Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Anatomy of a Novel: Pink

Anatomy of a Novel - Pink
Guest post by Lili Wilkinson

1. Stage crew
I was in my high school stage crew, and it was pretty much exactly the way it is in Pink - except in real life there was more swearing. I loved learning all the names of the lights and learning how to use the sound board - it was like a secret world that only we knew about, hidden from the actors and the audience.

2. Theatre
In the first draft, the musical was Anything Goes, but it was too much of a copyright minefield to use any lyrics, so I invented a whole new musical - Bang! Bang!, about singing and dancing New York gangsters. That was a fun piece of procrastination. High school theatre is such an awesome place for a story - being at school at night is always so exciting, and getting all dressed up in costumes and makeup is kind of like being another person. Everything's kind of sparkling and exciting - and the potential for things to go wrong is very high. Perfect conditions for drama!

3. David Levithan
David is an amazing YA author and publisher. At the Reading Matters conference in 2006, he made this incredible speech about how all teenagers have to see themselves reflected on the shelves of libraries and bookshops - especially gay kids. And I started thinking - what about the kids who aren't sure? I wanted to write a book that said it was okay to not be quite sure who you were - nobody has to fit into a box.

4. Melbourne High School
I went to MacRob, which is Melbourne High's sister school. Both schools are selective entry, and Billy Hughes is kind of based on a combination of both of them. We did all our musicals at Melbourne High, so I spent a lot of time there.

5. Pink!
Did you know that pink originally used to be for boys and blue used to be for girls? There are some fancy writers out there who think that "pink books" are somehow anti-feminist, or shallow, or somehow demeaning to girls. I think that's ridiculous, and I don't think a book has to be obtuse and wordy in order to say important things. I really wanted to write a pink book about smart, funny, flawed, interesting girls, that was fun to read but still had plenty of substance.

6. Dennis
We did have a stage crew teacher called Dennis. And I live quite close to Dennis station. The scene in Pink about Dennis is my favourite part.


Anatomy of a novel is an occasional series where authors dissect their books for your delight. Pass it on! 

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