Revising Leah

July 23, 2008

Actions and Reactions

Filed under: Uncategorized — J.M. Reep @ 12:27 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m not doing a lot of large-scale revising of the kind that I was doing a month ago, but there are a few spots in the text where revision is still necessary. One example is in chapter 10. Here, Leah is infatuated with David, eager to see him both in and out of history class (the only class that they share). In the earlier drafts, I describe Leah actively searching for David before school, in between classes, at lunch, and after school. The trouble, though, was that it almost seemed like she was stalking him. Her active pursuit of David was definitely out of character for her, and when I was working through chapter 10 a few weeks ago, I knew that I had to fix it. I guess I was working on something else in the text at the time because I chose to put it off until later. In this round of revisions/editing, I took care of it.

What I did was try to transform Leah’s active search for David into something more passive. For example, when she is waiting for school to start in the morning, she sees David exiting the school bus. When the bell rings, Leah hesitates following the crowd into the school building in the hope of getting close to David. In the last draft of the text, she does this in a rather active way, but I tweaked the scene so that now she behaves more passively. When David approaches her, drawn forward by the crowd, I describe Leah standing still, waiting for him to notice her and say something to her. He doesn’t, of course, and she is disappointed.

Later in the day, at lunch, Leah doesn’t search for David in the cafeteria, but when she sits down at her usual table outside on the patio, she fantasizes about David searching for her, finding her alone, and spending his lunch hour with her. Again, I’ve set up Leah to be the passive recipient of David’s action — even if it’s all in Leah’s imagination.

Perhaps this is more “passive-aggressive” than simply “passive,” but it is more in line with her character. Leah, in her interactions with other people, prefers to let them speak to her. She responds rather than initiates; she reacts to others instead of taking action.


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