Echo Hall

By Virginia Moffatt

Three generations of women experience love, loss and conflict in times of war

Monday, 5 September 2016

Characters on the loose again.

Way back in April, I conducted a writing experiment and let my four World War 1 characters, Rachel, Joseph, Jacob and Leah loose on twitter. It was an interesting exercise in understanding them a bit better, and my World War 2 characters immediately clamoured to have  a voice.

I had intended to follow up quickly with a significant week in their lives in  June 1936. However, life got a bit busy and the moment passed, and I couldn't work out when would be a good time to introduce them to the world.  And then, as the summer was coming to an end, I remembered how my father would reminisce every September about the outbreak of World War 2. I realised that the run up to that moment would be the perfect time for them to tweet.

Unfortunately, I had a little less time to play with, and so these stories aren't quite as polished as the first. Nor did I have time to connect with contemporary culture as I had done in the original set. However, as before, I found that it helped me pick up a couple of errors in the main story, do some foreshadowing and understand my characters a bit better.

Elsie, is quite glamorous, and is already being put upon by her mother-in-law, Leah, who is as disapproving now as she was in 1911. Her picture is therefore of a pretty woman, head in hands, taking a break from the housework. Her twitter name, @hwincognito allows her to rant about her situation in private. Elsie's husband Jack, is about to sign up for the airforce like his father Jacob. He too wants to keep his twitter account private, and is signed up as @notapilotyet, with an RAF symbol. Their week begins with a row and a parting as Jack goes to Liverpool to hand over his surgery to another GP. The row gets a mention in the novel, so I thought it would be interesting to explore it, as well as their feelings as the world moves to war. Meanwhile Rachel and Joseph's son, Daniel, is tweeting his relief at being found exempt from duty due to a medical condition, and his firm opposition to the war, an unpopular position on twitter. Hence his picture of William Penn and his name @unknownquaker. He does no wish anyone to know who he is. 

Each character is forced to make a decision in the week and to face their fears about war. Although they are acting in parallel, their shared memories of a happier day in Southport, unite the three of them, their friendship will have to remain this strong if they are to survive. 

You can find the stories here:




Look out for Ruth who will be tweeting in November, possibly in conjunction with her friend Nisha!

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