I don’t often write from personal experience. While everyone says that you should write what you know, what you know is different for everyone. Writing from personal experience can lead the writer to become too attached to memory and force that into their fiction. On top of that, forcing embellishments on characters based on real people in real situations can fall flat. Having said that, this is definitely a story in need of revisions because it is based on real people in real situations.
This event was based on the first time I took my wife to Florida to meet my parents. It was my dad’s birthday week, and we had bought tickets for my parents and us to go to a Florida Gator football game since that is my family’s college team of choice. One night, after dinner, the conversation took a turn exactly like the one here, although the aftermath was considerably different. The result is that I was unable to really flesh out the mother character and she came across as overly villainous. The revelation of Olivia’s brother being gay and having AIDS also seemed overly convenient, even though that actually happened.
I’m not divorcing myself from this story, there are a lot of things that I really like about this story, and I think that I could craft it into a good or even great story dealing with themes of family dysfunction, religion, and politics and I have a few ideas of what I want to do for a future draft. So make sure to stay tuned for a better version of this story.