Bruno Ain’t Never Gonna Change

I received some bad news on the quest to become a published author front today, Modern Philosophers.

The publishing company that requested to read my manuscript sent a polite, personalized rejection email today.  They stated: “Unfortunately, it’s not quite right for us”.  As a result, Bruno, Wally and the rest of the gang must continue to seek a literary home as they fight crime.

The publisher made two suggestions.  One I found potentially helpful, but the other I really didn’t like.  I wanted to ask your opinion since you’ve read the serials, and many of you have reached out to me outside of the blog to discuss the stories and characters in detail.

So please let me know your thoughts.

short story, writing, Modern PhilosopherThe first suggestion was to give the story a definite setting, even if it is a fictional city.  I purposely did not name the city for a couple of reasons.

It’s a combination of several actual places like the town where I currently live, the town in which I grew up, New York, and LA.  But it’s also none of those cities, if that makes sense.

A real city would have a huge police department to handle all its crime.  The Brunoverse is set in a town large enough to have gangs, organized crime, corrupt realtors, a homeless problem, and shady Church types, but small enough so that all the cool crimes fall onto Bruno’s desk.

I was also inspired by the movie SEVEN.  We’re never told in what city the story is set.  It’s almost a character of its own.  It reminds me of Seattle, and yet, it’s a car drive aware from the desert.

I wanted my city to be anonymous.  Do you think that’s a mistake?  When you read the serials, where did you think the story was set?  I’m afraid of limiting my readers’ imagination if I give it a set location.

Suggestion #2 definitely irked me, but I want to remain open-minded.  She wrote: “Also, the bad grammar of the detective is kind of endearing at first, but it’s so pervasive that it becomes a turn-off, at least for this reader.”

Okay, Modern Philosophers, be honest with me.  Did Bruno’s manner of speaking bother you?

We know he was a jock, who probably put athletics far ahead of mastering his mother tongue.  I also believe that Bruno plays up his challenges with the English language to confuse people as to how intelligent he is, as well as to intimidate them.

I have played with the idea of having him totally freak out someone, like real estate mogul Miles Fitzpatrick, by suddenly speaking in perfect English for an important conversation.

Down deep, I believe that Bruno’s speech is a character of its own.  I don’t want to change it, but if it’s standing in the way of publication, I need to know.

So be straight with me.  What do you guys think?

If you’re new to the blog and have no idea who Bruno is, I direct you to the two serials that are the basis for my novel: The Vanishing Corpse and The Vanishing Santa.

All feedback will be taken into consideration.  Thanks again for your support!

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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17 Responses to Bruno Ain’t Never Gonna Change

  1. kristianw84 says:

    I’m sorry to hear about the rejection letter, but I am glad she gave you some pointers.

    With that being said, originally, I thought the location was in Maine but that was only because of Aaron and Holly’s cameos. Once you pointed out how Maine wouldn’t make sense because of the higher crime rates and gang members, I thought of smaller cities such as Baltimore or Pittsburgh, not so much in those exact locations, just that smaller city feel. I don’t know that the location matters. As you mentioned, they never mention the location in Se7en, and although The Simpsons live in Springfield, they never mention the state, and that mystery is a part of the show.

    Personally, I love Bruno’s dialect. I think it is endearing and immediately drew me to him. It adds character to the story not just to him, but the story. I couldn’t imagine Bruno’s sarcasm without his “improper grammar.”
    I’ve read a lot of novels with similar dialect, so I’m thinking she might just be offering her personal preference. I don’t think it would put many of your readers off. It certainly doesn’t this reader. 🙂 I’m confident you can find a literally agent who likes Bruno just the way he is.

    • Austin says:

      The rejection wasn’t so bad. I sent out one query letter and got a full manuscript request from a publishing company. That’s pretty good.

      If anything, Bruno lives in some midwestern town that’s not too big, but big enough. If forced to set the story someplace, I think I would make up a town.

      I once wrote a screenplay set in a town called Effit. It love that name. 🙂

      And Bruno talks how he talks. That ain’t never gonna change. I couldn’t write his dialogue any other way….

      • kristianw84 says:

        I love your outlook! You’re right, receiving a full manuscript request on your first query letter is incredible!

        Yeah, I didn’t have an actual location in mind. Hahaha, I love the town called “Effit!” 🤣 That’s so great! I agree, if you are going set a location, a fictional place is probably best.

        I’m happy to hear Bruno talks how he talks, “and that ain’t never gonna change.” 🙂

        Keeping my fingers crossed for you, Austin! I’ll always have high hopes for you!

      • Austin says:

        Thank you for the support!

      • kristianw84 says:

        Always, my friend!

  2. Bill says:

    I don’t imagine it being any particular place. It just is where it is, if that makes any sense.

    Bruno is who he is, and he talks how he talks.

    • Austin says:

      Thanks. Bill. That was my feeling, too.

      I read once that Tarantino purposely didn’t put character descriptions in the Reservoir Dogs screenplay so that actors and casting agents could see anyone in those roles. I’ve always followed that in my scripts.

      I like to leave things open for interpretation. America doesn’t need to know where Bruno lives. He guessed hassled enough by the criminals in that town! 🙂

  3. beth says:

    I’d say if you add a city, make up a generic name for one, like Oakdale, etc. and give a little background for it – mid-sized, middle American, where everyone feels safe and leaves doors unlocked, low on churches, but high on bars, etc. whatever a general description would be. doesn’t have to be real. say ‘small enough that files landed on bruno’s desk’ as you said, that kind of thing. as for bruno and his quirks, I’d day keep him as is

  4. WebbBlogs says:

    I am so sorry about the letter Austin. As far as the location goes honestly other than picturing it in a big city with a small town feel, I haven’t given it much thought. Ok now about Bruno, I definitely disagree with what was suggested in your letter. I love Bruno, hes tough, outspoken, he’s his own person and not scared to say what is on his mind. He also has a good heart and looks after the people he cares about. If he was real I would date him. 😁😁

    • Austin says:

      Thank you for that feedback. I’m beginning to think that this publisher’s passing on my manuscript was not the worst thing in the world.

      I am going to press forward with the story, and its hero, as is!

  5. markbialczak says:

    I think it’s best left with the city unsaid and Bruno being Bruno, Austin. That rejection letter is merely one editor’s opinion. If your manuscript fell on another’s desk …

  6. Pingback: All I want: July 15 – A Silly Place

  7. adamjasonp says:

    The reasons she gave seem a bit, I don’t know— like personal opinions, and don’t sound the most helpful. Reason no. 2 is particularly bogus to me. A character will speak however he/she speaks. Dialogue isn’t even the body sentence structure.

    Personal or market tastes is not a good reason to change a character. Characters need to change more on their own terms. Which brings me to reason no. 1…

    She does have some point to the staging. The literal name of the city isn’t really important as much as the city is its own character… that the characters evolve in the sandbox. Sure, there are rewrites and edits, and darlings killed, so it flows okay. But what gives it life and experience is what connects, no? Not every detail needs to be disclosed to the reader, but there needs to be something real behind the eyes of the people in a story, so to speak, not just situations. Pain, love… Fleshing out more experience/maturity in the city and its characters may help. Good writing takes talent; great writing takes time.

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