This past weekend I was able to work with a great group of young writers. It was wonderful and invigorating and I’ve got to tell all those teachers out there who think they have the best students that they are wrong. The best ones are in Arkansas at my school.
At the workshop, we worked on using all of our senses and on perspective. They told the same story from first person perspective and from third, and let me tell you, I was pretty impressed with their writing. The time that I spent was great for my novel as well because I was able to get some feedback on my WIP and whether it should be written in first or third person. The decision was unanimous: third person for me. So, here is a scene that I’ve been working on.
Jayne sat on the monkey bars, her legs dangling freely in the sunlight. The road in front of the school was full of traffic, the cars loud and invasive. Jayne couldn’t seem to get away from the noise here. The glare was bright in her eyes, but she could make out the hulking form of Raegan James. He was a monolithic shadow, gorilla-walking towards August Jones.
August was in all of Jayne’s classes. He was small and wiry, with wavy red-brown hair. During recess he always sat in the same corner of the playground hiding his PS3 behind a large book that he always carried around. You would think that he would move around instead of being such easy prey, Jayne mumbled to herself.
She knew a lot about prey. Meow, her cat, had been a great hunter on the farm, always bringing home small animals and leaving them on the porch for her. Meow hadn’t caught much since they had moved from the country to the suburbs, and they shared a hate of the suburbs.
Jayne had been at her new school in the suburbs for just two weeks, and everyday was the same during recess. Everyday Raegan would waddle his hulking form to where August was sitting and they would talk. Then Raegan would throw August’s book over the chain link fence before walking away, laughing. Every afternoon, August would wait until Raegan was safely on the bus, climb the fence and gather up his book.
Today, though, Jayne had had enough. Her face turned pink with anger as she jumped from her perch on the monkey bars. The pebbles that covered the playground and separated her from August and his tormenter slowed her down and made her much louder than she normally was. With each step her feet would sink and she would have to pull to get her feet out, like walking through wet sand or pulling a suction cup off of a mirror. She was sick of watching Raegan pick on August day after day. And she was even more sick of August not sticking up for himself. Better to stick up for yourself and get clobbered than to lie down and let someone torment you.
Even though Jayne felt like her steps were giving her away, Raegan was so involved in taunting August that he didn’t hear her as he said, “Why won’t you just go home?” His back was tense, and he seemed to be really angry. The venom of hate dripped from every syllable.
August’s eyes grew large as he noticed Jayne standing there.
“That’s a dumb question,” Jayne chimed in. All of her frustrations, all of her anger at this stupid suburb town seemed to be boiling up inside of her, and she was ready to direct it all at Raegan James.