Thursday, August 15, 2013

Friday Feedback: Shhhhh...

shhh... don't tell anyone I'm here. 

So, Kate faked me out.

Said right here that Teachers Write was ending on the 12th.

Hmmm. Maybe she's trying to get rid of me.

So I thought LAST week, was the last Friday Feedback of the summer.

Guess I've got egg on my face.

If you missed last week, there were nice parting gifts and everything. I'm hoping a few of you will make it far enough in your writing to take me up on them soon!

So, anyway, yeah, I said last week was the last, so I lied, so shhhhh. Let's not tell anyone we're here. I mean, how can I close out the last week of Teachers Write without a Friday Feedback?

So, instead of an excerpt from a WIP from me, how about the first few paragraphs and a peek at the beautiful cover for my next YA, THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO -- since it's starting to pop up everywhere anyway.

ARC's in October. Release in March.

I can't wait for a second book.

If you'd like to post an excerpt, I'll read and give feedback. Like always. Come on. You know you want to. And don't forget THE RULES.

Happy end of summer, and happy back to school for those of you back in your classrooms already.

***



Chapter one.

It’s not even noon in not even July, yet already the sun bakes down hot and steady, making the air waffle like an oily mirage.

Lisette walks ahead of me, her blond ponytail bobbing happily, the stray strands lit gold by the sunshine that spills down through the fresh green canopy of leaves. Bradley holds tight to her hand, ducks to avoid the low-hanging branches. Prickles of sweat appear between his shoulder blades — dark gray spots against the pale blue cotton of his T-shirt that mesmerize me.

I shift my gaze to my spring green, no-lace Converse sneakers, wondering for the millionth time what it would feel like to have my hand in his.

As if he reads my thoughts, he turns for a second and smiles. My heart somersaults. I shouldn’t feel this way about Lisette’s boyfriend.

- gae






20 comments:

  1. I LOVE this cover!!! (And yay! I was going to ask you to post again today but didn't want to be too pushy, so I'm glad you did!)

    xoxo

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    1. Like you could have stopped me, Kate! ;) (glad you're glad). And glad you love the cover.

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  2. Oooh, my inner teeager just had a "been there, done that" moment! I love how you had me standing right behind the couple! Here's a little more from Jake's first day of 5th grade. My working title is "They Don't Give A's for Funny." My copy of Pull of Gravity came in the mail yesterday :) Thank you again for all your tips and links and xo's. My goal is to have a query to you before Thanksgiving. Good luck with the college move too!

    The fifth grade lines faced the cafeteria windows. Matt, Miranda and Phoebe dropped their backpacks into line. I kept mine on my shoulder.
    “Wanna go check out the kickball game?” Matt asked.
    “Nah. I’m just gonna look around.”
    I walked the perimeter of the blacktop. Painted letters and numbers indicated where each line should begin. First, I passed 4W. Poor Mrs. Winton. I had found that exploding marker at the joke shop in Florida. Luckily, she wasn’t wearing white on the first day of school. Next, 3L. An unsuspecting Mrs. Ladd had not been a fan of the hot sauce I dropped into her coffee cup. I walked on to the wall of library windows. I stopped on 2G. Mrs. Greene nearly jumped onto her desk when the frog jumped into her hair. Finally, I saw 1L. Mrs. Lincoln’s scream nearly set off the fire alarm when she sat on the pile of worms I had placed on her chair. Mrs. Good, my kindergarten teacher, had escaped a first day prank. I was too young to know what a prank was, but I sure did come up with a few tricks the second half of the year. She called me “her little handful.” She retired that summer.
    I hated to admit it, but Huey was right. I wanted to make an impression. But I wasn’t exactly sure what to think about Mr. Katz. He was unchartered territory. An unexplored galaxy. My first male teacher. I had seen a piece of Mom in all my other teachers. Even though my pranks were disruptive, no one ever got hurt. Often times, after the initial shock wore off, I caught a little smile wiggle across the teacher’s mouth before it opened and ordered me to the office. They had no choice. They had to discipline me. If they didn’t, they’d risk a room full of copycats.
    The bell rang and I jogged toward line.
    Mr. Katz stood outside the door and greeted each student with a loud, “Good morning!”
    “Howdy!” I said, tipping an imaginary cowboy hat.
    “You loser.” Matt pushed me into the classroom. The closet area was criss-crossed with caution tape. At the front of the room, the promethean board showed swirls of pink, blue, green and purple tumbled across the screen. I could hear the sound of a waterfall coming through the ceiling speakers. Within seconds, the entire class was scattered around desks, standing still, looking at the screen. Mr. Katz steered his way through the crowd and jumped in front of the lighted screen.
    “Good morning friends! He lifted his armed in a T, like he was going to hug us all at once. “Welcome to the first day of fifth grade! May this year be filled with peace, joy and happiness!”
    Strike that galaxy comment from before. Mr. Katz was from a whole new universe!

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  3. Oh, Jessica, I think you've got gold on your hands here. If they don't give A's for funny, they should. Can't wait to read that query of yours. Thanks for sharing all summer here! SUCH fun! Great stuff. Great tension. Great hook! ONWARD!!!!

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  4. Oh, and thank you for buying TPOG! I hope you like it! :)

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  5. So, John Scovil asked me to post his excerpt for him - he cannot get on blogger for some reason and, so, has made me his slave. ;) <3 Here's John's excerpt (I'm not sure some of the poetic spacing/formatting will translate here, fyi):

    The preacher man stood right behind them, holding his bible tight to his chest. He was bald with white fluffy hair on the sides of his head. Wet glasses hung on the tip of his nose.



    We slowly moved away from the hole.



    The four men, my momma’s brothers, walked slowly to the edge, and laid the box down on the wet ground.



    The box sat on the ground as my uncles walked back and stood next to my aunts. The preacher man stood next to the box. We walked towards daddy and stood next to him. Daddy picked me up and held me on his side.



    “We come here for Ida…”



    The rest of the words became distant echoes in my ears. I couldn’t hear them. I looked around and saw my aunts, dressed in their best, sobbing and wet. My uncles with their heads down so that all I could see was the top of their hats.



    Everything was spinning.

    Spinning.

    Spinning.

    Spinning.



    I laid my head down on daddy’s shoulder.



    “Amen.”

    “Amen.” Everyone said in unison. Even my daddy said amen. I said it in my head.



    All of a sudden I became scared. That scary feeling that you feel like you’re running down a dark hallway and the hallway gets smaller and smaller until your stuck and wake up! I felt so scared inside because I wouldn’t see that box ever again. I would never see my momma ever again. I slid out of my daddy’s arms landing on the wet shlopping ground and ran towards the box.



    I kneelt beside it and laid my head on top of it, clutching the handles on its side. I was holding the handles so tight that my knuckles were white. All of a sudden the lump jumped out of my throat allowing me to scream and not let go, I yelled with all my might, “MOMMA…don’t leave me, please don’t leave me!” Everyone started to cry more vocally. I could hear them. The echoes were gone.



    “MOMMA, don’t leave me. Please don’t leave me. Don’t go into that hole, Momma, please!”



    I felt a hand on my shoulder. Kneeling down next to me, my aunt touched my shoulder and started to rub my back. Her head hung low.



    “Momma, I promise. I promise to be a good girl. I do. I promise if you come back I will never ever do anything bad. I promise.”



    My forehead fell and landed on top of the wet box.



    I was then picked up by my aunt since I had no strength but flooding eyes. She walked me over and stood next to my daddy.



    A hunched over looking man with a balding head and long stringy hair with deep dark eyes walked over to the box that held momma snug inside. He placed two ropes around the box, one on each end. Then one man grabbed the bottom part of the box with the hunchbacked man grabbing the ropes at the top, where my momma’s head was laying inside. They slowly pulled and pushed the box over until it was hanging over the opening of the hole.

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    1. Hook, line and sinker.....More, more, more!

      I agree with Gae's flash edits....but more, more, more for my reader self!

      M

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  6. Hey, John, I am really LOVING the emotion you are teasing out of this scene and this story. So beautiful and poignant. And there's really some tremendous writing going on, imagery I feel in my bones.

    I know it's still raw and rough, but I still can't help myself from doing a superspeed flash edit to pull back on some of the repetition (lots of wets! Two slowlys in a row, etc...) and unneeded words (you have two suddenly's in this short piece and, as a rule, suddenly should be used really sparely if at all as it's really a word used for big emphasis to cue the reader and most often we can do without it if we write effectively... see what you think)

    The preacher man stood right behind them, holding his bible tight to his chest. He was bald with white fluffy hair on the sides of his head. Wet glasses hung on the tip of his nose.

    We slowly moved away from the hole.

    The four men, my momma’s brothers, trudged to the edge, and laid the box on the soggy ground.

    The box sat there as my uncles walked back and stood next to my aunts. The preacher man stood next to the box. We walked toward daddy and stood next to him. Daddy picked me up and held me on his side.

    “We come here for Ida…”

    The rest of the words became distant echoes I couldn’t hear. I looked around and saw my aunts, dressed in their best, sobbing and drenched. My uncles with their heads down so that all I could see was the top of their hats.

    Everything was spinning.

    Spinning.

    Spinning.

    Spinning.

    I laid my head down on daddy’s shoulder.

    “Amen.”

    “Amen,” everyone said in unison. Even my daddy said amen. I only said it in my head.

    All of a sudden, I became scared. That feeling like you’re running down a dark hallway and the hallway gets smaller and smaller until you're stuck and wake up! I felt so scared inside because I wouldn’t see that box ever again. I would never see my momma ever again. I slid out of daddy’s arms landing on the wet ground and ran towards the box.

    I knelt beside it and laid my head on top of it, clutching the handles on its side. I held them so tight that my knuckles went white. A lump jumped out of my throat allowing me to scream and not let go. I yelled with all my might: “MOMMA…don’t leave me, please don’t leave me!” Everyone started to cry then, louder. I could hear them. The echoes were gone.

    “MOMMA, don’t leave me. Please don’t leave me. Don’t go into that hole, Momma, please!”

    I felt a hand on my shoulder. Kneeling down next to me, my aunt touched my shoulder and rubbed my back. Her head hung low.

    “Momma, I promise. I promise to be a good girl. I do. I promise if you come back I will never ever do anything bad. I promise.”

    My forehead fell and landed on top of the wet box.

    My aunt picked me up, since I had no strength but my flooding eyes. She walked me over and stood next to my daddy.

    A hunched-looking man with a balding head with long stringy hair and deep dark eyes walked over to the box that held momma snug inside. He placed two ropes around the box, one on each end. Another man grabbed the bottom part of the box as the hunchbacked man grabbed the ropes at the top, where my momma’s head lay inside. They slowly pulled and pushed the box over until it hung over the open hole.

    great stuff, John! Keep going. (*weeps a little for Ida/momma*)

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  7. Oh, Gae, what a great cover and a great excerpt. One thing I love about your writing is how you can make me hurt and smile at the same time. The same is true of The Pull of Gravity, which I'm reading now and loving. I'm posting for feedback in a few minutes--scrambling to polish.

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  8. Thanks again for the feedback, advice, inspiration, and encouragement!

    Miranda could make out the top of the elm tree and fixed her eyes on it as it swayed back and forth. She hoped that deep concentration on the tree branches might mute the effect of sitting in the rooms that had once belonged to her mother. They had been done over in shades of ivory and pink for Lady Catherine, and impossibly delicate, sparkling ornaments perched on every open surface.

    Lady Catherine swept into the room on a cloud of sweet perfume and dismissed the serving maids. She smiled at Miranda and Reva, sitting like dolls on a silk divan, and, with a small, satisfied sigh, lowered herself into a brocade chair and began.

    “The wonderful thing about having impeccable manners,” Lady Catherine smoothly intoned, “is that you always know the right thing to do. You will stand out because quality always shows. If you heed my instruction, you will have the satisfaction of superiority and will be the envy of all.”

    Miranda became aware that something in the sofa was poking the back of her leg. Determined to let her quality show, she struggled not to squirm and noticed Reva sitting ramrod straight next to her, eyes gleaming with enthusiasm. Oh, how she wished she was prettier.

    “Distance. I want you to remember that word. It is the hallmark of the superior classes; it is what sets you apart. You do not want people to think that just anyone deserves your attention. You must be discriminating. Remember distance.” Lady Catherine paused, elegantly sipping from Miranda’s mother’s teacup.

    Furiously repeating the word in her head, Miranda practiced distance. She imagined herself away from the pin that was still poking her leg. Away from perfume and sparkling things laughing at her. And most of all, away from perfect pink lips on delicate bone china.

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    1. Oh, Jane, oh! You don't need me at all. Wonderful, consistent, picturesque, evocative writing.

      Imma gonna have a lot of query letters to help with soon!

      Keep going!

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    2. You see, that's exactly why I need you (and for fixing my passive voice issue earlier this summer). Thank you again.

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  9. Couldn't get my reply above... *doing the happy dance* Thanks for the encouragement :)

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    1. Easy to give. can't wait to read more!

      xox

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  10. Gae,

    OMG - Now I am even MORE excited to read the next novel. You know that you are toying with me (you can't do this to an avid reader and fan:).

    Thank you for everything this summer! I greatly appreciate your knowledge of writing, your enthusiasm, and without a doubt, the inspiration that you instill in my own writing.

    I am already looking forward to next summer, but my goal for this school year is to keep up with my own writing. I will be visiting your blog and keeping track of you.:)

    Thank you very much!!!!!
    Andy

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  11. Gae-

    Thank you again for sharing this space, your enthusiasm, and your expertise! Sorry to see camp end *tear rolling down left cheek*, but feel fortified to keep writing and reading- especially The Summer of Letting Go....

    XOXO

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  12. Andy, Mary... thanks for the kind words! Can't wait to hear more of your progress. See you back here in September.

    gae

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  13. Both pieces are so impactful!

    John - Like Gae, I weep a little for Ida, but more for the kiddie...ouff. And Gae, your flash eds were spot on.

    As to your opener - great stuff!

    Glad to find you...both :)

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