Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Plot Developments

I may not have done a lot of writing this past week, but I have done a fair amount of thinking and I've come up with some new ideas for the second half of the book.

For starters, when Dad, Miranda, Alex and Julie get to the convent, they discover it's no longer there (this is a huge change, since it keeps Alex and Julie in the book until either the very end or very close to it). Having nowhere else to go, Alex and Julie return with Miranda and Dad, and resume living at Mrs. Nesbitt's. There's a lot of pressure on Alex anyway for Julie to stay with Dad and Lisa, and this only adds to his confusion about what to do with her. This could make the scene where Jon talks about the safe town even more powerful, since now it makes sense that that that remains an option for Alex in terms of Julie's future. Does he leave her with strangers where he knows she will be safe, or does he leave her with people she's come to love, but no guarantees about the future. All of which is news to everybody except Julie.

After the tornado, everyone moves back to the LAWKI house, but there's no electricity. That means the electric space heaters no longer work, and the families sleep in shifts in the sunroom (and since Alex and Julie are still there, that's 10 people plus the baby). The washer and drier no longer work and (I just realized this), all the food at Mrs. Nesbitt's has been lost.

I'm not sure what day of the week the tornado is going to hit, but most likely Monday, after they've gotten their food for the week, or Tuesday.

I think just to make the characters suffer more, following the tornado there's going to be a horrible cold spell, temperatures below zero at night. Pipes may freeze. There's the realization that what they hear on the radio is what has already happened; there's no ability anymore to warn people about what's to come (like 10 day weather forecasts). Possibly there's ice on the roof, and that leads to Charlie falling off it.

Alex and Miranda go to town on Monday to get their food (so maybe the tornado is more like Wednesday/Thursday), and find City Hall is gone. Much of the town has been wiped out by the tornado. They also discover how hard it is to navigate the road, because of tree limbs and detritus. That's got to happen before Charlie falls off the roof, so maybe the tornado is Thursday/Friday.

It's got to work something like this- tornado/cold spell/no food in City Hall but no certainty that they can travel/Charlie falls off the roof. Leaving has to be just as desperate a choice as staying.

Mom says she isn't going to go; she'll tough it out. Miranda, who has walked the four miles to town and who has fears of her own, says she'll stay home with Mom. Either Mom or Matt say Miranda must leave. They're all aware, although none of them are saying it, that no matter how risky leaving might be, staying home is suicide.

Then Syl says she and Matt will stay with Mom, and Matt agrees. That night, Miranda thinks this is the last she'll ever see her mother and her older brother (and Syl too for that matter).

So Miranda's last diary entry has to be her first night on the road, since when they leave, Mom, Matt and Syl do go with them. It's nine of them now (unless Alex has already left before the tornado, which remains a possibility), and they can't have gotten very far, given the condition of the road. Oy. This book is going to end even more uncertainly than LAWKI/d&g. I love it, but I'm not sure how readers will feel.