When starting off on the journey of 7th Grade Revolution I didn’t have a lot of information beyond the portion based on the real life classroom experience. I had spent time getting to know my characters, but beyond knowing there was a conflict with an outside agency. Normally, before I start writing, I do work on some sort of outline. Well … I pulled up the outline I had made for 7th Grade Revolution and had to laugh — the outline had more questions than it did answers, things in the outline that never made it to the book, and about three-quarters of a page in it simply stopped. So much for my outlining efforts this time.
Interestingly, I did know there would be a tunnel, but had no answers for things like: How did a tunnel come to be built under a Middle School? I did attend a college in the Midwest that had tunnels running from some of the older buildings to the others, which had been built for use in extreme weather conditions, but had never been used in recent years. Besides, those weren’t like the hand hewn tunnel of Washington Academy. The fully-lined concrete walls took away all the romance of the concept of tunnels and they simply became cold, dark corridors where you were more likely to greet a scurrying rat than anything interesting.
I wanted this tunnel to be more romantic. Which meant a potentially modern day construction was out as far as the school was concerned. And out of that thought blossomed the background for the school location and an off-page character (because he’d been dead for over a hundred years by the start of the story). Silas Tucker, though not a part of the school itself, definitely played a major role in the story and it was he who built the tunnel.
Rhonda scraped the dust away with her foot. Come on, be there. Her stomach twisted at the thought of what Spencer would say if she had picked the wrong spot. And the rest of the kids would agree, especially the ones who’d moved the mainframe.
Was that a groove? She knelt.
She brushed her fingers across it. Definitely not a scrape from the mainframe. Teeny bits of grit fell into it and disappeared. Tracing it, she shook her head. A single groove wasn’t enough, there had to be more. And there had to be a handle somewhere.
Dennis squatted beside her. “What’re you looking for?”
“It’s here. The door into the tunnel, but we have to figure out how to open it.”
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