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Lottie Barrett Lives (Again)

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Let's see what the author of Lottie Barrett Lives (Again) says...


Mean Girls

I didn’t set out, with Lottie BarrettLives (Again), to write about mean girls. I really didn’t know much about them, just they could be mean sometimes to other girls. No, what I wanted to do, all I wanted to do with Lottie was write a story about a girl who died in 1866 and came back to life in 1966, Sleeping Beauty, and there was nothing mean about Sleeping Beauty. I pictured Lottie as cute and sweet and funny, except it turns out she isn’t. She could be those things and is, sometimes, but more often she’s…peculiar. She has too much going on inside her head, no surprise, what with being dead and coming back to a world much changed since she last saw it.



Lottie got cheated out of being a teenager the first time and she’s back now and doesn’t know for how long. She suspects it’s not for very long, and she’s looking for the things she missed the first time, and more. If she’s pushy and at times creepy, it’s not her fault.

It’s Charlene’s fault. Charlene is the girl who brought Lottie up out of her grave and that makes Lottie Charlene’s zombie and OK, Charlene isn’t very nice to her zombie, or to anyone else, either, but you know, Charlene raised Lottie up with The Book of Bitter Knowledge, a witch’s book that can turn a nice girl into a not-so nice girl. Charlene wasn’t very nice before she stole the book but now she’s insufferable, a real pill and is it her fault? Stealing the book was supposed to be a Halloween prank and now it isn’t funny and Charlene has to be responsible for the consequences of her actions, but I can’t help feeling for her – she’s just a kid who got in way over her head.

The girls in the book who are supposed to be mean are the girls from the Bleachery, a kind of industrial slum at the bottom of the village of Hope Mountain. This is 1966, so the things the Bleachery Girls do, like shoving other girls into the lockers, chewing gum in class, wearing jeans to school instead of dresses and skirts, yes, that’s how it was, those things might seem tame, compared to what some mean girls do today, but they were shocking, and mean, back then. The Bleachery Girls might better be called angry girls. Life is tough in the Bleachery and the worst thing about it may be the stigma – there’s a negative connotation with the label, Bleachery Girl. It’s what you are, who you are, and folks are going to say you are even if you aren’t, so you might as well be.

Except it turns out the Bleachery girls aren’t so bad after all. They rescue a good girl, Judy Diamond, from some other mean girls, the zombie girls. The zombie girls were vulnurable wallflowers until Charlene empowered them and power is often abused when it’s being wielded for the first time and with so many remembered slights.

I didn’t set out to write about mean girls. It just turned out I needed the mean girls (and some nice ones too,) to move my story forward and what I discovered about the mean girls, they’re fun to write, all villians are, and in their defense, when they do really, really bad things, it’s not really them. It’s Charlene and her awful book. Or maybe it’s just me.
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10 comments:

  1. What an interesting concept! I think mean girls could be fun to write. Not so fun to know or experience, though.

    Hi, Nas!

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    1. Hi Carol!

      Thanks for coming by!

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    2. Hi, Carol, you're right, mean girls are more fun to write than to know, mean boys too!

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  2. Wow, that's really interesting. Sometimes it's neat to get a villain's side of the story, even if you can't empathise with them 100%.

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    1. Hi, I've never been able to write a totally mean-good-for-nothing villain. I did a fantasy book once that had the devil as the villain, should have been totally wicked, right? Yeh, except when you saw it from his perspective, you could see his point without agreeing with him.

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  3. Ha! Funny how a character or idea takes over when you least expect it!

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    1. That's probably the most fun thing about writing, how the characters take over. They can be so stubborn sometimes and really make you think about the direction you're trying to take them. It's like they think they know better and most times they do!

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  4. What a great premise! I'd expect anyone coming out of a long sleep like that would be peculiar :)

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    1. Yeh, I didn't get it when I first started writing the story but Lottie being more complicated and conflicted than I could have imagined was great fun for me!

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  5. That sounds like a really good twist on the genre, Hugh!

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