I kind a lost track of the real time thing, so there will be a few of these coming quickly.
There are some unusual (to me) words and phrases in this story, so I thought I would point a few out. (Normally I would just ask Lucy but it’s inconsequential; you pretty much figure out the meaning by the context.)
Maybe this is how Brits speak. That helps with immersing the reader in the story, too.
Here are a few:
Seemed rather twee
Applying for the job was a complete punt
(I think it was: Looked at us like) Common oils
OK, back to my real time review of the story…
The chapters don’t have numbers, so there’s no chapter 1 or chapter 2; instead they have names. Chapter one is called “The First Day” and that’s easy enough to follow, but Chapter 7 is called “Suited And Booted.” (I’m too lazy to keep counting them so I’ll just refer to them the way the author did.)
So that’s where I am now.
And another great British phrase has reared its head:
“Getting right on my wick.”
Her observation of college youthfulness is absolutely brilliant. I’m sure everybody thinks they were pretty good in college – and ten years later finds people that age quite annoying. Lucy’s character sure does.
I like the British politeness – although it might be unique to Old College. When her coworker has to interrupt her, he calls her ma’am.
Oh, she got her bowler hat!
Hard to imagine PorterGirl (or Lucy) without it.
I’ll admit, I was kind of disappointed when she didn’t wear it around Cambridge during my visit…
Ha! The chapter ends on a great note of pride. I won’t ruin it for you – I guess I kind of just did – but we will keep going.
Chapter Next: “An Interesting Concept”
As I mentioned, the chapters don’t really have numbers, they just have names; they are short, but there are a lot of them. About seventy.
Note to authors: That’s not a big deal; in fact, short chapters lend themselves to a quick reading pace. Your readers will find themselves flying through the story partly because after three pages they’ve finished a chapter.
Here’s another good note for authors, whether you’re writing a story or trying to write dialogue
When she arrives at work in her new uniform, the Porter on duty is a little nervous and has something to tell her:
” ‘You know the old deputy headquarter? The old boy who was here before you?’
“I don’t know him but it stands to reason that there was someone here before me.”
To me, that’s funny and conveys information at the same time.
Interjecting stuff like that into your prose helps establish a mood or break up tension. It’s a great device and Lucy uses it well. I try to do that myself which is probably why I enjoy it when other authors do it.
Just so you don’t think I’m going on and on about Lucy, I reference this as a device used in many blockbuster movies, too. Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park does this. Han Solo does it constantly through the Star Wars movies. You can have moments of action and adventure and romance and high drama that are all interspersed with lighthearted quips. Moviegoers – and readers – love it.
And readers love a mystery – as introduced to us on about page 35 of this book. Not the first one, mind you, and not the last, I’m sure, but another one.
Rowling did that a lot, too. Constantly dripping in new little mysteries for us to wonder about. It’s a brilliant device. I wish I had learned to do that in some of my stories. You can bet I’m going to start!
Aww, and some concern being sewn in for PorterGirl. That’s too bad. She was just starting to move from insecure and fish out of water to being secure; now that’s been undermined.
She’s deflated – and us with her – but we have our mystery.
This is another really good chapter because it starts out with her being so full of pride at wearing her brand-new uniform, and over the short span of three pages she is completely deflated.
And of course we have to read on to find out how she deals with that.