Notes on Familiarity Breaks


Why Familiarity Breaks is experimental

My novel is the closest snapshot I have of how I view social interaction.

It couldn’t get published as it was experimental. All the publishers said the same thing. It was too original and risky to invest money in printing and marketing

There’s no real storyline or plot like a soap or drama has. It’s just a 10 day snapshot of a popular boy’s life

What the book is really about becomes clear near the end

It’s 90% dialogue

Hardly any description

It doesn’t tell you what the characters look like

Unusual narrative style

The tone and sentence structure changes depending on what chapter you’re reading

Everyone talks colloquially and they sometimes use slang

It’s set on a planet that looks like earth but is not earth

So instead of Facebook it’s Nectarface. The hotel is called clexacubicle

All the speech and actions have an implicit meaning not revealed by the narrator

Every character in the book has flaws

There’s no villain. No good and evil. Every character is good.

My vision was that you create the imagery in your own head and that everyone who reads the book will have a completely different opinion of the characters because of this.

Also my vision was that you have to read the subtleties and implicit nature as when you live your life there’s things you miss in everyday interaction that you’re not aware of

So it’s my idea of a realistic book.

The type of book I wished I could find in my school library but never could

My friend from Singapore read it

Her first language is not english

She told me that when she read it, the whole thing, she didn’t understand it

Then she read it again then said it was amazing, genius and really good

People either don’t get it, don’t understand what is going on, or say it’s just people talking

Or they say it’s genius

So it’s esoteric. To be understood by a few people. Like Aphex Twin, Lil Wayne or Radiohead.

I didn’t like the books in my school library as it was either, fantasy, romance or you get young adult

So I thought to myself, what should a book about realism, be like?

So I’m the anti-jacqueline wilson

I show the humorous, mundane and gritty side of life

Books that say they’re realistic are written for 12 year olds

And are patronising as they dumb down the real world

My other vision was to get the mundane bits of life, and make it interesting

I’ll give 2 examples.

The human interaction in Harry Potter is very serious. In my book it’s very offbeat.

It’s common for readers of my book to read the same sentence 2 or 3 times as it’s SO offbeat

Let me give you three examples of the offbeat and implicit nature of the book

Kamirah is sat next to molly and likes her. He says something sexual. She tells him to stop being a pervert. The narration says she then bent her head down and rummaged through her handbag. The narration does not say she did this to hide blushing face.

Something bad happens in class. A child colloquially says “Sad!” You don’t know if the child is mocking, sympathetic or both

Meena likes Sheridon, has been holding hands with him all day, and everyone thinks they’re in a relationship. When Sheridon is not around, Meena asks Sheridon’s friend Kamirah “Do you think I’m pretty?” Kamirah responds “You don’t like him do you?” You might think that was a non-sequitur. (That it does follow from what was previously said) The narrator doesn’t explain what he meant by that comment. The way Kamirah thinks is this…..

“If you’re in a relationship and you’re holding hands all day, and you have to rely on your looks to keep a man instead of personality or kindness when you’ve not spoken to him all day, you’ve just been silent, then I think you’re only dating him for his social status as he’s very popular, you’re a loner, and he has lots of girls fighting over him”

You can’t honestly say you understand ALL the things people say when interacting with people and why they say the things they say, – no one can, not even Russell Brand – so why should my book have it all spelled out by the narrator?

People say the book is funny

I didn’t write it to be funny. I wrote it to be realistic, have very little description, implicit and offbeat and so everyone who reads it will have completely different opinions of the characters. You create the imagery in your own head.

I wrote it to write the sort of book I wished I could find in my school library

Now you know about my book

My family probably think that my distorted view of the world or me being different wrote the book but I don’t agree. I think me writing proper realism instead of a Jacqueline Wilson book, wrote the book.

So if you want to know how I see the world, my novel is the closest snapshot of that.

People will either say

  • It’s absolutely retarded
  • I don’t get it
  • It’s just people talking. Where’s the storyline or plot?
  • It’s genius.

Now you see why it could NEVER get published. Not every book can get published. Thanks to the internet and video games, less and less people are reading books.

Character Descriptions for Familiarity Breaks

Sheridon

Sheridon is a good looking, likable boy who is popular with everyone. He doesn’t look fully angelic. He looks like the sort of person who could be evil, and get away with it.

He doesn’t analyse things much, but he has topical comments to sat about things. When he’s upset he tends to use slang words and not express himself clearly. He’s not good at talking about his emotions, though people would not think so, except for Michelle.

When you look at him, you don’t know whether you want to kiss him or slap him.
When he is processing information around him, he has such an observant look about him (mulling, more so than smiling), and then he would just say something to show his redeeming qualities. Think the John James (from Big Brother) look.
When he’s having a conversation with someone, he puts imaginary numbers onto who he regards as more or lesser important. He doesn’t tell you what your number are, but it’s up to you to figure it out.

Kerry and Terry

Kerry and Terry are attractive twins, whose personality and perceptions of them are shaped by how they look. When either one is in the room, they fill the room with their presence, and will surely be missed when they’re gone. Their minds are always buzzing with thoughts, and they are unpredictable. They are free spirited, idealistic, and compassionate with people and the world. They are creative, and they do practical things only they would think of.

Kerry and Terry have problems in their relationship. The problem is that Terry unknowingly doesn’t spend time with Kerry, and she doesn’t see it as a problem. She has a strong bond with Sheridon and Stefan, which Kerry wants to eradicate. Kerry’s naughtiness is because she secretly plans to have Terry to herself.

Stefan

Stefan is a happy-go-lucky child, who is living in a bubble of security, where he is always happy about things, as young children are. He is always ready for what life has in store with him, he does the creative and childish things that people his age do. Stefan also likes playfighting and messing about, although he doesn’t inflict his violence on unsuspecting victims.

Debra

Debra is the mother who treats her kids as second class citizens, and everyone else as first class. She finds her kids as burdens, and she likes to do as little parenting as possible, leaving them to fend for herself.
As a person, she is manipulative, crass, and manipulative. Also she is narcissistic or egocentric (haven’t decided which). Many people won’t ever see that side of her. Generally as a parent, she insults her kids when they do something very wrong, and she doesn’t expect to get the same back. She is very confrontational and can be abrasive at times. She is supportive of her kids, but not as supportive as she should be.

Dad

Dad is a person with his head above the clouds, who thinks that he is more than what he is. He has the best interests for the kids unlike Debra, but she’s there for them and he isn’t. That combined with his amazing yet disputable “knowledge”, miracles/tricks and humanitarian life, it makes him a mythical figure.

The rare times he’s around, he’s not around for long, and when he is, he does so little, it’s like he wasn’t there at all.
Dad’s personality is based off God and Jesus. He has the narcissistic view of God, that nobody shall worship anyone other than him and that his big headedness reflects in the attitude of what he does. The breakfast scene is based off the fish and loaves of bread scene. The final meal scene is based off the last supper scene.

Luke

With any group of friends, there’s always the one who is moral and isn’t a strong character, and that person is Luke. Luke is a good friend to have, as he’s supportive, and has everyone’s best interests at heart. He isn’t a saint though, as he might do something bad when the chance comes.

Kamirah

Kamirah is an exaggerated version of me Tynamite, Adisa Nicholson. He’s clever, immature and funny. In the book Familiarity Breaks, he’s called a pervert, and is always silly. He’s not always like that, but that’s all you see in this book of him. Most of the time he’s either serious, or not thinking at all. He has a tendency to make silly mistakes. Also Kamirah is confident without a low self esteem, unlike me. I’ll need someone else’s help to describe me.

Molly

Molly is a girl, who is defined by her blondness and pretty looks. Most of her life, from a young age, she’s had boys trying to get in her pants. The same boys who are her friends, are the same boys who are scheming. Because of this, she’s put up a resilience, where she truly believes she’s smart. 

On first impressions of seeing Molly interact with people, you’ll think she’s a smart outgoing girl with a good head on her shoulders, who knows what is going on around her, with the people she’s with. When you start to talk to her, you will find out that this is not the case. She does not have much emotional intelligence. If you was to tell her about yourself in conversation, the next day she would ask you about it, to confirm if it’s true, and I don’t mean having money. I mean saying that you don’t want to sing on stage because you’re shy.

Molly likes to think she’s clever or smart, but her friends know that she isn’t. She’s an easy girl to lie to, but not an easy girl to sleep with. You might see her asking questions or proclaiming her views to show her intelligence, but she is empathetic and sensitive.

Maya

Maya is a typical black girl, end of, nuff said. She doesn’t take flack from anyone, and she knows how to work people, and get what she wants. She is vavacious and loud.

Meena

First things first, Meena is an extremely shy girl, not only that she has no confidence, and that combined with her constant muteness, makes her look like she’s been damaged, or that she’s got problems, mainly damaged.

In Familiarity Breaks, Meena turns up on Wednesday Day 3, strongly trying to be Sheridon’s friend, or more likely in his presence being mute. She does this not because she likes him, well she does, but because she looks up to him, and that he’s the person she wants to be, confident and all. She showed up on the scene that day because she liked how after the boy with the cap got banged out, everything went back to normal, more particularly Sheridon’s popularity, minus the fact that the whole school was talking about him. She sees him as a role model, and is greatly honoured to simply be in his presence.


Moving onto her personality, she has a lot of love to share, but no real opportunities to share it. She’s also compassionate to all living things, which is why Karly got hugged in Day 9 #78 A Different Life.

She’s also a loner, so most of her time is spent longing, thinking highly of other people.
Meena is also a fragile girl. When she walks, it looks like she’s about to step on a rake. When she’s still, it looks like she’s scared to be outside by herself. She’s very unsure of herself, and she’s always looking for security in others.
Maybe you have a part of Meena inside of you? Maybe given the time to be alone for a long time, you’ll end up being just like Meena?

Eliza

Eliza, where do I start? When she first appears in Familiarity Breaks on Friday Day 5, #42 The Girl Shows Her Face, she is portrayed as a confident girl, secure with her looks, who enjoys to have sexual power over boys, knowing that she’s desired. She was basically saying “every boy wants me” think of the Kelis Milkshake chorus and you’ve got it. Actually the opposite is the case, Eliza was lying, and the girl Sheridon thought he was talking to is a fake.


Actually Eliza is quirky and eccentric (they both mean the same thing), but not mad eccentric (or maybe she is), that’s why she brought a glow in the dark frizbee in the park and wanted Sheridon to decorate it.
Eliza has a low self esteem, and has learnt that people do not like the true her, so she puts on an act. That’s why she couldn’t eat to eating raw cookie dough. That’s why she never told Sheridon that she wanted him to decorate a frizbee when asked. That’s why she can’t take critisism. That’s why she expects people to think bad of her when they ask her questions of what she’s doing.


You might have thought that after telling Sheridon she had no boyfriend, that she showed her true colours. She didn’t, and she still hasn’t.
Her problems root from boys in her year bullying her at school for apparently not being as sexy as her older sister Michelle, when she is sexy and likable.

Heidi

Heidi is a pretty blonde girl, whose life is not defined by how she looks. She’s optimistic and she’s always smiling. She’s naive as she expects good of everyone. She’s compassionate as she’s kind to everyone. She’s idealistic as she has a blurred opportunist way of seeing the world. People like her are gems, as she’s still innocent at her age. She luckily has weirdly escaped having a mass following of boys after her.


In Familiarity Breaks #78 A Different Life, it may seem like she likes Sheridon. That’s not the case. She just knew it was possibly her first and last day with him, so she wanted to enjoy it for all it had.

Heidi is a pretty blonde girl, whose life is not defined by how she looks. She’s optimistic and she’s always smiling. She’s naive as she expects good of everyone. She’s compassionate as she’s kind to everyone. She’s idealistic as she has a blurred opportunist way of seeing the world. People like her are gems, as she’s still innocent at her age. She luckily has weirdly escaped having a mass following of boys after her.

In Familiarity Breaks #78 A Different Life, it may seem like she likes Sheridon. That’s not the case. She just knew it was possibly her first and last day with him, so she wanted to enjoy it for all it had.

Karly

Karly goes on like she was born with a screw up face, without knowing how to change it. If anyone will have teenage angst, it will be her. Out of the group, Eliza, Heidi and Karly, she is the bad one. She’s a bad influence and Heidi knows it, so she tries to keep clear of her. She insulted Kamirah twice in #78 A Different life, and she won’t have any hesitation doing it again to anyone who winds her up. Out of the three friends, she is the most grounded (down with reality).

Tracy

Tracy is the girl who is truly in love with Sheridon, and won’t stop at nothing until she gets him. She did give up trying however from Day 2 #8 onwards. She is stupid and naturally annoying, especially when trying to win over Sheridon. Tracy is not uncool, but she’s not considered to be cool either. Also she’s a bohemian hipster.

Sheridon and Tracy do suit each other, because she would make him feel the way he would want to feel; but not now, they don’t really get along. Here’s a secret. Whenever Sheridon is happy, Tracy is sad and vice versa. If they both get to know each other and understand each other, and be both happy or sad at the same time, they would have the perfect relationship.

Michelle

Michelle is popular like Sheridon, but unlike him she’s sassy, kind and bossy. When she’s around, you know who’s playing the cards. Think Michelle from Skins, series 1 and 2. Everything about her oozes sassyness and class, like the classy cat. Power, status, she has it. Compared to Michelle, Sheridon behaves like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. She’s sophisticated, and the only one who knows that Sheridon has problems talking about his emotions. She’s also fiery and challenging.

About Eliza

Eliza………………..

  • Pretends she has a boyfriend
  • Wears make up
  • Wears a skirt
  • Talks about fake boys
  • Has a flashy handbag
  • Puts herself down
  • Doesn’t think she’s attractive
  • Has taken drugs
  • Drinks alcohol
  • Gives into peer pressure
  • Thinks her popularity is inherited from her popular older sister Michelle
  • Pressured into sex
  • Impressionable

Eliza is an insecure girl because of the outside pressures telling her to be cool. She lives her life in the shadow of her older sister Michelle. Eliza gets painted under the same brush as Michelle so she is expected to be social and desirable. As she is prone to peer pressure, she has been known to take drugs, smoke and drink alcohol. Other people expect her to be the younger version of Michelle, and she feels that people will not like the real her. She plays up to a pretentious image of what people expect her to behave like. She dyes her hair, wears a skirt, make-up, and she doesn’t consider herself as attractive. She also pretends to have a boyfriend.

She is an impressionable and gullible person and her strong desire is to be loved, combined with her low self esteem is her biggest downfall.

Weekend Storyline for Familiarity Breaks

  1. Prophecy – Sheridon – Debra’s Cigs
  2. Addiction – Debra – Wants cigarettes
  3. Court – Tracy – Cannot know about the case
  4. Addiction – Dad – Tries to help Debra
  5. Court – Dad – Sheridon tells on Tuesday
  6. Relations – Sheridon – Wants to know Dad
  7. Breakup – Sheridon – Loss over Michelle
  8. Court – Meena – Supports Sheridon
  9. Court – Luke – Supports Sheridon
  10. Court – Court Girl – Supports Sheridon
  11. Pulling – Shy Girl – Make advances
  12. Pulling – Earlier Girl – Makes advances
  13. Spiking – Luke – Tells Sheridon not to eat or drink
  14. Spiking – Tracy – Tricked into spiking people
  15. Closeness – Terry – Wants Kerry outside
  16. Competition – Terry – Tries to ruin Kerry’s chances
  17. Guarding – Kerry – Guards Terry from strangers
  18. Oblivious – Stefan – Does not know
  19. Oblivious – Dad – Does not know
  1. Addiction
  2. Oblivious
  3. Jealously
  4. Closeness
  5. Pulling
  6. Support
  7. Mystery
  8. Prophecy
  1. Saturday – I had a dream about cats
  2. Tuesday – I should be honest about no boyfriend
  3. Wednesday  – Kiss

All The Characters

Every character who speaks in the book is in at least two chapters.

Family

  • Sheridon
  • Kerry
  • Terry
  • Stefan
  • Debra
  • Dad

Relationships

  • Distant Girl
  • Tracy
  • Michelle
  • Ryan
  • Tracy’s older sister
  • Tracy’s mother

School

  • Boy with cap
  • Boy who kicked football
  • Shy girl
  • Art teacher
  • Earlier girl
  • Mentor
  • Villager man from school trip
  • Geography teacher

Court

  • Defense lawyer
  • Prosecution lawyer
  • Judge

Friends

  • Luke
  • Kamirah
  • (cussed Meena)
  • 4th friend
  • 5th friend
  • Court girl
  • Meena
  • Molly
  • Maya

Work

  • 1st man
  • 2nd man
  • (Debbie Danks) (is just mentioned, Debra’s friend)

Mentioned

  • Caroline
  • Tracy’s friends
  • Michelle’s friends
  • Food teacher
  • History teacher
  • English teacher
  • Maths teacher
  • Science teacher
  • Trading cats
  • Tiger’s friends
  • Court girl’s parenters
  • Hitchhiker driver
  • Knickers woman
  • Man who hit on Eliza
  • Designated driver


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