Reading Journal: Passion Play

As I’ve mentioned something like a thousand times, I’m writing a boarding school mystery—or eternally trying to. (The novel as a form seems extra challenging to this short story writer.) As part of my research, I’ve been immersing myself in this specific genre, one with many, many iterations out there!

I’m not sure how I’ve so far missed reading W. Edward Blain’s Passion Play, since I’m an admirer of his short stories already—and since he and I have a connection of sorts: He’s the former chair of the English Department at Woodberry Forest, a boarding school in Virginia, and I graduated from the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Woodberry’s long-time rival. Perhaps needless to emphasize, but both of us have drawn/are drawing on our experiences in that world for our work.

There’s an argument to be made for avoiding novels too much like the one you’re trying to write—don’t want to duplicate anything, don’t want to feel intimidated by the idea that whatever you’re writing has been written before (and possibly better). But I think this kind of immersion can be inspiring in other ways, and I’m already feeling some inspiration from reading Ted’s novel. And specifically, from the very first, I’ve got a new idea: add a map! 🙂

I’m still in the early parts of the book but enjoying greatly. More ahead!