Looking for a YA Writing Buddy

Critique partners are worth their weight in gold. So (checking financial page) like $20,000 a pound.
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DMM87
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Joined: September 21st, 2010, 1:37 pm
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Looking for a YA Writing Buddy

Post by DMM87 » September 21st, 2010, 2:07 pm

Hi,

My name is Dana I am looking for a YA writing buddy. I write paranormal romance and contemporary YA and will read anything YA related unless it's really heavy into drugs or promiscuous sex (sorry, I don't feel comfortable reading that).

I'm enclosing the first draft of my first chapter so you can get a feel for what you are dealing with in terms of how I write. Please note that this has since been revised. I just want my potential buddy to see what they are getting themselves into!:

Chapter 1
Why is it that tragedy seems to define us? Think about it. If your parents go through a nasty divorce, then you become the girl with the dad who cheated on your mom, and you are no longer the girl with decent grades and a talent for the violin. If your older brother dies in a terrible car accident, then you become the guy whose brother died, not the guy who plays on the golf team and dates Stacie Miller. Tragedy changes everything, and when it finds you and casts its judgment upon you, you have no choice but to accept the label it assigns and prepare to deal with the consequences.
I suppose you could say that in some respects, I was lucky. It had taken tragedy nearly 16 years to find me, and up until our meeting, I had led a happy and satisfying life. But it still found me, and it was dying to make up for lost time.
Despite the rough past few months, I hadn’t realized that tragedy had it out for me. I had chalked up all the recent major events to coincidence and all the strange occurrences to stress. The eve of my 16th birthday finally brought me to my senses.
I rummaged through the covers on my bed. I’d only been home from hockey practice for an hour and had already managed to misplace my cell phone. The memory of my placing the phone on my bedstand was fresh in my mind, but the phone wasn’t there, and now it clearly wasn’t on my bed or on the floor-I had checked there also.
I glanced at the clock. It was nearly 10:30 and Brystol would be calling soon to “check up on me”. I knew she’d be ticked if I didn’t pick up; there were still some things she wanted to talk about before the next day’s event. My eyes scanned the room, but the cell phone-which was a bright yellow that contrasted harshly with my room’s dark blue decor-refused to be found.
I rubbed my temples; the stress had started giving me a headache. “I can’t believe I managed to misplace something else,” I said to no one. Lately, it had seemed like I was always misplacing or losing something.
Frustrated, I fell back on my bed, landing with a “plop”. I curled my hands into fists above my head and closed my eyes as I laid in defeat. Brystol would forgive me if I missed her call, I reasoned. The next day was my birthday, after all.
It didn’t take much for me to fall asleep in those days, and my bed was a little too comfortable after a long day. It took me a moment to shake off the first stage of sleep when I heard my cell phone ring. Once I recognized the sound, I sat up quickly and internally scolded myself as to why I hadn’t thought to call it earlier in my search. It was close, very close. I was practically on top of it. I lunged over the side of my bed, pulling up the covers underneath. It wasn’t there! But I had searched everywhere else in this general vicinity. I placed my hands in my lap and commanded myself to think. And then I felt it. I looked down at my still curled right fist. No way. I opened my hand and in it was my cell phone. How did that happen? I’d been using both of my hands while I was looking for it. Another ring snapped me out of my train of thought.
“Hey, Brystol,” I said, answering the phone and temporarily forgetting the previous event.
“A.J., I am so excited about tomorrow!” she began, getting right into the conversation-there were never any “hi, how are you”s from Brystol when she called with something on her mind. “Are you ready? I still can’t believe your family is throwing you such an awesome party.”
“The party hasn’t happened yet,” I said, cutting in. “You can’t know if it will truly be awesome.”
“Oh, shut up,” she said. I’m sure she was rolling her eyes. “It will be great. I know it.” She paused. Here it comes. “Anyway, I think you and your family really need this right now. You’ve all been through so much, especially you, A.J.”
I took a deep breath, loud enough for Brystol had heard me. I had nothing to say and she knew this. Ever since Trevor, my former boyfriend, died 3 months ago-around the same time my little brother, Simon, was discovered to have some sort of brain cancer, Brystol had taken a new approach to our friendship; it was a motherly approach, with phone calls every night and reassuring looks every day at school. It was driving me crazy, and she knew it, yet the touchy feely, “let’s talk about our feelings” crap never seemed to stop. Don’t get me wrong, the recent events in my life had impacted me greatly; I just wasn’t inclined to share how I felt with anyone but myself.
The silence continued; she would get no response from me. “Anyway, are you ready?” she asked, defeated. “Your dress isn’t rolled up in a ball on your floor or something, is it?”
“Nope. It’s hanging in my closet with my stockings and my shoes.”
“It’s June, A.J., no pantyhose or tights, please,” she said with disgust.
“They’re black,” I said. “They’ll match my dress and my shoes. You’re always telling me that I need to learn how to match better.” I smiled. This was the type of conversation that I missed.
“Yeah, but you’re not Goth or punk or Emo,” she said. “So why do you want to dress in all black?”
“I’m nervous,” I said, changing the subject. “I have a bad feeling about tomorrow.” As the last bit left my tongue, I silently cursed myself. Why did I change a bad subject just to walk into a different but equally bad subject?
“It’ll be fine,” Brystol said reassuringly. Right on cue she added, “That bad feeling you have is just your social anxiety talking.” My social anxiety, by the way, was diagnosed by none other than Brystol herself after she watched a documentary on gifted children and teens. Apparently those with higher than average IQs often have difficulties in social situations and relating to other people. I suppose that could apply to me to some extent. I do have a “gifted” IQ, and sometimes, no, most of the time I had no idea where Brystol was coming from on certain topics of conversation. However, every time I declined to attend or complained about some sort of social outing or situation, she had to blame my personal social preferences on my intelligence.
“You’re right,” I said. “So we agree that the black stockings are okay, then?”
“And the dance begins again,” Brystol said with a laugh.
The conversation about my dress and what I would be wearing at the party continued until midnight, when Brystol promptly wished me a happy birthday and said good night. She caused me a lot of grief, but Brystol was one of the truest friends any person could ask for.
While my conversation with Brystol had left me in a good mood, I still worried about what the day would bring and how the party would go down. My family had collectively come up with the idea months ago, and despite my reservations-I’m not really the “party type”-had convinced me to have a sweet sixteen party. I was my mother’s only daughter, my eldest brother, Brett, had reminded me. Of course they had to drag my mom into this; being what some would call a tomboy, I had always felt that I had taken the experience of having a little girl away from her. When I saw how much the event would mean to her, I begrudgingly obliged. When Simon got sick again, I had suggested that we cancel or postpone the party, but Simon had insisted that the party go one regardless of his absence. He also made me promise that I would let them.
“I’m sick and it makes them sad,” he had said. “Please give them a reason to be happy.” Not needing further explanation, I agreed and dropped the subject.
Something seemed off, though. I’m not what one would call a superstitious or even religious person, but my intuition told me something bad was going to happen at the party. It must be stress, I thought. ((Should I mention something about tragedy here?))
Despite the late hour and the fact that I had taken a shower at the arena just a few hours earlier, I decided to take a bath, hoping the heat would ease my tension. I got up off my bed and made my way across the room to the small personal bathroom I was fortunate enough to have to myself. I opened the door and stepped inside. Immediately I was engulfed in pastel pink and flowers. My poor mother tried so hard, I thought, like I had so many times before.
After the getting the water temperature just right, I closed the shower curtain, lowered myself into the tub and let my senses consume me. The heat immediately worked its magic and I soon felt relaxed. I closed my eyes and laid my head back on the pink ceramic tiles behind me. I could so easily fall asleep like this, I thought, and sure enough and true to my nature, I did. ((This feels rushed, but how much does the reader want to know about a bathroom?))
What was most likely a few minutes later, I awoke to the sound of something falling into the sink. I dismissed the noise; my bathroom was incredibly small and I was notorious for leaving my toothbrush on the barely-there counter space. It wasn’t entirely uncommon for it to end up in the sink, which would have been fairly disgusting if I wasn’t the only person who used this bathroom.
I closed my eyes again and waited for sleep to find me. As soon as I began to drift off again, another noise woke me. Well, I only have one toothbrush. It must be a sign, I thought, half kidding to myself. I slowly raised up from the bathtub and let the water drip off me before grabbing a towel from behind me. After the towel was secure around my body, I stepped over the rail and took a few steps over to my sink to investigate the noise.
What I found astonished me. My small bathroom cabinet was wide open, and in the sink was athletic tape and a bottle of Ibuprofen. I stared dumbfounded. I hadn’t been in the cabinet, which was where the two items had originated from. How did my cabinet manage to open, and furthermore, how the items get in the sink? A quick glance at the clasp told me it was still functional and in place. I grasped the door handle of the bathroom. It was still locked, though I had doubted the likelihood of my father or mother visiting my bathroom at this hour and without announcing their presence. I couldn’t think of any natural causes either. The small suburb of Pittsburgh in which I resided was not in a prime location for earthquakes or tornados, which I would have noticed happening anyway. I put the athletic tape and pills back in the cabinet, and closed the door, which stayed shut.
And then I saw it.
Written in the steam on the cabinet door mirror was “Happy Birthday Allora”. I stepped back from the mirror as far as I could in the cramped space, the realization that someone had been in the bathroom with me hit me hard. My mind immediately tried again to rationalize the situation. The door was still locked from the inside and there were no windows. Furthermore, there was nowhere to hide in such a small space. Impossible. But someone was here, so who was it?
I stepped forward again and raised my hand to the mirror. I took my right index finger and began to trace the impeccable script. I stopped when I came to my name. There weren’t many people who called me “Allora”. My parents, friends, schoolmates, teammates, and teachers all called me A.J. Most mail I received was addressed to A.J. I even had A.J. printed as my name on various school documents and some forms of identification. I didn’t really identify with “Allora” apart from one exception; the only person who ever referred to me as “Allora” was Trevor, and Trevor was dead.
I was the girl with the deceased boyfriend and dying brother. And I was going out of my mind.

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androidblues
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Re: Looking for a YA Writing Buddy

Post by androidblues » September 30th, 2010, 6:22 pm

I don't think it's bad. But the main thing that distracts me is the long blocks of text and the lack of spaces between paragraphs. But I think it starts out really well. I like that you get straight to the point. Is this going to be sort of like a Judy Blume novel, because it reminds me of It's Not the End of the World, although I don't know why. I'll be your writing buddy. Want me to send you the first chapter of my story?
http://www.thebooklantern.com

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I never want to hear the screams of the teenage girls in other people's dreams.

In the real word as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems.

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