The Official Writing Challenge
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07/24/09
Very interesting article. I could totally relate, having never been allowed to date or attend prom. So glad that both of us have learned how to forgive.
An intriguing look at the culture and values of not only another generation but of a very proud people as well. The clash between the mother and daughter seemed very authentic and the respect the daughter had for the mother evident. Isn’t it strange, how years can soften people’s hearts on both side of the aisle? Nicely done
07/27/09
I love what you did with the dialogue--it clips right along because of your use of action tags, and it sounds and feels absolutely authentic.

As far as the ending--it does feel a bit like a summary, even though I really like the framework of the 'present day' at the beginning and end.

What about if you put the action of the last paragraph right NOW, and had you narrator come to her moment of forgiving her mother as she's looking at the invitation?

I really loved this--it's a very strong, well-paced entry.
Like Jan said, this is very strong. The title fits well.
I had a thought of the ending maybe flowing with the rest of the dialogue (i.e. looking back at the yearbook, some sort of dialogue whether as thought or spoken, forgiving her mom.) Just a thought.
Great dialogue! Very realistic and the action rather than tags works well and moves it along. It is still very clear.

I was a ready for the discussion to end, though, but that's probably because of my own impatience with lengthy discussions. It was so real, I wanted it over. LOL.

The ending works, but maybe a little less "teachy." (does that make sense?) Maybe she's holding the card and she wipes away a tear. And you say something like she's thankful that through Christ she's forgiven her mom, but still wonders what prom would have been like. OR have her own daughter come in and ask about buying a prom dress or something and show how she maintains values and the Indian culture, but allows some things her mom didn't?? Just some thoughts.

This is really a strong piece - especially the dialogue!!

The only other thought (but this might mess with your intent or the integrity of the story) is to add some unexpected element to the story. Maybe something happens at the prom (an accident involving her group of friends or she's named prom queen even though she's not there) that the reader doesn't expect. Or maybe the reunion has a prom theme and a former class mate asks her to go and she finally gets to go to prom years later. But like I said, that might be messing with your intent. I often take a true story and add some fiction to liven the story. However, when it's very personal or meaningful, I often have trouble messing with history, so to speak. I like to keep those as true to what happened as possible for some reason. So I totally understand not wanted to fictionalize too much.

Good job. I had an Indian sweet mate in college and she struggled with these very things. We had lots of long talks.

Bravo!
07/27/09
I really liked this entry. It's not only an Indian conversation but conversations that happen no matter what the background. The dialogue was very real and didn't need tags. It was back and forth and it worked great. I felt like I was there yet relieved I didn't have to make any decisions;)

I didn't go to prom either but my best friend's boyfriend is AG and couldn't dance. I didn't miss it one bit.

I agree, the last part is kind of clunky. Just work on that and this piece will be really really good. Love this piece.
07/27/09
The clash of cultural values and expectations comes across loud and clear. The dialogue was long but it moved along smoothly, and I was impressed by the respect shown by the daughter.
I did wonder, mind, why the 20th reunion was brought up right at the beginning but then not developed further. Would she choose to go and find out how the choices of her friends from long ago had worked out?
07/27/09
I agree - you did a SUPERB job with the dialogue, hun. And I also think the ending is too "summaryish." A bit more action and/or emotion - perhaps interacting with the reunion invitation or the yearbook.
08/01/09
I enjoyed reading your story, and liked the cultural as well as generational contrast. I could picture the action in the kitchen as I was reading.
Thank you for your kind words about my entry.
Lisa
08/06/09
Seema, I love the way you wound Indian culture into your story. I could just hear the arguing you and your mother had. And I am glad she allowed you to argue, as it helped you grow. Having gone through my teen years "WAY BACK" in the late 40's, we never dared talk back or argue with our parents. Their word was LAW, especially with Dad. Once I remember wanting to go to a mixed birthday party, and my mom said: "Well, you know I'd rather you didn't, but you make the decision. You know how Daddy and I feel."...I was glad she put it that way. I chose not to go, and have never been sorry....Good writing, Seema...Helen