The past four weeks have been a bloody nightmare. I've been editing the third book in the Demi-Monde series 'Summer' and it proved to be a real trial. Most of my editor's comments centred around one of the new characters, Billy, who is an eighteen-year old black guy who also happens to be a pimp/drug dealer/general low-life from New York. My editor had problems with him on several levels: she didn't like that he didn't get busy in the book until a third of the way in; she didn't like that he seemed rather peripheral when he did get going; and she sure as hell didn't like the slang I given him to mouth. Solving the first two problems necessitated a major re-jigging of the story but I'm still not sure if I've got on top of the slang issue.
I really tried with Billy's patois. I used Larry Fishburne's portrayal of Jimmy Jump in 'The King of New York' (cracking film) as a template but I also checked out 'New Jack City' (cliched crap), 'Boyz N the Hood' (boring cliched crap) and 'Juice' (Okay); read 'Playground' by 50 Cents (Okay) and 'Power and Beauty' by Tip 'T.I.' Harris (a coming of age romance gutted of emotion and passion) and numerous articles on black street jargon; and I referred to things like the Hip Hoptionary and the Hip-Hop Rhyming Dictionary. The problem is that black street talk is now very visceral and (to white, middle class ears) bloody offensive: all motherfuckers, bitches, niggas and ho's and that's what I've written.
We'll see have to see how it all comes out in the wash but right now I'm sick to the back teeth of Billy.