Monday, 1 August 2011

The girls’ voices

Well, I’ve now finished the fictional letters 1938-1941. I have included the first one based on the volume of letters from 1941-1944. This happens to be one written by the class teacher Hanna Braun. She is the only one where I’ve kept the name, though this may change.
In artistic terms, she’s useful as she comments on all of the girls’ letters and helps to remind the reader what has happened in the last round. And as she’s a teacher, she does make some astute observations. Is she some sort of Greek chorus? Is she the mentor? Should I take poetic license and make her the one who is imprisoned for a year? That would be a handy way of getting her out the way, I suppose. I’ll think about that one.
And in this one the potatoes in spring come up again! Maybe the title will work after all.
I notice I have the same tone in this letter as I do in the others. Of course I had read all of the letters before I started the fictional ones. I’m using my mother-in-law’s translation at the moment. I’d have no problem with the German though I do have some problems with the handwriting. Though the letters were translated in the 1980s I think they retain something of a 1940s’ young German voice with the teacher sounding a little more adult, though I perceive her to be a quite young teacher. It seems to work and I’m pretty sure I’m not making it too old-fashioned for the 21st century readership. The longest letter extract is 700 words, but that is exceptional. They average at 350 – in other words only a little longer than an average blog post.

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