A large part of the plot of City of the Invaders concerns a group of teenagers who are required to put on a play. A backdrop of politics in a gangster-led city provides some action, but most of the character dynamics comes from the Wyncon EC’s mandatory theatricals. The teenagers in this little group have an acting club and when Katia moves to the city with her brother, they are forced to take part. With comic results, of course. In spite of being amateur, these Wyncon productions are presented to a wide general audience and there’s nothing funnier than having people stuck in assigned roles—which may or may not be comfortable for them— without their consent.
Frank’s audition gave me a chance for some great character interactions, and the theatrical scenes throughout the book were fun to write. When I was younger, I was involved in dance performances. I wasn’t any good and only did them because it was recommended for my feet, so I guess I turned that into a bit of a comedy. Not that any of the book’s situations really happened or are even based on anything real. But the backstage, the milling around before performances, the feeling of “I look stupid, but I have to be here,”—maybe a bit of that did seep into the story at times. And of course I had ample exposure to great plays like those of Shakespeare. I studied many of them seriously to learn good writing tricks, but if you read something enough to know it in your sleep, you’re likely to find it funny now and then too.
From this came “The Works of Charles Glassware” an appendix I wrote years and years before the story itself. I summarized plots of famous works I thought were silly, however old they were, and invented an author for them—Charles Glassware. Eventually one of these works was reused as “The Pirate,” a bombastic historical play Frank, Katia, and Co. perform. “The Pirate” is a collision of lush ancient world movies like Ben-Hur with Norse-based epic fantasy, and you can easily imagine it wouldn’t be easy for a team of mismatched amateurs to pull it off. As the director, Mr. Coughing, says, “this year’s production will be one of our most challenging, considering our cast and budget.” And many of the lines from the play are sprinkled through the story. Just fun, fun to write.
And there will be more updates.
Young Adult Fiction Author
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