Joint Custody Comments

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Fred: I just finished reading Joint Custody in two sittings. Last night and tonight :) I really like it a lot!! It just feels, so... homey. I like the way you have developed Bay's character so far. I like how you have stayed away from the "oh my parents are divorced and so now I'm such a victim" plot. I really like how you have Bay develop his own personality and coping methods. I think you have a good plot... Basically a nice kid who is looking for a family; being confused with a divorce and legal proceedings and counselors and all. I thought Bay and Marz's interactions are very cute. Marz seems mature for her age, and she even calls Bay's friends immature, but I think girls that age mature fast and that is cool that you picked that up. I do think that there may be issues down the road in Bay and Marz's lives if they start liking each other more than friends (in their lives this is probably a couple of years away at least)... I don't think this would be a bad thing for their overall life story, I do think it would enhance it.... But on the other hand, I think it is outside the scope of this particular story--this seems to focus on the kids' pre-teenness. I am not sure where you want to head with this story, but typical stories of people this age usually end sometime before junior high. It just seems like kids go through a rough phase in junior high that is subject to entire stories altogehter. On the whole, I think the story is very sweet, and I hope you write more of it soon, and continue to share it with me :)

Jessie: I never thought much about the lives of kids with divorced parents before. You're giving me a really good sense of how much of a PAIN it could be.

I figure kids probably do realize that it really COULD be because of them that their parents split up. I mean, even if it's not really, Bay's got a legitimate reason to think so, and he knows it -- it's not just a general free-floating childhood fear the way some grown-ups would suggest to him. Adults just make themselves less trustworthy when they talk to kids like that, not even acknowledging their valid fears as such. Way to lose the ability to tell them when something really ISN'T likely to be significant.

I really love this kid.

Okay, on to the vegetarian issue I noted earlier. It seems to me that Bay's mom really is extremely unobservant if she has never once noticed him not eating his meat. I'm not sure what you could do about that without introducing a scene where they do try to make him eat it, but even a moderately attentive parent would have to notice this eventually. (I hope?) Maybe she notices once or twice and he just says he's not that hungry tonight? But then she'd know to watch him about that. Hmm....

I'm really liking this pool scene. It reminds me of playing Marco Polo myself when I was little. The character development here is great. Kids really do just behave the way they're expected to around their friends -- like jerks if that's the standard -- but they'll pick it up if someone starts making waves from the inside of the group sometimes. I like the way this is unfolding -- especially the fact that Mike and Tony can't totally be cool with it. They have to keep picking on Marz 'cause they're uncomfortable and they're typical boys and such.

I know you're not working on this story at the moment, but I hope you'll pick it up again and go farther with it, because I want to see what happens next! Thanks for sending the story! ^^ I'd love to read more of your projects.

Amethyst: I love the second paragraph, the way Bay describes what it’s like to constantly go back and forth between two houses, the whole “two of everything” part, combined with the unspoken pressure he feels to adapt to it all, to feel normal. And how he never feels like he’s home.

I am absolutely delighted with the character Bay. He’s so real. The things he says and thinks, though often insightful, are also appropriate for his age. His quirks make him so loveable! He’s an interesting person, too. I really care about what he thinks and feels, and what happens to him.

I enjoyed seeing his transition from assuming how people will respond if he does/says certain things, to venturing finding out for sure. I’m curious what will happen when he tells his parents he’s vegetarian—how they’ll react. Have they noticed more than he thinks? I like the way you describe the physical appearances of the characters without stopping just for that. You fit it into Bay’s observations in a natural way that keeps the story flowing.

I thought chapter 3 seemed very realistic: the way Bay’s friends push and hit each other and call each other stupid all the time, their responses to Marz and hers to them, Bay grabbing Marz’ butt and then feeling so badly about it. ‘Twas just brilliant.

I feel like I’m really inside an 11-year-old boy’s head. I know I keep saying it, but it’s really great how real everyone is.