Monday, November 14, 2016

Belated EEK! Put Some Pages Up For Criteek!

A post by Mary Fan
Hey y'all! So I've been in a helluva writing slump (actually, a helluva life slump) for several months
now, so when my turn came to do an EEK last month, I had literally nothing. Since then, the life slump has kept slumping, but at least I managed to beat a few thousand words out of me (the motivation/productivity seems to be returning in abrupt waves).

So here, for your consideration, are a few pages from my new project... that disastrous ball of insanity I have no business writing but can't stop writing anyway. It's a YA magical realism about six modern-day teens from different backgrounds whose lives bump into each other in unexpected ways.... Here's one of them, an aspiring opera singer named Rae (this is actually the start of Chapter 3, her first POV chapter)

So far, the fuck it side was winning.
She reached across the narrow twin bed—less than half the size of what she had at home, but whatever—tucked her purple sheet over the corner. Straightening, she felt her bra strap slip off—again.
The tiny, single room was stifling in the June heat, and the building was so old, there was no AC. Still, she breathed more easily here than she ever had anywhere else. Fireflies danced around her as they always did, though in the daylight, many mistook them for the gross kind of bugs. If only they’d stick around long enough to see how magical they could be.
“You sure about this, sweetie?” Mom looked like she was literally about to clutch the string of pearls above her sweater set. “Home’s only ten minutes away, and—”
“Moooooom!” Rae dragged her voice out. “I’m living on campus, and that’s that! So deal with it, okay?” She’d been dreaming of attending the Silver Star Creek Summer Arts Festival since she was in kindergarten, and living on the Rexford University campus was part of the experience. She wasn’t about to let Mom take that from her.
A whole summer of nothing but music and fellow young artists and independence—it was like a dream come true. And Rae was certain that hers were about to. The festival—which brought together aspiring young performers from across the country for two months of intensive training with world-class mentors—was breeding ground for future fame, and talent scouts knew that. They flocked to the end-of-summer showcase that exhibited the best of the best, and lots of greats had gotten their start here. Rae was the kind of operatic soprano that could make audiences gasp and weep, even though, as a teen, she’d barely begun to develop her talent. Imagine what’ll happen when my voice matures.
Surely, the scouts would notice too, and she’d get invited to all sorts of conservatories and young artist programs around the world. This was the start she’d always hoped for, that she’d been working for since she’d started taking voice lessons at age three. She’d been watching other opera singers triumph on stage for as long as she could remember.
She’d always known that someday, it would be her turn.
“Remember, we’re just a phone call away.” Mom placed a hand on Rae’s shoulder. “You got the list I sent you, right?”
Rae made a face. Mom’s lists were always full of nitpicky crap, like what Rae should and shouldn’t eat or what hours she could be out without an adult chaperone and other Mom-ish stuff.
“Relax, honey.” From the doorway, Dad chuckled. “She’s sixteen, not six.”
“Yeah, and I’ve got an audition this afternoon, so I don’t have time for your fussing.” Rae crossed her arms. “Go home so I can practice.”
“Wait, you have an audition already?” Mom frowned. “I thought the program didn’t begin until Monday.”
“Not for the festival.” Rae rolled her eyes. “Arthur Theater, remember? They’re staging a new opera about World War Two, and they have open auditions for the chorus.” The community theater specialized in undiscovered talent—both on and off stage. Growing up in an artsy town like Rexford, she’d always been surrounded by fresh ideas on the cusp of becoming something great. Now that she was old enough, she could finally take part.
This time, it was Dad who frowned. “Wait, you want to do an opera and the camp? Are you sure you can handle both?”
Rae didn’t dignify that with an answer; she simply lifted her brows and angled her mouth in an expression that said it all.

She’d find a way to make everything work, and nothing would stop her now.


Carrie Beckort said...

Thanks for the sneak peak, Mary! I like the concept you've presented for the novel. I think what you have here is well written and it draws me in as your writing usually does. The only comment I can offer is that Rae comes across as a major brat. If that's what you're going for, then you nailed it. If it's not, then you might want to dial down the attitude toward the parents. Or add in some sort of empathetic feelings or at least respect toward them. She may only be 10 minutes from home, but it's pretty unfeeling and cold of her to tell her parents to 'go home'. Maybe this is just the mom side of me reading -- I know if my daughter talked to me the way Rae did I'd probably drag her back to the car and not let her stay at camp! But again, you may be going for the major brat with push-over parents. I did like her reaction to her dad's question about the opera and the camp - that told me she was ultra confident in her skill and abilities.

Mary Fan said...

LOL! Yeah she is something of a brat :-)

Mary Fan said...

Thank you so much for critiquing!!

Jonathan Schramm said...

I totally feel you on the life and writing slump. Blahh! But congrats on forcing the words out. I know how hard that can be. I really like Rae and already find her to be a sympathetic character. Working at a college, I actually know students who go to campus 10 minutes away from their parents and make it work, so the concept is definitely realistic. I don't really have any nits. Maybe you could name some of the artists who got their starts at the Arts Festival? Other than that, the writing is smooth and it seems like a great start/3rd chapter of a story. Good luck with it-- and the slumps! No shame in it. I think we all go through it once in a while!

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