Yesterday I had dinner with PhillyGirl and her husband. PhillyGirl is reading over BP for me and gave it to her husband to read for his thoughts, and they wanted to meet with me to go over their comments. I'm glad I went, not only to meet them (in Philly's case, again) but to hear what they had to say. Given this is my first story, and I was a mite distracted as I was also writing my thesis, they gave me insight the Editorial Eval had deigned to give me. The reason why there may be problematic aspects of the story (especially in the case of Benjamin) is because what is obvious to me, may not be obvious to the reader in terms of societal rules, etc. While that is a given, I didn't want to take that literary bat and beat it over the head. I wanted things to unfold as they do for the character, and when you're living something, you're not necessarily going to note how the society interacts or what rules are there. You just live them (be them, as the case with BP). Since a lot of the people who had commented thus far ARE from the South and are black women, there was an implicit understanding. But for someone who is NOT raised in the south, not black, and not female, there may be oddities that ring false if the South doesn't jive with Hollywood/Media's version of it. Therefore, I'm glad Philly's husband highlighted that for me. It's okay to give a little tap at the beginning, but a lot of the time in novels those "rules" seem to be knocked over the reader's head every time there's a conflict. People don't give running commentary during their daily lives (well, most people. Errybody know that one dude who's ALWAYS giving their $0.02 lol) If I flesh out the Plumville politics more, then it'll enhance all those unspoken "being" moments that are throughout the novel.
Setting. The Eval said I didn't have setting, but he framed it in terms of landmarks and what the town looks like, etc. Then he says it's not important to the plot. I know that. I wrote the story. What the town looks like isn't nearly as important as its personality. THAT is what I need to flesh out more, to not treat it as a given, because contrary to Hollywood and the media, there wasn't a racial flare up every single day.
So, in the midst of writing Gym Story, Trust Fall, and The Blueprint (I didn't forget about you baby!), I must flesh out the Plumville personality better in the story. It's going to make the book longer *sigh*, but it has to be done.
Ergo, I very much appreciated the dinner! I'm going to have the leftovers tonight :-P.