Friday Fiction – Arrival in Shanghai

This was supposed to go up last week but work issues of both epic and stupid proportions ate my brain. BUT, that just means you have one week less to wait for part two of the Friday Fiction double, so it’s not all bad!

This one is a single scene rather than a complete story and is taken from a prior draft of Ruth Abroad.

The genesis of Ruth Abroad is, as the project notes page hints, quite a long one. It started out in about 2004 as an attempt to write a Chalet School “fill in” novel, to cover the story suggested by one of Elinor M Brent Dyer’s books Gay from China. So the book was supposed to be set in 1930s China (1933 was the year I reckoned) and that was all fine…until I really started doing the research and realised that:

  1. EBD really did only have a very hazy grasp of geography
  2. I don’t care how bad things were for a family in London, they weren’t moving to China with small children in 1933 unless they were Christian missionaries (!) or in the diplomatic service!

Digression: My personal theory is that EBD originally intended to use India and someone (publisher? friend?) suggested she’d already used India a few times, so she just substituted China for India with no regard for the fact that China wasn’t a part of the British Empire and even less regard for the fact that China and India are very, very different places.

Digression over. China was a complete non-starter as a location…but I’d written at least three complete drafts by this point, so I started looking around for a new location, found one (Ceylon/Sri Lanka) and started the process of rewriting, and that’s meant cutting anything that was explicitly and unquestionably Chinese. This scene, as the title suggests, was one of the first to go. It was also one of the most complete bits, and given how patiently people have been waiting for Ruth Abroad, I wanted to share it here.

So here we are. Read Arriving In Shanghai

Happy reading!

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