First lady of the keys, a real-time review – part 7

Part 7 “Spooky”

So is it a ghost story? Are all the books in the series ghost stories?

Who knew?
Well, Lucy, I suppose. I should probably ask.
But I’m not sure she would tell me; that might ruin the fun.
And we all know Lucy likes her fun…
Another Brit phrase: Sod’s law. Huh?

Another great line:
“When furniture becomes unreasonable, one must look out, you know.”

Unreasonable furniture. This won’t do.
But a rare clue to our mystery: PorterGirl doesn’t log a curious incident into the Incident Book. Maybe no spooky incidents do. That’s why Old College can say it isn’t haunted. But I’m starting to wonder if it is.
“A Reasonable Explanation”
Now about 1/3 of the way through the book, I feel very comfortable with all the characters and the storytelling style – and have for a while. I mention this because I often tell new authors of the audience stats with you for 70 pages (or 80; whatever) they’ll probably stay with you to the end.
Lucy’s PorterGirl character has great charm. She’s cute and curious but not naive. She’s self deprecating but not overly insecure. She’s flawed in small ways but determined.

She’s vulnerable.

So we’re pulling for her.

And the lighthearted nature of Lucy’s storytelling style indicate to me that nothing bad is going to happen to PorterGirl, so I can relax and enjoy the ride. Which I am.

Lucy’s style is fun and engaging, with a lot of humor underpinned with many small mysteries afoot, possibly a large mystery.

I mean, we can’t say for sure if they’re large or small, really. They’re mysteries. 

Another great line: 
“Reading is very important, but it is variety of reading that’s most important.”
I like that. I’ll have to ask Lucy if she made that up or quoted somebody. And I’ll have to make a note to add more quotable lines to my own stories.
Here’s another British phrase, and I’m not letting this one at the feet of Lucy, but for all of you:

Mum, or mummy. As in, mother.

See, when I see the word mummy, I think of The Mummy. I don’t know what you guys think of. But it occurs to me that when you see the movie The Mummy are you reading it like The Mommy? Because then it’s not scary at all. Unless your mommy was scary – which she may have been.
How do you guys reconcile that? Do they change the title in Britain? I don’t think so. Tom Cruise’s film opened while we were there; I saw posters. The Mummy. I can’t imagine a whole movie with a wrapped up dead Egyptian being called The Mommy. Just doesn’t work.
Get back to me on that, would you?

OK, back to the story.

PorterGirl has mentioned that she suspects – and the suspicion is fueled by actual remarks by other people, mind you – that she was chosen for the job because she will be bad at it.
I mentioned earlier these comments served to undermine her confidence, but she has also resolutely set out to prove them wrong. However, she does mention it on occasion, which means she has at least in part bought into the idea. And at this point when she raises the question again, it is in the auspice is of looking for other employment.
Constantly bringing back up that stressful item, which is basically reminding the reader of one of the elements of tension in the story, never allows us to wander too far into the comfort zone. When we relax, she reminds us we shouldn’t. That’s good. Tension drives stories. Lucy has done a good job of balancing humor and tension in this story.
At the start of “What The Professor Said,” PorterGirl lists the mysteries that are currently working on her brain.
Not the one about professor Fox, however. But that’s for later, I’ll bet.

And at about 40% of the way through the book, that’s not a bad thing to do.

Keep your reader aware of the stakes.

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