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Rewriting of a Novella - School of Breaking

14 February 2018

This winter I decided to go back to a novella I had written in 2013, self-published through Lightning Source in 2014, called School of Breaking. I suppose I have a hard time letting go of ideas, especially ones I've been nourishing for years. The truth is that I still loved the ideas in it, and so it seemed a shame - and was a constant bother - that they were serviced by a very sub par execution.


So, I went back and edited the whole thing. Trying to stay true to what I had learned then and what I was trying to get across, and because I wanted to put this thing to rest in my mind forever and move on to other ideas, I didn't change a single idea. I did change almost all of the dialogue to what I hoped were more clever and natural words to illustrate rather than just bluntly say, removed an ineffectual character, added one quick scene where something had been missing, and altered almost every description to move better through this dreamlike sequence. I also redid the cover font to fit the mood better.


Some brief words on this project: set in Europe, in places I have never actually been to (but countries I have been to, so not totally off base I hope), it was ostensibly inspired by the trip I took there, but its true inspiration came directly from my 3 month training in Quantico that followed shortly after. Though I don't work there anymore, that training and a few minds I met there - in very close quarters - changed my way of thinking and looking at the world forever, in essentially the same way that the main character, Emile, has her own perception changed by relocating from a simple life to a very upside down boarding school.


The story is intentionally vague and open to interpretation. At the time, and for years after, I didn't quite know my own beliefs or where I stood, value-wise. There were so many ways to be and so many new things - new approaches - surely they had to have merit, and for some reason more merit than my own ways. Now in my ripe old age I can say with more confidence every day that Emile should definitely ignore everything posited by these maladjusted individuals, go back to Locronan, and take up sailing. Apparently it is a sailing Mecca, something I did not know when I chose that location as the setting of her personal Eden.


But, I'm still happy with the novella's approach and imagery and its dance along the line between the world of imagery and drunkenness and a more literal reality full of hangovers under sober light.