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“My Amelia, I’ve missed you terribly. Tonight is worth, to me, any consequences that may come of it.” -- Espionage
For all of Miriam’s beauty and natural poise, her severity was unmatched. -- Glow
PEOPLE VS. OUR CREATOR "We create our gods, not the other way around." -- Clockwork Horrorshow's Unjust -Injustice for All-
"You're dead, Julia." -- Quarantine
“I almost forgot which one you were, girr.” -- The Mannequin Diaries

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 Chapter Nine (Breakdown)

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Clockwork Horrorshow
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PostSubject: Chapter Nine (Breakdown)   Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:34 pm

tl;dr: Julia goes to the NYPL to research Ben. She is confused to find his obituary. Ben died heroically. When she confronts him, he is reluctant to tell her that he is indeed dead, and she is too. "You're dead, Julia."

It isn’t a movie, Julie,” she reminded herself, shaking her head. “Things like that don’t happen in real life.” She rolled her eyes to herself, ready to close the window and pretend everything fit into place, when she remembered.----Another one of those 'who are you convincing' things. I think this should be Xed.

---If you're keeping the whole library scene, I do like the way she searches for him in NY before realizing it is in Georgia. That seems like a highly realistic way for that to occur.

---Okay, I don't want to be the one who says it, but for the betterment of this story, I must. Ben's death is too 'good.' His character has already been built up as this crooked smile, kindhearted fellow, yet his death is far supersceding that notion. It makes him too good, you know? Like, of course you died saving a girl from being bullied, and of course she has down syndrome. It's too Lifetime. Please forgive me for saying that. 14 yr old Tommie, it's too Lifetime. We needed people to tell us this then. But I'm saying it now, and I'm sure you know it.

The last one Julia clicked made her heart stop, and clicked everything into place. It was a copy of the sepia picture in the bottom of her messenger bag. 1975. ‘Who could kill this little boy?’ was captioned next to the picture on the FreeWebs his mother had created in his honor after his death. Copyright, 2001. Print. ---This part is either really vital, or really irrelevant. As it stands here, it is irrelevant almost. It verifies everything she's searched even further, but at the same time, I feel it's a good place to open up more info about his Mom should you decide to keep this scene.

“It’s impossible,” she whispered, hating herself for even humoring the idea. “Breathe,” she whispered. “Okay, think about it. If you were reading a book, and you read this, you would be so upset with the stupid main character…you would be screaming ‘it is possible, accept it already!’…so at least humor the thought.” Julia sighed, realizing she was losing her sanity. “If Ben is dead…then I’m dead too. Or…” she ran the alternatives through her head. “A necrophiliac. I’m dead or a necrophiliac.” Neither sounded too appealing. “I’ll ask him tonight,” she decided, shoving all of the papers into the floor and unmuting CNN, just in time to hear her ex-boyfriend talking to Larry King, swearing he had nothing to do with her disappearance.  

-----Okay, I want you to keep some parts of this, and X others. I think you should X the part about if it was a book. I like the necrophiliac part, however, much needed humor in such a tense situation. I think instead of trying to rationalize that he might be dead, Julia would be more skeptical of Ben here. It's more rational for her to assume he faked his death, or something like that. And become possibly angry, but definitely cautious of him. Also, bridge the scenes together where this one cuts and when Ben comes in.

She slowly turned her head toward him, her eyes piercing directly into him. “Who are you?” ---Keep. Keep. Keep. This is too real.

Ben put his hand on Julia’s arm, his eyes darkening. “You’re better off ignorant,” he hissed in return, a half-conscious glare in his eyes. “If you insist on knowing, I won’t lie to you…but you’re going to have to trust me.” He paused before swallowing and looking Julia straight in the eye. “Do you trust me?” ----Ben isn't giving Julia time to respond. By responding for her, the reader is cheated out of what should be a back and forth here. And for the love of God, ask if she trusts you one more again, Ben. I dare you. It's okay if you X him asking her that, and I think Julia could bring up the trust issue with something like, "How am I supposed to trust you....etc."

He was supposed to tell her, but she was supposed to trust him…and the fact that she didn’t was a blow he couldn’t quite recover from.-----X, X, X. Of course she can't trust him here. He has lied to her. It's irrational for him to think this.

----No scene jump from him slamming her toes in the door and him explaining the papers. And I'm going to stop bringing up the TRUST thing, you know how to stop harping on that. I'm sure you're kicking yourself for having him ask so many times.

“Crazy, right? I thought it was a joke,” he scoffed, but there was an unsettling sadness in his voice. Julia felt the tears well once again as she watched his eyes shift over the coffee table. “Just like in the movies. The kind of stab you see, laugh at, and acknowledge doesn’t exist. Dead before he even hit the floor. It was a freak accident.”
----If your going to stick to the stabbed scenario, I really like this particular bit. It seems illogical, but really honest and likely at the same time.

{ Ben looked up, a new emotion filling his face. Shock. “You still don’t get it? Julie…he succeeded, he didn’t try to do anything. He did. He didn’t succeed in hurting the girl, but…in what he did to me.” Ben stared at Julia, hoping the realization would show through her eyes; it pained him once it did. “I’m dead, Julia.”

The girl didn’t say anything for a long while. Dead. It made everything make sense…except for logic itself. She nodded finally, unable to breathe as the pieces fell together.

“And, Julie?” Ben stood before moving to the couch and taking a seat next to her. He took both of her hands in his, grateful when she didn’t pull away. “You’re dead, too.” }


-----Ah, the immortal scene. And he doesn't even say, "You're dead, Julia." You know you have to change it so he does, don't you? Because that's literally the tag line for this book and will always be. What a fucking spoiler though. Maybe we should change the tag line for the future rendition, but we can always hold this one in our hearts. Anyhow, I like how this scene starts, but it is extremely anti-climactic if you put the entire thing into perspective. Him being dead making sense to Julia after he says it doesn't actually make sense. I know you can make this way more dramatic, and I know you will. So, the act and dialogue in the first paragraph is good, but the next two fall short.

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Scottie Elisabeth
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Nine (Breakdown)   Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:47 pm

Library

I have “DECENT!” written at the very top of this chapter, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say most of it is at least moderately salvageable. This is the chapter where I glanced at a scene the other day and thought “oh, that’s clever” which is a FIRST for Quarantine and me. Yay!

NYPL
Salvageable. Julia.

I have “SALVAGEABLE” written very large on the side of the page. I guess there was too much to mark to save, so that was my catch all. I’ll want to go through and really comb this when I rewrite it, because it seems to be sustainable as is.

I have a note on the following: “A brother? A relative? Just a hell of a coincidence?” — Cut the “just” and begin the sentence with “A” and it will be stronger.

Change the Ben’s death story to fit the new prologue.

Rationalizing
Unnecessary. Julia.

Just cut this. No need for it.

The Reveal - Build Up
Salvageable. Julia & Ben.

The trusting stuff is getting old. I get what’s happening, Ben wants her to trust him before he tells her this big fuck-you secret, but it sounds sort of psycho. Chill, Benny boy!

Keep:

“Julia thought she had…until she found the yearbook. Now everything was a muddy pile of nothing. “No,” she lied, dropping her head to avoid his eyes. Who was she convincing; she knew full well she would believe him, no matter how absurd his explanation was, because any explanation was better than none.” — I feel like this ABSOLUTELY sums up the crazy going on, in a good way. I’m asking the reader to believe this absolutely bizarro concept and to do so, I need Julia to rationalize why it needs to be accepted as fact.

The Actual Reveal
Salvageable. Julia & Ben.

Okay, here we go! You’re dead, Julia! Except apparently that was Quarantine 1 and is no longer actually in the text! Whoops!

Also, oops, cross legged, not Indian style. Let’s not have racist undertones, pretty please.

And cut the jock hate. Alienating certain types of readers + inciting unnecessary negatives to a group that aren’t relevant in my story. This isn’t high school and that was a very shitty high school thing to say. I don’t need the “oh, this writer was a misunderstood snowflake” connotations.

Cut Ben’s interpretation of how he died. Why would he know this? Nah. With the prologue + the articles Julia finds, I don’t need him to walk her through it step by step when he’s not even clear what happened. Prologue fixes all of this.

Also, oops. “I…I kept my eyes on the guy, on that girl…and stepped back. He was staring past me, and when I turned to look…I didn’t understand.” — Sorry, Ben. I’ve changed the rules of Quarantine since this. Since you were in the hall, you immediately would have been alone (well, with the other dead in the hall, which there aren’t, as referenced in the prologue!). Sorry, Ben. Inside, separate worlds. Outside, same world.

In the part where Ben’s all “he didn’t try, he did,” maybe show Julia the scar I reference in the prologue? The mark that lets Ben know that he is indeed dead? That seems like a solid way of solidifying his story and would segue into the tracheotomy guy, being as though Julia said it didn’t look like he could possibly survive such a thing.

“You’re dead, too” vs “You’re dead, Julia.” I like it how it is currently, and I think we agreed on that at the time, and I think the end of the scene flows beautifully, but is “You’re dead, Julia” the better line? I think I used it in my query letters even though it isn’t in my book apparently. Whoops.

Keep:

“Anything but nothing.”

Ben’s “My mom…” monologue.

“The girl didn’t say anything for a long while. Dead. It made everything make sense…except for logic itself.”
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