Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Writer's Voice

UNDECIDED
YA contemporary
60,000 words

Query:

High school graduation: Check. College Apps: Check. Actually deciding where to start the rest of your life: Uhhh.

For Ryan, deciding where to go to college is easy: he lets someone else choose. His girlfriend Marcy’s the planner, not him. And he’d rather not think about all the changes graduating and leaving home will bring. Then their chosen school, Texas Central, cuts their soccer program. One more thing he’ll have to give up now that high school’s done. But he doesn’t think there’s anything he can do about it. He’s already committed to both TC and Marcy.

His neighbor Summer learned the hard way that avoiding decisions doesn’t make them go away. Like last June, when she missed her chance to cross the friends’ line with Ryan. She’s spent the last year avoiding him, denying the mistake she made—but that has to stop. She has one more of year of high school, but Ryan’s leaving soon. It’s time she let go of the past and fixed their derailed friendship—especially since she might be the only one who can help him figure out what he wants from the future.

If Ryan and Summer can’t learn to start calling the shots in their own lives, they’ll never reach their goals—and they’ll all end up where they don’t belong. UNDECIDED should appeal to fans of Susane Colasanti and Jenny Han.

First 250:

Summer

His music is too loud—not exactly a problem, except that it’s louder than mine. I jack up my iPod. My tiny speakers can’t drown out the noise.

Especially since they aren’t just competing with music, but laughter, splashing, screams. Fun. That’s what’s on the other side of the fence.

My phone buzzes and skitters across the swing’s seat. Amber’s name flashes on the screen, followed almost immediately by Max’s. Their texts are identical. She’s headed to his house, his parents are headed out, I can come if I want.

Half an invitation from each that doesn’t add up to a whole.

Can’t make it, I text back. Family movie night.

Not a complete lie. The windows flicker with light from a DVD.

I give up the fight with the music and shut mine off. Despite the dark sky, the air is hot.

I could join my parents, but instead I stay outside, between my house and Ryan’s, pushing myself in the swing, digging my bare toes into the grass, listening to the party I’m definitely not invited to.

Until the soccer ball lands in my lap. I clutch it and blink into the darkness, trying to see if anyone’s there to claim it. A head pops over the back fence, followed by a body, which lands with a two-footed thump on my side.

“Nice one, man,” Ryan yells over the fence, then jogs toward me.

I could throw the ball back, but I wait for him to come to me.

22 comments:

Robyn Lucas said...

Love it! (but I loved Unvisible too :)
Best of luck to you.

Melinda said...

Thanks, Robyn! Good luck to you, too.

Adam Oster said...

Good Luck!

Matthew MacNish said...

Hi Melinda, I'm stopping by from the Writer's Voice Contest to wish you the best of luck! Nice to meet you.

I would've followed, but I can't find your widget.

Brenda McKenna said...

I love YA contemporary, and yours sounds interesting! Good luck! :)

beccaweston said...

Fellow entrant stopping by to say hi!

Your entry looks great! Good luck in the contest!

Melinda said...

Thanks, everyone! Good luck to all of you, too!

Jennie Bailey said...

Just stopped by to wish you luck! It's nice to see some contemporary getting in there - love this!

Anne Pfeffer said...

Glad to see another contemporary story -- good luck in the competition! Anne (#102)

Jacky Gray said...

Great voice - sounds totally right for YA. I must confess I missed the title Summer at the top so it took me a while to figure it was a girl talking, not a boy, but that only makes me like it more - not into girly girls.
Had to check you out early - we're the only Gray's (there are a couple of Grey's) in the contest.
Good Luck Melinda
Cheers
Jacky (#130)
xxx

Sarah Wedgbrow said...

There's something so genuine about this--the teen experience. I'm hooked!

A. E. Welch said...

Good luck from one contestant to another!

Adam Oster said...

I spent some time re-reading the plot summary, trying to find the super-power, or secret ability, or underground government agency. . . but couldn't find one. And that made me happy. I mean, I love me some special plot devices, but it's refreshing to see a story about real kids dealing with real issues.
Once again, good luck!

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Stopping in to wish you luck in the contest! I really like your premise. I teach many kids who would be all about this!

Carrie Butler said...

Oo, sounds like borderline NA. I like it. :) Good luck!

SueJay said...

I love the way you captured this moment. This is something we can all relate to. Great job. I'm usually more into the supernatural or government conspiracies, but I really like the poignancy of this. I would definitely read more.

Dahlia said...

Hooray for a fellow contemp! Good luck from #70!

C.G.Ayling said...

I love what Adam Oster said in his post. I second it with spades! Nice job, and good luck.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Good luck!

TYHatch said...

A very true-to-life situation.

Good luck.

Tina (#194)

Carolyn Abiad said...

Best of luck!
Carolyn, #157

valerierlawson said...

great entry. great tension from the very start. good luck with the contest!