I want the first 8 chapters of my novel proofread for content, consistency, continuity, grammar, suggestions and characterization.
Genre: Romantic Realism
Approximately 18,000 words.
Below is a summary... attached is the manuscript. It's very much a wip.
A realistic look at the romance genre focusing on the roles young adult females play in contemporary society exploring sexuality, gender roles, substance abuse and workplace dynamics in the bar-service industry. Last call is “No one belongs here more than you” meets “Prozac Nation” with a first person perspective that is reminiscent of David Rakoff’s essays and aiming for the readability of Atwood.
Inspiration: Miranda July, Elizabeth Wurtzel, David Rakoff, Margaret Atwood
Setting: service industry, young adults aged 23-34, urban living, road trips.
Overview: Last Call explores the point of view of two women in a time where feminism” means different things. Valerie sees a lot of herself in her younger cousin, Emma. Emma’s just shown up on Valerie's doorstep. she's decided to experience providing for herself. Through watching Emma’s romanticization of her lifestyle, Valerie becomes disenchanted with the people she’s surrounded herself with and the life she’s built. Last Call is an exploration of how abusive relationships affect us after the fact without romanticizing the power-struggle. It’s a commentary on Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight that have marketed unhealthy relationships to young adult women aiming to have a conclusion that hopes to mirror the effect of “Death of a Salesman”.
Setting: Midsize city in North America with a population of about 700,000. Takes place in modern society but the storyline isn’t reliant on modern technology to progress it. Could be as easily set in the nineties. It’s fast approaching the middle of summer. Our protagonists live on one of the busier streets in the downtown area. Their street is punctuated with small shops, Starbucks and Booster Juice. There is also a thriving nightlife industry in the area. Our protagonists work at one of the popular dive bars and musical venues. The venue is past its prime and could use a renovation, but because of its gritty appeal owners haven’t had to renovate in order to keep customers coming back. The city has a river that runs directly through the downtown area. Along the banks of this river, and on sandbars exposed by low-tide seasons, young adults like to sunbathe and drink alcoholic beverages from slurpee cups and coffee mugs. Because there isn’t a lot going on in this city its inhabitants are drawn to drug and alcohol abuse. The city has a thriving art industry within itself but nonexistent national or global recognition this dynamic has encouraged the growth of many talented individuals who are too comfortable in their environment, or intimidated, to try their hand at a bigger sphere. This small pond of a city has a lot of big, hungry fish. Our protagonists Valerie and Emma are minnows.
The Bar: Needs a name. The bar is derivative of Vangelli’s and JT’s( in saskatoon). The layout is closer to JT’s. With an L-shape. It’s a smaller venue, with a little stage in the same room as the bar for karaoke and small musical acts. In the bigger half of the L there are booths along the the bar along the amalganous wall. In the middle, until about the halfway point there are 4-seat tables. Along the last 1/4 of the room is where the bands and stage sit. There is a deck that can be reached by going through a door beside the bar. It wraps around the building. The door to the kitchen is at the back of the other side of the L. The other side of the l has booths running on both sides and tables in the middle. The patio has green deck chairs and off white, grey tables. The deck and gate are wood. There are umbrellas that wrap up.
The kitchen has a lot of foreign men working. It’s clean enough but the waitresses don’t like hanging out back there because the kitchen staff tend to be abrasive and make overtly sexual gestures and remarks.
Emma: Emma has a newfound problem with authority. Issues with hoarding money. Little “sense of self” and an appetite for change. She has let a lot of people control her over the years and thus has taken control of what little she can: saving money, keeping her environment clean, perfectionist eating habits. Following the breakdown of a detrimental and dangerously abusive relationship that has occupied much of her young-adult life Emily finds herself having an identity crisis. She was attracted to people who she could relinquish control to and who would “take care of her”. Her parents loved her ex but didn’t know how dangerous he was. Knowing that she cannot establish her independence in her parents home, and not even sure if she’s still interested in her chosen field of study, Emma abandons these forces in her life in order to visit her cousin who’s independence she’s always admired. Why does loosing self control through drugs appeal to Emma? What is the inciting action for Emma’s move? Why does Emma have a highly addictive personality?
Valerie: Valerie didn’t have the same opportunities as Emma growing up. Her relationships have been sporadic and intense. She finished high school with “good enough grades” and took eight years to finish her degree in political studies while working in the service industry. Her mother, Emma’s paternal aunt, died at a young age and the paternal side of the family has always taken pity on, and admittedly condescended, Valerie and her father. Her father’s increasing mental instability landed him in a facilitated care home which Valerie has had to spend most of her mother’s life insurance supporting. She no longer visits her father because his depression reminds her too much of her own deep sadness and feelings of failure and inadequacy. Valerie has a love for music but her own insecurities have prevented her from pursuing it. Instead she has romanticized and envied musicians which has attributed to her sordid romantic past. More than once she’s fallen in love with a song, guitar rift, or roughness to someone’s voice and attributed that affection to the body it came from. Her drug abuse has calmed her self-hatred, but was slow-burning and educated. While she’s usually attracted to men who reaffirm the negative feelings she has for herself, her path to making healthier life choices and doing things she can be proud of motivates her to give a chance to a partner who sees the positive person she is becoming and who’s biggest complaint in her is her own self-harming habits. His initial rejection of a physical relationship is what initially sparked the romance, because rejection makes her want him more, as they get to know each other more she feels vulnerable around him and is frequently tempted to jeopardize the relationship.