Details don't blend in chapter two of From Me To You

Here's the issue

Maybe the fact I’m a Kashmiri(a resident of the state of Kashmir) counts? Or is my Kashmiriyat (the love towards my motherland Kashmir) the only deciding factor in this application?

Here's the complete chapter

Ibrahim

2nd April, '19

Dear Diary,

I don’t know what to do… Tried applying at many places, at every available opportunity with my degree and there’s always that something is lacking. The admins are so vague, they don’t even give feedback on my interviews. Wish there was some department, some skills where I could improve. My English is good and I dress okayish too. Honestly wonder what’s holding them back? Maybe the fact I’m a Kashmiri(a resident of the state of Kashmir) counts? Or is my Kashmiriyat (the love towards my motherland Kashmir) the only deciding factor in this application? Feels so odd that my degree, my job experience doesn’t count at all. I really really wanted to get this job. Wow… my desperation shines through.

Abba and Amma would have been so happy. At least I could help taking care of a part of finances. After paying her fees, Amayra will be able to attend her school regularly. Maybe this is destined. I’m so tired. But I won’t give up… I’ll get a job, work harder, better. Any job will do. As long as I earn something, I’ll do it. Anything is better than nothing. Abba can rest in the assurance that I’ll be helping him in covering the costs. Business has been slow these months. There are tourists with the heavy layer of snow around. Avalanches are common here and now food will be scarce too. Schools will close as the snow rises and solidifies. Amayra loves school. Wants to be an engineer someday. Like me. I’ll make her one. Even if it means I must work 24/7. She’s my little sister and her dreams are my dreams.

My issue is the italicized words don’t blend with what Ibrahim would say, because as a native, he already knows what’s a Kashmiri and the meaning of Kashmiriyat.

I had a comment asking me to elaborate on the word Kashmiri:

I’m not quite sure what “Kashmiri” means so maybe take the time to explain that?

I’m struggling how to explain to someone who isn’t familiar with the Indian/Kashmiri culture, without losing the flow of the sentence.

Can you please help, Nick? :slight_smile:

I’m not Nick (sorry!), but I’m of the opinion that you don’t need to explain what “Kashmiri” means so blatantly. You’re right—it’s unnatural for Ibrahim to define “Kashmiri” and “Kashmiriyat” in this first person diary entry.

Just because a reader isn’t familiar with a certain ethnicity doesn’t mean it’s the author’s job to explain it in dictionary language, sacrificing flow and voice in the process. (I also suspect you wouldn’t get this same complaint if you were describing a white Episcopalian from Iowa.) It sounds like Ibrahim’s identity is a large part of this story, so I’m sure his ethnicity, family, religion, etc. will be addressed throughout the book naturally. Readers who are unfamiliar with Indian/Kashmiri culture should be able to glean enough as they read to understand what terms like “Kashmiriyat” mean as they encounter it with more context.

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Thanks a lot for your help :slight_smile:

I had this nagging doubt since I updated it with the details. It just didn’t feel right(for the lack of a better word) to me. There was something off about and I couldn’t put a finger on it. I felt I was compromising on my character to pander to the reader. Didn’t know where to ask without sounding stupid–felt so helpless.

Yes, I’ll be referring to Ibrahim’s identity and culture throughout the story process. I didn’t want to dump everything at the start. I’d rather let users learn more about Ibrahim as the story progresses.
I didn’t add author notes in each chapter because I wanted the readers to discover him and Santosh (my female MC) naturally :slight_smile:

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You should never pause or break narrative to explain a concept. Through context clues, in story explanation, or not doing it at all, things should become clear.

When it comes to facts based on real world things (like not a fantasy race you made up), this becomes a learning opportunity that is then incumbent on the reader to go learn about. Indian people have had to read about and learn about English culture for 400 years, I’m sure it can work the other way.

Every person who ever found your story did so by being connected to the internet, therefore they could use that internet connection to Google “Kashmiri” and find the answer.

Normally, my advice would be to make sure that you can still understand the story flow without the knowledge of the specific thing, but you can already do that by the way you wrote this. The character expresses that they don’t know why it’s hard for them to get a job. Then they speculate that maybe it’s because of [physical feature A]. The beauty of [physical feature A] is that you could put anything in there and the sentence still makes sense. He could write “Maybe because of my missing foot?” or “Maybe because of my eye turn?” or “Maybe because I can’t speak the language?” or “Maybe because of my skin colour?” and any of them works in the sentence you wrote.

From a reader perspective, all you need to understand is that something that is unchangeable-ish and part of the character’s being is possibly preventing them from getting a job, or they speculate that to be true. Whether you know what Kashmiri means or not is irrelevant. If the issue required specific, intimate knowledge of Kashmiri culture or practices to even understand what was going on, that would be a whole different issue.

Remove the brackets. Remove the explanation.

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No problem! :slight_smile: I think your “nagging doubt” was a good instinct in this case. I think it’s great you omitted the author’s notes as well; so many WP books are bogged down with intros and cast lists and mood boards, but it’s nice to find a story that “speaks for itself.”

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Thank you =]

Done =]