Saturday, March 30, 2019

"Beautiful Bad"

Annie Ward has a BA in English Literature from UCLA and a MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute. Her first short screenplay, Strange Habit, starring Adam Scott was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award winner at the Aspen Film Festival. She has received a Fulbright Scholarship and An Escape to Create Artists residency. She lives in Kansas with her family.

Ward applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Beautiful Bad, and reported the following:
From page 69:
I took a deep breath and glanced at Joanna, who was glaring at him with such naked hatred that I suddenly felt nervous. On my last visit it was hugs and laughter between them. Something had gone rotten.

Joanna slumped there in her metal chair, moving her bracelets up and down her arm. When had she become so withdrawn and remote? So tight and coiled like a tiny, poisonous, gorgeous snake. Oh, and her eyes. Olives and almonds. Reptilian.

Suddenly I was very unhappy. We’d been so close. We knew everything about each other. It was starting to feel like that was no longer the case.

Joanna’s eyes rolled up and took in the table. Me, hunched and looking grief stricken for no apparent reason. The men, bloodied, pleased and preening. And then she was back. She stood and said, “I’m going to go dance.” It was clear that she was not asking me to come with her.

And dance she did, by herself, while everyone watched.
In this scene, we are witnessing the beginning of the end for both a friendship and an affair. Two American women are seated at a table with three British soldiers who have just been in a bar fight in a shady nightclub in Eastern Europe.

It’s truly representative of the book as the core of the story in Beautiful Bad is a toxic love triangle and in this scene, all of the key characters are present.

The woman speaking is Maddie, and she is describing her best friend Joanna, who has become suddenly and suspiciously distant. The man who Joanna is looking at with “naked hatred” is Ian, a British soldier both women met recently. Joanna has been having a secret affair with him and the romance is in its death throes. She suspects that his interest has pivoted to Maddie and is not happy with either of them. Jealousy and grief are starting to evolve into hatred and vengeance.

Maddie, who is admittedly smitten with Ian, has only the slightest suspicion that anything is going on between her best friend and the soldier who has been flirting with her all night.

The twisted attraction between these three risk-takers who are each damaged in their own way will ultimately come to a fatal conclusion.

In this scene there are three broken people but only one murderous psychopath.

You have to hear their story in order to understand who it is.
Visit Annie Ward's website.

--Marshal Zeringue