The Making of “Bastard Pickney: The Jamaican Journal”

Hello, Everyone!

I invited you all to share in Anita’s journey in “Bastard Pickney: The Jamaican Journal”.  As I had indicated on the very first day I began posting, this is a “work-in-progress”.  It was initially written while I was taking my first ever Creative Writing class.  The plan for this story had been swimming around in my head for quite some time.  It is loosely based on my own experiences growing up with an absentee father and a “trying” mother with an indomitable spirit.

The events which have played out in the excerpts you’ve read over the last week, are fictitious, however – you may say that I sat back, reflected on the struggles I underwent as a child and just basically allowed my imagination to “run weh wid mi!”

In June 2013, while still hashing out the plot in my head, I decided to enter the piece in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Creative Writing Competition.  This was done on a whim.  The JCDC had strict guidelines as it relates to word limit and categories.  At that juncture, “Bastard Pickney” was some 6,000+ words long.  I was stuck at the point where Regina and Barrington butt heads.  JCDC’s word limit for Short Stories was 3,500 words maximum.  For full-length novel, the limit was 40,000 words.  I was in a dilemma.   The deadline for submission was a week away.  I was nowhere near 40,000 words.  And the story was twice as long as the Short Category required.  Should I chop and dice to cut it down to size? Should I split it in two and submit it as two separate entries? I decided to do neither.  JCDC said I could not split the story as each piece is judged individually.  And I felt such love for my “baby” that I did not wish to mutilate it.

So, what did I do?

I BROKE the rules!

I submitted my 6,000+ words in the Adult Short Story category with the following aims in mind: (1) to have the experience of entering a competition (yes! This was my very first!). (2) To get my name out there and (3) To find out if I was any good.

The result?

A Merit Award!

It was completely unexpected given the circumstances.  I was thrilled, humbled and so greatly inspired.  I had been severely marked down for exceeding the word limit, was what the Judges’ Report stated.  I decided, right then and there, to start working on some pieces specifically FOR the 2014 competition and I am currently working on several.  My  goal where “Bastard Pickney” is concerned is to get it to that 40,000 word count and re-enter it in the Adult Novel Category later this year.

Now that you have all had a peek into Anita and Puncie’s life, I am going to take liberties and ask you to help me to achieve this target.  I have seen how everyone immersed themselves into the story, empathizing with Anita and Puncie and siding with them against Barrington and Regina.  As the creator of this tale, I am very moved by your responses and this is why I have decided to extend this invitation.

I am asking each and every person who has read Excerpts 1 through to 7 to join me on this journey.  Tell me how you would like to see the story progress.  What would you like to see happening to Anita, Puncie, Barrington, Regina? Do you think Barrington WILL give Puncie that money? Now that the Police have arrived, what do you think will happen? Will Anita make it to school afterall?

Please leave a reply here.

I greatly appreciate your help – looking forward to your suggestions with mucho enthusiasm.

Keep on reading, everyone! Remember: “Reading maketh a full man!”

Peace out!

Mandisa M. Parnell






6 thoughts on “The Making of “Bastard Pickney: The Jamaican Journal”

  1. Congrats on your award, Mandisa! 🙂 From long time you were somebody who worked hard to get what you wanted.

    I would like to see Barrington actually start acting like a man and not a man-to. I hate to see women overpowering and putting down their men, but unfortunately some men make it really easy to do. I want to see him start taking care of Anita despite the situation with Puncie. Too many men (and I use that term loosely) use the situation with the mother as an excuse to disregard the child. I detest “men” like that.

    For Puncie and the police, well, she did pull a knife on the dude and has to pay for that. However, while she’s in lock-up, who the hell’s Anita gonna stay with? What would be interesting is if Anita stayed with her father until Puncie get out. If Puncie had something to blackmail him about or something that made sure he HAD to take Anita in. Hmm….I don’t know. But that would be interesting, especially if the other kids started to like Anita.

    That’s my two cents for now. I’ll add some more cents later. Gotta go!

  2. Congrats Mandisa!…I think a happy ending would be nice but we done know that isnt always the case and realistic tings will mek the writing stronger. Soooo, at first Barrington and dat red gyal as Puncie would say lol can continue to get away wid the slackness. By some orher means…some distant relative or something else, Anita gets to go to Olson…but one of her siblings go dere too and dem become best of friends.

    Puncie, well yeh the knife situation she need to answer to so she can get eena lickle trouble fi dat but nothing too much to take her away from her girls or mek her out to be a bad person.

    Regina full ah crap. But her child’s innocent relationship wid his/her sibling should put her to shame and teach har some tings.

    I think Puncie should encounter Barrington again but without Regina and police and really put him in him place but no deadly weapons next time lol poor Puncie…but mi understand har rage to di fullest!

  3. Mandisa, no do mi dat again u know how mi check from last week fi di next excerpt # 8 . Mi mean every day minute mi check, a di number that u post mi was looking for to tell mi mind because u have a wait so long 🙂 Anyways probably u could have a show down among the three parties involve right there with the police, trying to find out the root of the matter. Puncie fi tell dem everything lock stock and barrel. Barrington a get off too easy plus di red gal one must be put under mannaz . No woman nah mek another woman tek libaty di dem pickney. No sah, no Jamaican woman a go mek dat slide. Oh at no time Puncie should be plaed in jail, if anything Barrrington should be the one going there. Another thing more community members must come out fi hear the saga unfold. Uptown ppl fass too

    Looking forward to the next excerpt. Happeeeeeeee 🙂 writing

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s