I’ve really taken the novel so far to pieces. I wasn’t too happy with the shape and I’d got some information from the girls’ letters in the wrong place. Today, however, I’m pleased to say, I’ve found an overall shape for the novel. It will be in three times as well as three strands.
The first part will show the beginnings of the Holocaust as the girls perceive it and the outbreak of World War II. A second section will show a period of relative stability, though not a comfortable period: acceptance of Jewisheness by main character and some familiarity with life during a war. The German’s girls’ innocence will be at its sharpest here. The third part will be about the gradual realisation by all of the players of what is going on – and this will include a nervous breakdown of the main character. The resolution is of the main character accepting Englishness, the German girls wanting to do something to rectify the situation and the efforts of Clara Lehrs paying off –even though the reader has to come to terms with her horrific death. The challenge will be making the ending upbeat but not in danger of playing down the horror.
I may include an epilogue later on: I may describe the reunion of the women who wrote the letters.
As usual, when one looks at what one has written previously, one finds a thousand faults with the writing. It’s hardly surprising that this time the faults are even greater: I’ve not touched the text for over three years. Hopefully, my normal editing routines will rectify this.
I’m now almost certain that my next project might be a biography of Clara Lehrs – possibly written for young adults.