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aruna
06-16-2015, 09:20 PM
For the first time ever, I've got a white woman as MC! A white girl, to be exact, 16 when we first meet her. She lives in early 20th century British Guiana on a sugar plantation (the boss's daughter) and falls in love with a "darkie" as she calls them at the start of the book. She has the usual white privilege attitudes, but she follows her heart and over the course of the book she changes, develops, learns about the oppression of the dark races (African and Indian), takes the side of the underdog, ends up as a fledgling social activist who risks all, and one by one her attitude changes.

I'm in the middle of line edits and I'm afraid my editor (white female!) doesn't "get it".
She (editor) says at one point, "G. (black love interest) doesn't do anything heroic for MC or her sister."

I beg your pardon???? Why should he? He's an activist, one who through his very role of supporting the cane-labourer movement, is a hero!!!!

Of course, their relationship is secret, and she (editor) doesn't get how a young girl can fall so much in love with a man she only shared xxxx time with. Well, I know that when I was young I fell head over heels with boys I only DANCED with once!

Later in the book, she's now 18, MC meets a nice handsome rich young man (T) and, since at the moment she is separate form G, and G. has actually told her to move on, is sorely tempted. Editor wants more motivation for her to choose G. over T. Hello? maybe because T. is basically just your bland self-indulgent rich boy, whereas G. lives for a cause bigger than himself, which is very very attractive for someone with their heart in the right place?

This is really just a rant; I will try to revise in order to please her but I have also tried to explain to her, in the editorial letter, why MC is the way she is; her layers of white privilege are slowly stripped away as she grows.

It's not that the editor is ONLY critical. She loves the book as a whole. But dealing with these issues really shows her total lack of understanding. I honestly think she would have preferred a happy romantic ending with T.

But I want the readers rooting for G. and I'm not sure, if most of the readers are white, that they will. It's a bit of a concern. Will white readers be able to "get it", if my editor doesn't? I've got to be very careful here.


ETA: I get the feeling she wants MC to be saving and educating him; One suggestion she makes is that MC should lend him one of her books, because "G. has had a reasonable education after all?"

She wants him to be "more worthy of her love". What about her being "more worthy of HIS love?"
.

kuwisdelu
06-16-2015, 10:32 PM
White girk? Whats that?

Is it first or third person? Does she do much introspection? Perhaps you can bring out more of G's charms through MC's perspective via her thoughts.

aruna
06-16-2015, 10:34 PM
Haha. Girk: It's a special kind of Alien.


(Thanks for bringing it to my attention! I've forgotten how to edit titles!

ETA figured it out.)

RichardGarfinkle
06-17-2015, 12:12 AM
Aruna. If you're concerned about this, you might want to put a bit up on SYW. From the way you're describing the MC, one thing jumps out, I don't get a sense of the character beyond the veils of privilege. Do you think you have a strong sense of the human being lying beneath those layers?

Marian Perera
06-17-2015, 12:50 AM
I'm in the middle of line edits and I'm afraid my editor (white female!) doesn't "get it".
She (editor) says at one point, "G. (black love interest) doesn't do anything heroic for MC or her sister."

I beg your pardon???? Why should he? He's an activist, one who through his very role of supporting the cane-labourer movement, is a hero!!!!

Maybe I'm looking at this from the perspective of someone who reads romance novels, and I'm not part of the readership this story is meant to appeal to, but from what you've said here... it's awesome that G is an activist. I can imagine that this puts him at a lot of hardship and risk. You're right, he is a hero.

But if I look back on all the fictional romantic relationships I found emotionally wrenching and completely believable, they were ones where the people involved did specific, special things for each other - and sometimes those things could be heroic. The hero of a novel fighting for a cause is admirable, but it's romantic to me if he also does something for the heroine, something that shows how much she matters to him.


But I want the readers rooting for G. and I'm not sure, if most of the readers are white, that they will. It's a bit of a concern. Will white readers be able to "get it", if my editor doesn't?

I'm not white. Take that for what it's worth.

kuwisdelu
06-17-2015, 01:02 AM
But if I look back on all the fictional romantic relationships I found emotionally wrenching and completely believable, they were ones where the people involved did specific, special things for each other - and sometimes those things could be heroic. The hero of a novel fighting for a cause is admirable, but it's romantic to me if he also does something for the heroine, something that shows how much she matters to him.

Meh. As a non-romance reader (who loves love stories) I'm rather sick of the idea that anyone needs to "prove" their love or their worth to deserve someone else's love.

Being rid of that seems delightfully refreshing to me.

Marian Perera
06-17-2015, 01:06 AM
It's great that there are all kinds of different books to give different readers what they're looking for.

kuwisdelu
06-17-2015, 01:13 AM
I wonder if the editor is more of a romance reader, and the divergent expectations comes more from that?

aruna
06-17-2015, 05:17 AM
I wonder if the editor is more of a romance reader, and the divergent expectations comes more from that?


Yes, she used to be a romance editor for Avon. That's where that bit comes from. This isn't a romance novel, and I really don't want to give in to those conventions. I'll have to think about this and maybe work in some little act of gallantry -- there is already one, but she thinks it's not enough.

What irks me the most, actually, is the remark about his "reasonable education" -- he is far better educated than she is! He attended the most prestigious secondary school in the country, as a scholarship student, as one of the very few non-whites. She only had a governess! He is fascinated by the science and technology of the telegraphy -- taught himself Morse code, made a Morse machine, -- and she knows this. This is clear from the story so far. Yet the editor automatically assumes that she is educationally superior. ugh.


These are all prejudices I didn't reckon on, prejudices the average white reader will also have -- I have to tackle them somehow, but subtly. It's the next challenge. So it's good in a way -- I'm seeing how the average reader will react. It's very revealing -- if disappointing.

aruna
06-17-2015, 05:25 AM
Aruna. If you're concerned about this, you might want to put a bit up on SYW. From the way you're describing the MC, one thing jumps out, I don't get a sense of the character beyond the veils of privilege. Do you think you have a strong sense of the human being lying beneath those layers?

It's in first person pov, so the human being behind the privilege and beyond the love story is the main emphasis. The main thrust, at least in the first part, is the discovery that her father, whom she has always looked up to, has a dark side, a cruel side. The discovery that all their wealth and privilege is built on the back of slavery/indentured labour. It's her eyes opening to injustice, and taking sides against her father and her race.

backslashbaby
06-17-2015, 06:02 AM
I think she could find his education sexy! Maybe he (literally) challenges her in ways boys usually don't, and that can be very attractive, those exchanges. Or he can correct her in a really sweet and shy way, as another option. But I'd have interchanges with her involving him being so well-educated, definitely.

I don't think your average white girl would think that the activism was personal enough a reason to fall in love, rather than 'like'. There has to be something very personal to it between the two of them. And there have to be very specific things that turn her off about Richie Rich. Let's face it, she would have been programmed to prefer the little rich dude, so the examples need to be spelled out (imho).

It would help a lot if she found the MC really handsome, too, of course :) I don't see any reason he has to be heroic for her, but I do think there need to be a range of specific things --some silly ones included, usually-- that turn a teen girl's heart a'flutter ;) Chemistry! If the editor doesn't get chemistry (with examples), then she's maybe got different issues, yeah.

aruna
06-17-2015, 07:44 AM
Yes, she is very impressed by his knowledge, and even takes lessons in Morse from him -- that's another thing he does for her. I think editor wants me to jump through hoops to convince readers he is a worthy love interest! I'm sure if he were also white the "problem" wouldn't exist. I've read tons of books with love stories where the white couple have had far less interaction than my two, especially from that era, when men and women didn't hob-nob alone very much. Just think of Room with a View (one of my favourites!) and how little they were together. But I guess I have to tune in to the reader's bias and adjust and adapt, without losing the integrity of the story.

nighttimer
06-17-2015, 06:09 PM
Yes, she used to be a romance editor for Avon. That's where that bit comes from. This isn't a romance novel, and I really don't want to give in to those conventions. I'll have to think about this and maybe work in some little act of gallantry -- there is already one, but she thinks it's not enough.

What irks me the most, actually, is the remark about his "reasonable education" -- he is far better educated than she is! He attended the most prestigious secondary school in the country, as a scholarship student, as one of the very few non-whites. She only had a governess! He is fascinated by the science and technology of the telegraphy -- taught himself Morse code, made a Morse machine, -- and she knows this. This is clear from the story so far. Yet the editor automatically assumes that she is educationally superior. ugh.

These are all prejudices I didn't reckon on, prejudices the average white reader will also have -- I have to tackle them somehow, but subtly. It's the next challenge. So it's good in a way -- I'm seeing how the average reader will react. It's very revealing -- if disappointing.

Wow. There are a LOT of landmines you're going to have to step carefully over.

It seems your editor is a wee bit blinded by her own privilege and perceptions on how the power dynamics between Whites and Blacks work. She apparently seems to think a person of color with an education "superior" to a White person is something akin to a unicorn and when you state she doesn't understand why the Black character "doesn't do anything heroic for MC or her sister" is she expecting a Magic Negro (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicalNegro) to appear and save the day?

What we have here is a failure to communicate. There's a gulf between what you have written and what your editor's expectations are.

The conventional wisdom is the editor is the bridge the author and the reader and what doesn't work for the editor isn't going to work for the reader either. The problem is when the editor simply doesn't "get it," they can turn into a roadblock instead of a bridge.

I'm afraid I have no helpful suggestion on how to defuse this potentially volatile situation beyond proceeding very delicately. Please keep us informed if you are able to help your editor see the light.

aruna
06-17-2015, 07:23 PM
One thing I plan to do is make "nice handsome white" guy not so nice after all! Add a little bit of nastiness to him, probably something racist, which will annoy her (MC, I mean) no end! Maybe meanness to a black kid or something.

(ETA: that's the great thing about writing: you can get your revenge in very subtle ways!)

DancingMaenid
06-18-2015, 10:53 AM
To be honest, if a white reader is reading a book about a relationship between a white girl and a black boy, I would be surprised if they'd be horribly disappointed if the girl didn't end up with a white guy instead. Someone who's that biased against interracial relationships likely wouldn't care for the book in the first place (and they probably aren't your ideal reader). I also think that while there's definitely still a lot of prejudice against interracial relationships, many people enjoy stories about "star-crossed" lovers who defy social expectations. There are a lot of popular stories about couples who bridge cultural, socioeconomic, or racial gaps. If anything, I think audiences have been "trained" to expect characters to make sacrifices to be with the people they really care about, instead of settling for safer but passionless relationships. Honestly, I'd probably be surprised if she ended up with T, unless it was supposed to be a bittersweet or cynical story where she doesn't follow her heart or lacks the strength to live up to her convictions.

Regardless, I think the key is to make the MC an interesting, well-rounded character and make her relationships feel real and believable. She doesn't have to hate T, but it has to feel believable that she really loves G and has a bigger connection with him. And if she's become a bit of an activist herself, maybe she just doesn't have much in common with T except for a common background. If T can't relate to the values and causes that have become important to her, that's going to make him a less appealing partner. And if she and G have a real connection, it's not hard to imagine her preferring him.

Tocotin
06-18-2015, 01:58 PM
Just a thought... You obviously love G and wish both him and the MC the best. The story sounds interesting (especially the path the MC is taking, and her relationship with her father – I'd like to read that). G is intelligent, heroic, perhaps charismatic. But... what if he is TOO perfect? What if she loves him, because it is the right thing to do? I'm not sure how to word this.

It's what you said about his rival T that got me thinking. T is nice too, so nice that you're considering destroying his character by having him do something unforgivable – artificially inducing the antipathy of readers. It looks like he's a real threat to G, not because he's white, but because he's a more appealing character.

I don't care if G does something for the MC or the other way around. It's love, not business arrangement. It doesn't need reciprocation or reason or anything. If the characters are interesting, I will cheer for them even if he doesn't notice her at all.

Cathy C
06-18-2015, 02:58 PM
I think one issue I'm seeing is that your heroine might have a love of an ideal instead of love of a person. People who are very focused on a cause sometimes get so involved in the process of change that the people can get lost for a while. He's an activist. She's an activist. All is good so far. But causes can conflict with the needs of ONE person on occasion. Overrun in the process. Is there a scene in the book anywhere where G can realize that the MC will be negatively impacted that he can change the plan to benefit only her?

Let me use an example: Let's say the group of activists are planning some big intervention that could be dangerous---a protest or interrupting a cane shipment or something. The book is from the MC's POV and she's gung ho to go forward, but then G changes some aspect of the plan that she realizes is lowering her involvement or putting her in a location where she can't see the plan unveil as well. She's understandably upset, angry and hurt by G's action. It will take a third party (maybe her sister?) to explain that he's protecting her. Whether from the police, embarrassment, physical threat or such. The cause was impacted for HER. Only her. The reader will love him just fine, even if it's a point where she wants the cause to be greater than her needs. And once she realizes what happened, maybe later in the aftermath of the event, she'll be surprised, happy, confused. A single smile from him as he's led away in cuffs while she's free, or some such will seal the deal. :Hug2:

Viridian
06-19-2015, 01:02 AM
Someone who's that biased against interracial relationships likely wouldn't care for the book in the first place (and they probably aren't your ideal reader).
I don't think that's quite how bias works. Few people will outright say (or even think) that they hate interracial relationships, but they might consider interracial relationships less realistic or romantic. Bias is subtle.

Reading through the first post -- these all sound like really common complaints from a romance reader. She's not connecting with the hero and doesn't believe in their relationship. And yeah, that could be the result of bias. The hero has to work harder than he should.

I'm surprised to learn it's not a romance novel, because it sounds like your reader is critiquing it as if it is. Regardless: the solution is to strengthen the relationship as much as possible. Yes, it's possible for people to immediately fall in love after one short meeting. But "possible" is not the same thing as "believable." Fast love is hard to pull off. If it's not working, it's not working.

I'm sorry to hear you're dealing with this, @Aruna. Maybe you should get a second opinion? You know, from a non-white reader?

aruna
06-19-2015, 02:01 PM
Thanks to all the great feedback, and especially to Cathy C; I've written a new scene along the lines you suggested and it felt really "right"... will be finishing it off tomorrow!



Regardless: the solution is to strengthen the relationship as much as possible. Yes, it's possible for people to immediately fall in love after one short meeting. But "possible" is not the same thing as "believable." Fast love is hard to pull off.?

(my bold) It's far more than one short meeting!

It's a first short meeting with a few words exchanged, and a first "pang".
Second meeting, with sister, fairly long, where they chat and learn more about him and find him very interesting, and "different". W & G can't take their eyes off each other...
Third VERY long meeting alone with him, where he teaches her Morse code and they flirt which each other ... in code!
Forth meeting, where he is cold to her as he realises the danger.
Fifth meeting, unexpected, where they run into each other in the rain, he grabs her and kisses her and tells her he loves her...

...and several more meetings after that.


Considering this all takes place at a lonely sugar estate where she has few distractions, and no other men around, thinking of myself at that age, I would have been head over heels in love by the second meeting! Sheonly really realises her love after "the kiss". Of course, at first it is sentimental teenage love but she's tested again and again and grows.

Yes, I can make the scenes more intense but I don't see why adding some long conversation where she lends him books is going to help.

But I AM working on it and know I have to take editor's suggestions seriously. It's just a shame that so many hoops have to be jumped through just because he's black/poor.

While the love story is central to the novel, the real focus is on her finally having to choose which way she will go, culminating in a court case where she is the main witness, and where her statement is key to the outcome.

aruna
08-16-2015, 11:35 AM
OK, we're now at the copyediting stage.
The MC is living with a middle-class, mixed race friend in Barbados. The friend is a primary school teacher. She speaks "Bajan" with the MC -- ie, dialect, broken English. The copyeditor wants to know if she would speak this way as she is an English teacher and thus well educated.

I don't know. In Guyana, just about everyone speaks what we call "Creolese" with each other, even if they had a University education in England or Canada or the USA or even in Guyana. People just feel comfortable speaking it. They CAN write correct English. They know the grammatical rules. They just don't like to use them when speaking with each other at home.

Now, I get that the copyeditor doesn't get this. She thinks the character speaks ungrammatically because she doesn't know any better, when in fact she does, being a teacher. She sees a contradiction, when there isn't one. So I'm guessing the average reader will also think something is wrong -- that she speaks this way because she's poor black, not because she chooses to.

So I guess I'll have to put in an explanatory sentence? I don't want to! :(

In my last novel, I had a character, an old lady, who deliberately spoke "bad English", but the explanation of why she did so was included in the backstory. It was originally to oppose and spite her father. In this book there's no explanation. Should I give one? It seems so --- mistrusting of my readers'
comprehension abilities! What do you think?

RichardGarfinkle
08-16-2015, 12:40 PM
Aruna. You should be able to put in a sentence about code switching (without using the term). It's something not enough people know about.

bombergirl69
08-16-2015, 04:09 PM
Ugh! how frustrating, dealing with all that stuff about education, things you know far better than your editor!! I may have a bit of something like that, wanting to scream "In Montana it's BLACKFEET, really, I know this. I'm married to one, I pass by the sign that says "Welcome to BLACKFEET country, I go to ceremonies, I didn't just google it!!!- but I digress...

Just adding to the excellent comments already, the only other thing I can think of is that in real life I (and perhaps your editor!) have made the mistake of thinking that interesting, compelling people who do interesting, socially good things--rescue puppies, feed the poor--will make great partners, that those qualities will transfer over. Sadly, not the case. Sometimes yes, but also sometimes no. People who are smart, active politically, etc etc can be terrific people ;and wonderful partners, but they can also be narcissistic jerks, even if their "public face" is really admirable. Perhaps she is wondering, "So what makes this guy such a great partner that I want him to wind up with the MC?" and wants to see him do/say something that puts him in the "good partner" category, not just "good political activist" category.

I certainly agree we can fall in love with people quickly (may or may not be based on something real, sometimes it is!!!) Many people, me included have had a "moment" where I have felt an electric current with someone (my husband, for one). The subsequent data points I got were consistent and...yay. I know plenty of people who said that pretty much, "just one look" was all it took and there was a kind of agreement and commitment!

I agree your editor may need cultural studies 101 or something. My husband and many others, well educated, will slide into a different speech rhythm when they're back on the rez. My ex spoke Kamba or Kikuyu or Swahili with his fam, mixed in with English, and when my Swahili got better, he did it with me too-kind of moving from English to Swahili to Kikuyu (where he lost me!). he had--still has!--a doctorate, which has nothing to do with it, from what I saw.

Anyway, good luck with this! Really interesting!

aruna
08-16-2015, 05:09 PM
Well, I solved the relationship problem to my first editor's satisfaction -- a whole new chapter/scene with my hero as protest leader and being led away in handcuffs, thanks to Cathy C.! :)

I have to somehow solve the "dialect" problem. Ugh. I hate it when things that should be obvious crop up due to cultural ignorance!

Liosse de Velishaf
08-16-2015, 06:48 PM
I once criticized a black kid for speaking "bad English" back when I was young and dumb. He went off on me for like ten minutes explaining the problem with my statement, and that he could speak Standard American English but chose not to in informal circumstances. (I'm paraphrasing here.) There's a lot of focus on proper speech in many places, and those privileged enough to grow up speaking the Standard dialect or close to can have a lot of blindness or ignorance in that area. I'm not sure what the best solution is.

Depending on your readership, a lot of readers might be as ignorant as your copy-editor. You could explain to the copy-editor how the real world works and hope your readers are more understanding. Or you might have to insert an extra scene explaining that Bajan is the informal language of general communication and the Standard English dialect is for more formal occasions or something. (Obviously you wouldn't use wording quite so formal.)

It sounds massively irritating to have to deal with that.

CassandraW
08-16-2015, 07:25 PM
OK, we're now at the copyediting stage.
The MC is living with a middle-class, mixed race friend in Barbados. The friend is a primary school teacher. She speaks "Bajan" with the MC -- ie, dialect, broken English. The copyeditor wants to know if she would speak this way as she is an English teacher and thus well educated.

I don't know. In Guyana, just about everyone speaks what we call "Creolese" with each other, even if they had a University education in England or Canada or the USA or even in Guyana. People just feel comfortable speaking it. They CAN write correct English. They know the grammatical rules. They just don't like to use them when speaking with each other at home.

Now, I get that the copyeditor doesn't get this. She thinks the character speaks ungrammatically because she doesn't know any better, when in fact she does, being a teacher. She sees a contradiction, when there isn't one. So I'm guessing the average reader will also think something is wrong -- that she speaks this way because she's poor black, not because she chooses to.

So I guess I'll have to put in an explanatory sentence? I don't want to! :(

In my last novel, I had a character, an old lady, who deliberately spoke "bad English", but the explanation of why she did so was included in the backstory. It was originally to oppose and spite her father. In this book there's no explanation. Should I give one? It seems so --- mistrusting of my readers'
comprehension abilities! What do you think?

Why not have a scene where the character speaks in grammatical English and switches, then have some sort of follow-up discussion about the switch, perhaps with a character who doesn't understand about the code-switching any better than your editor (or many readers) will have? or with another character who knows all about the code-switching, and makes some wry remark about it?

As for your dilemma about the romantic interest -- I have not read your book, so I can't say if your editor is being a dolt, or there is something lacking in the chemistry between your two characters.

It absolutely could be that your editor has blinders on, due to privilege, racial bias or what have you. But, FWIW...

I am someone who not infrequently finds the romantic part of novels and movies the least compelling part of the story because I'm just not feeling what it is that draws the two together. Too often, I feel like it's forced because that's what the story requires, and I just don't feel the chemistry.

FWIW, I'm not sure I would buy one person falling for another just because they were an activist and admirable. I meet admirable men working for admirable causes all the time without falling in love with them -- also incredibly intelligent men, very kind men, seriously handsome men... And I can admire all that, but on a romantic level, still have it leave me cold. There's usually some other spark that kindles the admiration into something more.

I suppose in my own life I have an example of that. I dated, a few years ago, a guy who was working for a humanitarian organization. He himself survived the siege in Sarajevo, which had inspired him to make helping others in areas of conflict his life's work. I thought that was fabulous, but it wasn't why I fell for him.

I fell for him, to the extent you can analyze such things, because he had a marvelous playful sense of humor that exactly meshed with mine, and we had amazing chemistry. It wasn't so much that he picked my hanky out of a gutter or rescued my kitten or bought me a drink. It was because some part of his personality/intellect/character reached out and tugged at mine in a very personal and unique way that I found impossible to resist. And again FWIW, that is the kind of thing that sells me on a relationship in a book.

Cariad
08-16-2015, 07:40 PM
I don't know how helpful this is, so late on in the discussion, but it sounds like your MC is G, not W and that may be why it doesn't click. W may be a bit 2D, which pushes all the emphasis on to him and his actions to make the story. What is the risk for him? Why does he take it? These are the things I'm curious about anyway, from what you've expounded here, not her. She sounds like she has no wants and desires that could create a connection between them. Plain isolation and hormones aren't enough for an MC.

Re: the dialogue issue... I take it you've tried just returning the copyeditor's query with 'thanks for querying but this is accurate' ?! You could introduce a scene early on where someone else from the school calls by or interrupts your characters speaking and the teacher quickly switches her mode and speech, making it clear that this is what she does. This would be enough for me, as a reader.

aruna
08-16-2015, 08:42 PM
Why not have a scene where the character speaks in grammatical English and switches, then have some sort of follow-up discussion about the switch, perhaps with a character who doesn't understand about the code-switching any better than your editor (or many readers) will have? or with another character who knows all about the code-switching, and makes some wry remark about it?

I'm at the copyediting stage, so no more revisions can be made -- at the most I can add a sentence or two but I don't want to interfere too much with the the copyediting work she's done. It's a different editor to the original one .. the original one is now satisfied.





FWIW, I'm not sure I would buy one person falling for another just because they were an activist and admirable. I meet admirable men working for admirable causes all the time without falling in love with them -- also incredibly intelligent men, very kind men, seriously handsome men... And I can admire all that, but on a romantic level, still have it leave me cold. There's usually some other spark that kindles the admiration into something more.

It's not just because of his activist work. It's because of the chemistry between them -- I've made this clearer as well. But she wanted more interaction between them, thus the new chapter. For me, the pivotal scene is where he teaches her Morse code and they flirt with each other in Morse -- and with their eyes! And then when he grabs her in the rain and kisses her -- a la "kiss in the poppy field scene" in Room with a View. All this is before the "activist" scene.

aruna
08-16-2015, 08:50 PM
so, my problem is, how to artfully convey, within an already marked-up manuscript, the fact that her language is by choice and not by lack of education??? I'll sleep on it and hopefully tomorrow early I'll have an answer!

backslashbaby
08-16-2015, 11:22 PM
I don't know the PoV of that scene, but if it can be in the person's hearing it, I would say that it was charming to hear the dialect and how it's always nice to hear an educated person keep it.

If it's in the teacher's, maybe say that she hopes that the listener will understand that it's on purpose that she keeps her dialect. Being a Southerner who keeps mine, I really do think that on occasion. Some people really don't know the difference between bad grammar and dialects/regionalisms, so it can be a tough choice sometimes. Maybe show that a little bit?

Siri Kirpal
08-18-2015, 03:49 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Aruna, I think you should put in the sentence of explanation. The vast majority of readers don't know that many of us speak several Englishes and will automatically assume that the person speaking "poor" English is uneducated or a dimwit. I don't think you want that.

It's annoying, I know.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Cathy C
08-18-2015, 05:28 AM
Something I did once was create a character who was Australian. He used the worst of all the cliched "Crocodile Dundee" phrases. A newcomer commented on the language. He waited until a particular other character walked out of the room and then admitted in a whisper that he spoke that way just to bug the person who left. After that, the reader was in on the joke... ;)

aruna
08-18-2015, 11:13 AM
So, done. I did it differently -- I had the (white) main character say, in the narration, that she relaxed so much among the black character and her friends that she found herself adopting the dialect they used among themselves, as her own English felt so stiff.

Siri Kirpal
08-18-2015, 11:48 PM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Good! And btw, that's what I did too (switch to black dialect) when I hung out with some black friends in HS.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

aruna
09-02-2015, 06:15 AM
Hey, it's out, and lookee my new cover! I think they got this one right: you can tell at once what the story is about. It's to be published on October 1st and is on preoprder at Amazon.

More here: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?310648-Lookee-my-new-book-now-on-Pre-order-and-Netgalley!&p=9547651#post9547651