Chapter Four: The Girls At The Wall
• The first time all the girls at the wall talk to ILONA and it is a melee.
• I spent a great amount of time before this chapter making character sketches, all to figure out all the girls personalities. With all of my other short stories, I strived to make the dialogue feel natural to the person, and with Passport, writing these five girls all the time, I really had to nail their voices right away.
• ILONA has to be overwhelmed at first. Than quickly recovers.
• Maddie, aka Madison, is introduced. With a very over the top insane way.
• And ILONA’s first friendship handshake. With Madison, her complete opposite, being her first.
• Mention of Madison’s sister, later to be revealed as Tracey from The Chat.
• That list of crazy things Madison does will get longer and longer as Passport goes along.
• Collette is introduced. And again avoiding description allows me the freedom to eventually show that she is half white, half black.
• Susan introduced.
• Always thought it would be fun to have Susan and Collette driven to distraction by Madison’s words and actions.
• The girls being online a lot, whether through smartphones or laptops, was part of the plan, thought it would make it all feel more real.
• ILONA would hurt be cured of her despair right away. Setbacks would occur.
• Early on I decided Madison would change her ringtone constantly. And finding new ringtones that fit Madison became the bane of my existence constantly.
• Cynthia introduced. And she is the only one who knows ILONA’s name.
• And Cynthia’s caring nature comes through to ILONA. Which helps her to say her name for the first time to her new friends.
• Song For This Chapter: Yellow Submarine by The Beatles. The fun nature of this song and the merriment it implies fit ILONA’s new friends.
Well, that will be all for this dispatch. Hope you enjoyed.
Till next time!
…is currently reading Peacekeeper: The Road To Sarajevo by Major-General Lewis MacKenzie