Sunday 25 March 2012

Another edit completed

Yes, I’ve just completed another edit. Just three more to go. This time it was the “Kill Off Your Darlings” edit.  I only found one, actually. It was one rather melodramatic sentence at the end of a chapter. It wasn’t needed.  The chapter had its own internal drama. Least said by the author the more the reader can decide for themselves. This is especially important in books written for young adults.  
However, I found a slight lack of logic in one of the very early chapters. Renate was supposed to be leaving Nuremberg in time to arrive at Stuttgart by two. That’s why she had got up so early. She’d thought she would be going straight after breakfast. I’ve had to make it clear that her mother was dithering with her packing and delaying their departure. She wasn’t, of course.  She was delaying telling Renate that they were Jewish.
I also found several examples of my favourite typos – “form” instead of “from”. The read out loud edit is yet to come and that actually usually deals with this sort of problem. Not all of the instances, though – which is why copy editors and proof readers really earn their keep and why self-publishers should use them.   

Saturday 24 March 2012

Defying Hitler

I went to see this the other night at the Lowry Studio. Although I’m on their list and several other lists, I only found out about this two days before from Salford Online, via Twitter. I’m glad I did. And the theatre was packed, anyway.
Defying Hitler is adapted for stage by Rupert Wickham from SebastianHaffner’s book. In the original German memoir it was called Gechsichte eines Deutschen (the story / history of a German). Haffner, then named Raimund Preztel, came to England in 1938 where he married his Jewish girlfriend. His son Oliver Pretzel found the text and published it after Haffner’s death.       
Haffner honed his writing skills by working on the Observer for many years. This memoir is now on my reading list.
The play is presented as a monologue superbly executed by Russell Bright. This is a touring production offered by Theatre Unlimited.        
Haffner’s main act of defiance was leaving the country. He felt uncomfortable under the Nazi regime but did not openly rebel against it. He remembers the hyperinflation and how the family would have to spend all of his father’s monthly salary within 24 hours before it became worthless on non-perishable food.
I learnt for the first time that Hitler started to mess around with people’s pensions. I was reminded of several other facts: the Nazi party got in with 40% of the votes, Hitler was the hero who brought life back to normal after a devastating recession, the young tycoons’ bubble burst, the “Volk” was respected and loved but you had to belong,  there was no place for the old and the infirm, the man on the street was deprived of books and an underclass was created.
I went to the production alone. It didn’t feel exactly easy to send an email round to colleagues asking them whether they wanted to join me in an evening of Defying Hitler. My husband declined to come. But I quite like going to the theatre alone. It’s just as valid as sharing the experience with others and as this is such an important contribution to my research it seemed right.