YA Flash Fiction

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EvelynEhrlich
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YA Flash Fiction

Post by EvelynEhrlich » August 4th, 2010, 2:38 am

Hi all,
Here's a short YA piece (891 words) I wrote, since my critique partner currently has my WIP. This is my first attempt at flash fiction. Any comments are appreciated. Thanks!
-----------------

I didn't want to sit next to him. Anywhere, anywhere but there.

But I didn't have a choice. There were four empty seats at the round banquet table, and there were four of us. I stood closest to where he already sat. And my girlfriends chattered away among themselves, slipping into the other empty chairs, oblivious to my unspoken plea to swap seats. But I hovered, just in case. Maybe I could still escape.

The ballroom at the Anaheim Hilton buzzed as everyone else filed in. It was midway through the Junior Statesman of America conference, and time for the director to present awards to the best JSA chapters. The Hillview High School group had gotten split up while we squeezed through the double doors of the ballroom. That's how I ended up here, separated from our chapter by a sea of strangers and an endless expanse of drab, purple carpet.

I didn't know the boy in the seat next to me. But I knew enough that I squirmed as I slid into the red-clothed chair. He was really cute, in that too-perfect kind of way. Clear blue eyes with a hint of gray. Short, sandy hair. And a smile that could light up the room even if all the chandeliers had been dimmed. He was a charmer, I could tell. And I didn't know how to talk to beautiful boys like him.

I smoothed my hair into a ponytail, tucking a stray, mousy wisp behind my ear. I felt so dull next to him, just pale skin and freckles and flat brown eyes.

Maybe he'll be stupid, I thought. Then it'll be easy to ignore him.

He stopped talking to his friends and turned to me. He quirked the left corner of his mouth. My stomach went into freefall.

"I'm Will," he said. "From Oakmont High."

I stuck out my hand to meet his. "Brett. From Hillview."

He grinned. "Like Lady Brett."

He knows Hemingway off the top of his head? Seriously? I guess he's not that dumb.

"So is Oakmont up for another award?" I asked. They always had one of the biggest chapters in Southern California, and three out of the five JSA officers this year were from Oakmont.

Will shrugged. "I dunno. I just come to these things for the food." He picked up a fork and pushed a pile of gloppy linguine around his plate, laughing.

I relaxed my shoulders and let myself slide into my chair. I cradled a tumbler of iced tea in my hands. I shivered at the touch of the cold glass, and a fat droplet trickled off the side and into my lap. It left a dark, Rorschach blot on my pink skirt.

"Here." Will leaned over with a cloth napkin. He was so close I could smell the laundry detergent on his shirt. Crisp and clean. I inhaled. Once. Twice. I didn't want to move.

But I had to take the napkin from him, and then he pulled away, back into his chair, out of my space.

I counted to ten, then back to one again. And my pulse finally stopped thrumming through my chest.

I opened my mouth to say something, but a microphone screeched over the loud speakers. The feedback shrieked through our ears. Everyone cringed.

As Will recoiled, his knee grazed mine under the white tablecloth. Warmth shot through me, jolting from where he'd touched me all the way to my core. I think I gasped, though I hadn't meant to.

I glanced over at him. He stared at the empty space in front of his plate. But his fingers trembled, just a little, as he stifled a smile.

Mr. Morris, the director of JSA, towered over the dais in the front of the room. He cleared his throat and beamed at us, his teeth blindingly white against the dark brown of his skin.

"Welcome to the annual JSA Awards Luncheon," he said.

The tablecloth rustled against my leg. Will's knee inched closer to mine again. He acted nonchalant, focusing on Mr. Morris. But Will watched me out of the corner of his eye. I didn't discourage him, and he shifted in his seat, closer to me. He pressed his leg against mine, only his khakis and the tablecloth separating him from my skin. It was electric. And I crept nearer to him, too.

Mr. Morris rambled on, but I didn't care. I wasn't sure what Will wanted from me, or why he seemed interested, but I didn't care about that, either. All that mattered was the square inch of him against me.
But then someone tapped me on the shoulder.

"Hey, babe," Jeremy whispered. He never called me "babe." It sounded so wrong coming out of his mouth. He put a hand on my forearm while he shot Will a sideways glare. "Come on," Jeremy said to me. "We've got extra seats with the rest of Hillview on the other side of the room."

He tugged on my arm, and I careened back to reality. My girlfriends had already gathered their things and started down the aisle toward the Hillview tables at the far end of the ballroom. I looked at Will but he pretended not to see me.

So I slung my book bag over my shoulder and followed my boyfriend back to where I belonged.

LeAnne
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Re: YA Flash Fiction

Post by LeAnne » August 4th, 2010, 1:21 pm

Second sentence: “Anywhere, anywhere but there.”

Try just one ‘anywhere’ or put one of them in italics. The sentence doesn’t seem to have the punch for me right now without having that emphasis.

Your second paragraph really pulls me in. I want to keep reading after your wonderful descriptions of the girls slipping into their chairs. I can really picture that in my head quite easily.

I’ve actually been to several conferences like this in high school (FBLA), so I love the realism, but groups are usually assigned tables so they aren’t put with other groups by mistake. Even if you’re separated at the door, you’re usually directed to a table with a sign on it for your chapter. Advisers normally freak out about that and check name badges for schools as the groups get seated. If you do end up sitting with another group, it isn't long before an adviser comes over there and moves you (think, like a minute, and before the conference even starts). But, of course, that’s just from my experience in FBLA. Other groups might do that differently.

“Maybe he'll be stupid, I thought. Then it'll be easy to ignore him.” This kind of turns me away from the main character all of the sudden, because it sounds a tad bit elitist.

Other than that I read the rest without any problems. I love your descriptions and references. You can easily hold a reader’s attention. And wow, I love the punch at the end. It makes me wonder why she doesn’t feel guilty with this other guy at the table.

EvelynEhrlich
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Re: YA Flash Fiction

Post by EvelynEhrlich » August 5th, 2010, 4:33 pm

LeAnne,
Thanks for the feedback. You're right about the "Maybe he'll be stupid" line. I'll change it to something else, like "Maybe he'll be boring," so that the MC doesn't become unlikeable.

My memory of my JSA days is a bit hazy, so I don't remember how our advisors acted. I seem to recall having a lot of freedom at those conventions, other than after curfew at night. I may be wrong; maybe I'll ask my other JSA friends if they remember. Or maybe it doesn't matter because it's fiction... :)

Thanks again for taking the time to comment.
-Evelyn

LeAnne
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Re: YA Flash Fiction

Post by LeAnne » August 5th, 2010, 11:55 pm

Exactly. Don't worry too much about the details. It's just a thought. And you have an excellent piece here. I can't wait to read the rest of it. ;B

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maybegenius
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Re: YA Flash Fiction

Post by maybegenius » August 14th, 2010, 8:23 pm

Personally, I'm okay with the "maybe he'll be stupid" line, because I think otherwise she's likable enough. Plus, sometimes teens (and adults) have those sorts of snarky thoughts. Doesn't always make them bad people. Whatever you think is best :D
aka S.E. Sinkhorn, or Steph

My Blog | My Twitter | YA!Flash Tumblr

Represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary

EvelynEhrlich
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Re: YA Flash Fiction

Post by EvelynEhrlich » August 14th, 2010, 10:49 pm

Thanks, maybegenius! Hope all's well -- it was fun to hang out at SCBWI-LA.

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maybegenius
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Re: YA Flash Fiction

Post by maybegenius » August 15th, 2010, 12:59 am

Totally! :D
aka S.E. Sinkhorn, or Steph

My Blog | My Twitter | YA!Flash Tumblr

Represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary

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SSB
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Re: YA Flash Fiction

Post by SSB » August 24th, 2010, 6:56 pm

I want to let you know that I am not a published author. I am far from an expert. I am giving you my view point as a reader only.

I agree the other poster, only one anywhere.
I didn't want to sit next to him. Anywhere, anywhere but there.

But I didn't have a choice. There were four empty seats at the round banquet table, and there were four of us. I stood closest to where he already sat. And my girlfriends chattered away among themselves, slipping into the other empty chairs, oblivious to my unspoken plea to swap seats. But I hovered, just in case. Maybe I could still escape.

2nd paragraph a little wordy.

But, I didn't have a choice. There were four of us, and four empty seats. Unfortunately, I was standing right next to him. My girlfriends chatted away amongst themselves slipping into the other empty chairs, oblivious to my unspoken plea to swap places. I hovered for a moment, thinking I may still be able to escape.

The ballroom at the Anaheim Hilton buzzed as everyone else filed in. It was midway through the Junior Statesman of America conference, and time for the director to present awards to the best JSA chapters. The Hillview High School group had gotten split up while we squeezed through the double doors of the ballroom. That's how I ended up here, separated from our chapter by a sea of strangers and an endless expanse of drab, purple carpet.

What is the Junior Statesman of America conference?

I didn't know the boy in the seat next to me. But I knew enough that I squirmed as I slid into the red-clothed chair. He was really cute, in that too-perfect kind of way. Clear blue eyes with a hint of gray. Short, sandy hair. And a smile that could light up the room even if all the chandeliers had been dimmed. He was a charmer, I could tell. And I didn't know how to talk to beautiful boys like him.

Love this paragraph Techincal note: But, I knew enough about him

I smoothed my hair into a ponytail, tucking a stray, mousy wisp behind my ear. I felt so dull next to him, just pale skin and freckles and flat brown eyes.

Love the above.

Maybe he'll be stupid, I thought. Then it'll be easy to ignore him.

Like the line, but "Maybe he'll be stupid." I thought to myself. "Then it'll be easy to ignore him." (I would say ignore his ass, but I realize that in YA you may want to keep it clean.)

He stopped talking to his friends and turned to me. He quirked the left corner of his mouth. My stomach went into freefall.

"I'm Will," he said. "From Oakmont High."

I stuck out my hand to meet his. "Brett. From Hillview."

He grinned. "Like Lady Brett."

He knows Hemingway off the top of his head? Seriously? I guess he's not that dumb.
He knew Hemingway off the top of his head? I was impressed or use present in parenthesis. "He knows Hemingway off the top of his head? Seriously? I guess he's not that dumb." I thought mentally.(Or something like that)

"So is Oakmont up for another award?" I asked. They always had one of the biggest chapters in Southern California, and three out of the five JSA officers this year were from Oakmont.

Will shrugged. "I dunno. I just come to these things for the food." He picked up a fork and pushed a pile of gloppy linguine around his plate, laughing.

I relaxed my shoulders and let myself slide into my chair. I cradled a tumbler of iced tea in my hands. I shivered at the touch of the cold glass, and a fat droplet trickled off the side and into my lap. It left a dark, Rorschach blot on my pink skirt.

"Here." Will leaned over with a cloth napkin. He was so close I could smell the laundry detergent on his shirt. Crisp and clean. I inhaled. Once. Twice. I didn't want to move.

But I had to take the napkin from him, and then he pulled away, back into his chair, out of my space.

I counted to ten, then back to one again. And my pulse finally stopped thrumming through my chest. Love it

I opened my mouth to say something, but a microphone screeched over the loud speakers. The feedback shrieked through our ears. Everyone cringed.

As Will recoiled, his knee grazed mine under the white tablecloth. Warmth shot through me, jolting from where he'd touched me all the way to my core. I think I gasped, though I hadn't meant to.
Love it
I glanced over at him. He stared at the empty space in front of his plate. But his fingers trembled, just a little, as he stifled a smile. Love it.

Mr. Morris, the director of JSA, towered over the dais in the front of the room. He cleared his throat and beamed at us, his teeth blindingly white against the dark brown of his skin.

"Welcome to the annual JSA Awards Luncheon," he said.

The tablecloth rustled against my leg. Will's knee inched closer to mine again. He acted nonchalant, focusing on Mr. Morris. But Will watched me out of the corner of his eye. I didn't discourage him, and he shifted in his seat, closer to me. He pressed his leg against mine, only his khakis and the tablecloth separating him from my skin. It was electric. And I crept nearer to him, too.

Mr. Morris rambled on, but I didn't care. I wasn't sure what Will wanted from me, or why he seemed interested, but I didn't care about that, either. All that mattered was the square inch of him against me.
But then someone tapped me on the shoulder.

"Hey, babe," Jeremy whispered. He never called me "babe." It sounded so wrong coming out of his mouth. He put a hand on my forearm while he shot Will a sideways glare. "Come on," Jeremy said to me. "We've got extra seats with the rest of Hillview on the other side of the room."

He tugged on my arm, and I careened back to reality. My girlfriends had already gathered their things and started down the aisle toward the Hillview tables at the far end of the ballroom. I looked at Will but he pretended not to see me.

So I slung my book bag over my shoulder and followed my boyfriend back to where I belonged. No comment, loved the rest.
EvelynEhrlich

Posts: 77
Joined: 13 Feb 2010, 01:41
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Re: YA Flash Fiction
by LeAnne » 04 Aug 2010, 13:21

Second sentence: “Anywhere, anywhere but there.”

Try just one ‘anywhere’ or put one of them in italics. The sentence doesn’t seem to have the punch for me right now without having that emphasis.

Your second paragraph really pulls me in. I want to keep reading after your wonderful descriptions of the girls slipping into their chairs. I can really picture that in my head quite easily.

I’ve actually been to several conferences like this in high school (FBLA), so I love the realism, but groups are usually assigned tables so they aren’t put with other groups by mistake. Even if you’re separated at the door, you’re usually directed to a table with a sign on it for your chapter. Advisers normally freak out about that and check name badges for schools as the groups get seated. If you do end up sitting with another group, it isn't long before an adviser comes over t

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