7th Grade Revolution: Lighting the Torch

I’ll admit … this is the part of the story where I really started to get excited, even while writing it. The kids now know who their opponent is and have discovered the entrance to the tunnel. They are literally about to enter the unknown, but before they can do so, they have to check the air quality in the tunnel. While canaries may have been used to check the carbon monoxide levels in coal mines, another way to check air quality is with fire because fire needs oxygen to burn like we do to breathe. So Dennis makes a homemade torch.

Why was I excited about the kids entering the tunnel? Because as they did, story wise, I faced the unknown. Beyond the mouth of the tunnel, I didn’t know what they would find. I didn’t know how far it went, and in fact, the only thing I knew was what they were looking for (I had the edge over the kids on that one) and that they would find it … somehow … somewhere.

Dennis Lighting the TorchMost of the time when writing, I do have an idea of where the story is going, but there are times when I have to blindly follow my characters. I have to trust them to lead me in the direction we’re supposed to go, and that was the case when writing 7th Grade Revolution. I followed their homemade torch as much as they did, and could see just far enough ahead in the story to keep going.

     Trent tossed the matches to Dennis. He struck the match on the cardboard box and held it to the soaked fabric. Flames licked the outside of the ball heโ€™d made. He took the homemade torch and knelt next to the trapdoor, lowering it into the hole. The flames continued to burn. Using the cord, he lowered the torch a few inches at a time.
     Rhonda knelt beside him and her classmates formed a ring around the hole, all eyes on the flames. No color changes, no wavering.

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