Monday, January 19, 2009

First Pages: MG / Untitled

What do you wear to an awards ceremony?
I throw open my closet doors and listen as the white plastic hangers clap for me.
I bow. “Why, thank you. I’m so happy to have won this award.”
Movie stars wear long dresses and sparkly jewelry to the Academy Awards. I reach for the only fancy dress I own—the blue satin one I wore to my Aunt Lucy’s wedding. It even has some sparkly jewelry attached. A rhinestone belt buckle. But I’m not sure blue satin is right for the last day of school.
Are you sure this is middle grade? It's sounding like 2nd-4th grade to me.
I stand on my tippy-toes and cram the blue dress back into the closet between the mad scientist costume I wore for Halloween last year and the pink fuzzy robe my grandmother gave me for my birthday that I’ve never worn.
“Stripes,” I decide. “I’ll wear stripes.”
Tippy-toes? Possibly a little too cute. It's sounding like Fancy Nancy when I think you're really going for something more Clementine.

The voice here sounds uneven to my ear. If you're going for a very unique first person voice, you've got to nail it.
I know some people like to match their clothes by color. My best friend, Ainslee Moore for one. But I prefer to match by pattern—stripes with stripes, plaid with plaid, floral with floral. It’s more interesting.
I grab my American flag shirt, my jean skirtall and my rainbow-striped toe-socks. Nice. But nice enough for an award ceremony? I spot the purple and white striped scarf Mr. Orr, our next door neighbor, knitted me for Christmas. Bingo! I don’t usually wear a scarf in June, but it will look cool dragging behind me as I walk up to the stage to accept my award. Very movie star-ish.
I throw on my green-glitter flip flops—to add a little sparkle—and run downstairs to grab some breakfast.
I swear I saw this very outfit on a kid.
“Wow!” my mom says when I walk into the kitchen. “You look…”
“Don’t say it, Mom,” I warn, picking up a cinnamon roll and pointing it towards her. “Don’t you dare say it.”
“What?” My mom throws her hands up in mock surrender as I pop the cinnamon roll into my mouth. “I was just going to say that you look…terrible. The ugliest daughter a mom could hope to have.”
I smile and lick the icing from my fingertips. “Thanks, Mom!”
I hate for anyone to call me pretty. You can either be a pretty girl or a smart girl. And I have my sights set on smart.
Not bad. This is clearly a character with a lot of character, and that's great for the age group. However, we're getting most of her character from the things she does, and little from her voice. The quality and consistency of that voice will need some work before this starts to shine.


Anonymous said...

Also, I'm pretty sure a young girl couldn't "pop" a cinnamon roll right into her mouth. Maybe a large-mouthed older man. Like my brother-in-law.

But I like the bits of spunk in what was shared. :)

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I loved the voice in this. I thought the writing showed real flair.
(And no, I'm not EA so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. And I'm not the author either!)

Chris Eldin said...

I love the opening, but the voice wavered and I started to skip. I'd keep reading for a few more pages to see how this was going.
Nice job!

Anonymous said...

I loved how the MC's best-friend's name was slipped in there. The name "Ainslee Moore" cracks me up too.

I liked the voice -- so for those that didn't, I'm unsure if the voice was the problem, or if there was simply too much "clothes" talk to maintain interest?

A character that has her sights set on "smart" not pretty. I really, really like this. Also, it ties in neatly with the awards ceremony she's dressing for in the beginning. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

"I hate for anyone to call me pretty. You can either be a pretty girl or a smart girl. And I have my sights set on smart," I love these lines, and the character/voice they reveal.

But I wonder if a girl so set on "smart not pretty" would spend so much time in her closet, or go for a "very movie-star" ish look?

Anonymous said...

I like the clapping hangers... nice imagery right off the bat.