Young Adult Yearning

Bailey with the letter YHere we are, almost at the end of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge!  It’s Short Story Saturday and the letter Y, so my plan was to write a Young Adult short story. Since YA is my favorite genre, I thought it would be a snap.  But I have to admit, I’m pretty drained at this point, and my muse is whimpering in a corner and refusing to cooperate.

I’ve been going through old files lately and ran across my first NaNoWriMo novel AKA my first novel ever.  It has so many of the beginning writer mistakes in it that it makes me cringe. But in a way, isn’t that what good YA fiction is supposed to do? Make us cringe at those feelings of being a teen when we’re so uncertain about everything and what people think of us is the most important thing in the whole wide world?  

So I decided for my YA post I’d use an excerpt from this first uncertain effort.  It’s when the main character Yvonne runs into the four guys she’ll be hanging out with for the rest of the novel.  She’s a super shy gal who loves horror movies (hmmm . . . now who could my first novel protagonist be based on, I wonder?), and talking to guys makes her an awkward mess:

I knew I had to get their attention at some point, but my stomach churned.  I wanted to turn around and run home.  I didn’t think I could do this.  How was I supposed to talk to four guys? But I really wanted to see Murder Mansion and going with them was the only way.  Besides, Hayden looked so yummy in his red plaid shirt, I’d never forgive myself for running like a chicken.  I had to follow Sara’s advice.    

I squeezed my nails into my palms and said, “Hi.”  It came out a dry whisper that didn’t get their attention.  I felt hopeless.  I took a step backwards.  I’d just go home before I made a fool of myself.  I could see Murder Mansion some other time.  No!  I could do this.  I would force myself to be foolishly brave like one of the heroines from my slasher flicks.  I gathered up my courage to try again.  

A voice said, “Hello.”  I briefly thought I was having an out-of-body experience, since I hadn’t moved my lips yet.  Then I realized it was Hayden’s voice.  He’d finally noticed me!  The other guys turned around to look at me.  Rider glared while the other three stared in open curiosity.  I didn’t know how to react, so I stood there stupidly as the blood rushed to my cheeks.

Jeff recovered first, “Hey, Yvonne, you look… really nice.  What are you doing here?”

I looked at Rider.  He hadn’t told them?  “I, well, uh, I’m-”

Rider sighed with hurricane strength.  “Sorry guys, I forgot to tell you.  We’re babysitting Yvonne tonight.  She doesn’t have real friends, so she’s tagging along with us.”

My cheeks were so hot with anger and embarrassment I could have fried eggs on them.

Jeff came to my rescue again, “That sounds like a good idea with those stories on the news. We’d be honored to be your bodyguards.”

Bodie gave a wolf whistle.  “Yeah, I’d be happy to guard your body any day of the week.”  

Startled, I rocked back a half step, but when I looked at him, he gave me a small wink.  I swallowed hard.

Hayden’s forehead wrinkled.  “Yvonne, Yvonne… do I know you from somewhere?”

Oh, God, Hayden was talking to me.  I had to make myself respond.  Just force the words out. “Uh, yes, um, classes, I mean, we have three, uh, classes together.” 

Rider barked out a laugh.  “Talk about not making an impression.”

I glared at him, but Hayden said, “Guess I should have been paying less attention to the teachers and more attention to the people around me.  Glad to have you along, Yvonne.” When I peeked over at him, his whole face lit up with his beautiful smile.  My stupid cheeks got hot again.

Who knows if I’ll ever return to this first novel to try and salvage it, but it’s fun to revisit it.  Hope you enjoyed the excerpt!

Was your first novel a practice novel?  Or have you done something more with it than hide it in a drawer/folder on your hard drive?  How Yippy is Bailey with her letter Y?

Comments

Jessica's picture

The voice in that piece was great. Goes to show even in the beginning you had strengths. My first novel was written so many years ago that it is long since gone. Thanks for sharing!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Thanks, Jessica!  Those practive novels are really great for getting us going, even if they never see the ligth of day.  

Gail Baugniet's picture

Ah, Youth, when we were oximoronically indestructible and totally vulnerable. With my first novel, I loved the protagonist and the story but my first readers/critiquers and an editor had me rewriting and revamping the story until the story became a whole new animal.
http://gail-baugniet.blogspot.com Theme: A World of Crime

Jocelyn Rish's picture

That's great that you were able to rework it.  I think this one has a kernal of a good story there, but lots of fluff and Mary-Sue-ishness that would need to be addressed.  

Jolie du Pre's picture

Thanks for sharing your excerpt. I used to write YA. Even won a contest. But now I write for adults.

Jolie du Pre
Precious Monsters

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Congrats on the contest! I like writing for all different age groups, but my favorite will always be YA.

michelle's picture

Great excerpt... I especially liked this part: "yummy Hayden in his red plaid shirt"...

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Thanks!  It was fun reading some of this again.

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