Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Kwon

Here are Grace's parents. My Korean birth father died when I was little and I have no memories of him. So I'm just projecting when it comes to Korean dads. Luckily I have no less than 5 Korean uncles to draw from. Mr. Kwon's "Balls!" line is probably one of my favorites from the book.

Mrs. Kwon's penchant for feeding all of Grace's friends is, of course, lifted straight from my wonderful Mom. There was a review of "Good As Lily" that criticized that scene as stereotyping Korean moms. I'm not sure what the reviewer wants from me. NOT to write from experience? Also, I doubt that particular habit is limited just to my mom, or just to Korean moms for that matter.

I wish I had had the room to unfold the scene where Grace asks her parents about Lily more slowly. I think it could've been much more powerful and subtle if I had more pages. With all the plot elements I had to get in inside the 144 page limit, I really had to pack each scene as tightly as I could. It's nobody's fault but my own though. I knew the book had to be 144 pages going in. The story just ended up having way more plot points and characters to cover than I had originally thought. When a story is just some mercurial blob in your mind, it's really hard to predict exactly what shape it will take once you put it down on paper. There were even scenes I wanted to get into the story that I had to excise all together. I think the book could've easily been 200 pages or so if I had had the freedom to tell the story in as many pages as the story naturally dictated.

But I don't have regrets about having to do that though. It was a good exercise. There are lots of instances when there are limits like that. A regular comic book issue has to fit into 22 pages. Every episode of every TV show has to fit into an exact minute. Movies have time limits of course, lots of instances dictated by studio heads who have no direct involvement with the story. I have a new-found respect for these writers now. I have no idea how they put up with these restrictions day in and day out.

1 comment:

chong said...

meh...stereotyping schmereotyping.

mrs. kwon is like any mom. maybe american moms whip out the chips and soda for their kids' friends. maybe they order in some pizza.

my family, you get what feels like a ten-course meal. then you are served what amounts to a box of fruit - peeled, cored and sliced into finger-friendly wedges. and like mrs. kwon, you never leave empty-handed.