My sequel to BEGUILED is a historical novel taking place between 1938, when the Great Depression is still evident, to the 1970s. Most of the story covers the years 1938-1942.
There are a number of (I hope) compelling scenes of the protagonist Miriam Butler working for the Federal Theater Project, part of the WPA, Roosevelt’s attempt to get theater folks off the dole. The Project was wildly effective and popular among audiences all over the country. Many of them had NEVER been to the theater before; they could afford this because most perfomances cost less than a dollar.
Unfortunately, the director, Hallie Flanagan, was under suspicion as being a Communist by the House Unamerican Activities Committee under Congressman Martin Dies, who was a predecessor of Joe McCarthy. I knew nothing about this until I did research about the Theater Project. Flanagan was interrogated by the Dies Committee and very soon, funding was withdrawn from this wonderful historical project that saved so many lives and became a model of experimental theater for years to come.
In writing about Miriam’s accompanying her new boss, Hallie Flanagan, to Washington for the hearings, I fell into the trap of doing way too much telling, rather than showing. So, I have to do a big rewrite about this momentous event.
The urge to “tell” too much, especially when writing historical material, gets me into trouble in writing fiction. The reader doesn’t want to be preached at. She/ he wants to be swept away by the drama of the moment. I know that. Why do I often get coopted into doing all that telling?
So, I’m going to rewrite that whole scene and dramatize everything that went on from Miriam’s point of view.