Monday, January 21, 2013

1st 5 Pages January Workshop -- Greene Rev 2

Name: Meredith Greene
Genre: YA-Magical Realism
Title: Order of the Griffin

Couches made the best fires. Cooper had somehow managed to convince his mom to let him dispose of the threadbare couch that sat in their basement. Not that she’d approve of its current purpose, but it’s not like Cooper cared. I sat on the tailgate of his beat up Ford, staring into the raging inferno. A good bonfire was a rite of passage for any Southern teen, and this one I had to admit, was pretty dang excellent.

Coop brushed a hand through his mess of straw blond hair and said, “For the first bonfire of the season, Tessa, I’d say we did pretty good.”

“Well, sir, I have to agree,” I said looking around at the dozen or so cars and trucks parked haphazardly in the field. “Nicely done.”

Someone turned a stereo on, which was blaring the latest country chart topper. Cooper’s lip curled into a sly grin. “Let’s dance.” I let him pull me off the truck and into a two-step. He was like a brother to me, and the only boy I felt comfortable enough to dance with.

As the song ended he looked past my shoulder. Shaking his head he said, “What does Ashley think she’s doing?”

I followed his gaze to see my other best friend, Ashley Tyler, flirting with a senior. “Lord only knows, but why do you care?”

Cooper said, “I care because that is Tommy Sanders, and I can’t stand Tommy Sanders.”

“Hey Coop,” a boy called out, “fire’s getting low.”

He looked back and forth between Ashley and the bonfire.

I sat back down on the truck, “Go, I’ll keep an eye on her.”

“Don’t let her out of your sight,” he said as he walked off.

I watched the light of the fire flickering across Ashley’s face as she worked through all her “moves”. First she twisted her hair, then she touched his shoulder, laughed at his jokes. Tommy reached out and pulled her in, but when she pushed against his chest he didn’t let go. Uh oh, that was not part of Ashley’s plan. I set my bottle of water down and shoved off the tailgate.

“Hey, Tommy,” I said as I neared.

“What’s -sup Montgomery?” His breath reeked of cheap alcohol.

“I was just coming over here to check on my friend.” I said, glancing at a wide-eyed Ashley.

“Your friend? This is your friend? Well, any friend of Montgomery’s is a friend of mine.”

“I’m not your friend, Tommy, and neither is she. Come on Ashley, time for you to go.”

“Hey,” he said pulling Ashley closer to his side, “she can stay if she likes.”

“Can she now?” I asked back.

I wanted him, needed him to hit me first. Anything to knock the pain, the nightmares out of my mind. If I couldn’t fight the demons haunting me in my sleep, I could at least go a few rounds with a drunk Tommy Sanders.

Ashley twisted her arm in his grip, “Let go of me you stupid jerk.”

I stepped in between them, daring him to make the first move. “Time for you to do what she says, Tommy, let go.” I felt a crowd form around us.

He released her arm, but kept his focus on me. “Fine, no big deal.” He surrendered with his hands in the air, palms up.

“Tessa!” I heard Cooper calling from somewhere behind me.

“Aw, is your little boyfriend getting jealous?”

Cooper warned, “Back off Tommy, you’re messing with the wrong girl.”

Tommy roared with laughter. “What’s she going to do, set me on fire like she did her mom?”

And that was exactly what I was hoping he’d say. I plowed my fist right through his crooked front teeth. His head snapped back, blood spewed down his chin. Stunned, he rubbed his jaw. I didn’t want him quitting on me so soon, so I gave him a good shove. He countered, getting one solid hook into my jaw. I hit him again, this time sending him to the ground. Shards of glorious pain radiated through my mouth and hand. “Jesus, Tessa,” Cooper said, pinning my elbows back. I glared at the heap of boy I left on the ground as Cooper maneuvered me back to his truck. He plopped me down on the tailgate. “Are you out of your mind? What do you think you’re doing, picking a fight with a guy?”

Feeling smug I said, “He started it.”

“Let me see your hand,” Cooper said carefully looking me over. “Congratulations Tess, it looks broken.” It was already swelling, turning purple along the way. It probably was broken, but I knew by tomorrow it would be completely healed.

“It’s fine Coop, not broken see?” I said fighting the pain to wiggle my fingers.

“Your jaw’s gonna bruise too.”

I winced. I would have to get creative with my make-up again. A not-broken hand I could fake, a bruise wasn’t so easy. With the exception of the six inch scar on my side, I could heal from any injury in a matter of hours.

Ashley pushed her way through the crowd to meet us at the truck. “I was handling it just fine you know,” she said with her hands on her hips. She pushed a lock of her curly brown hair from her baby face. She put on a brave mask, but her quivering lips gave her away.

“He was drunk, Ashley. You had no business talking to him in the first place.” I heard the sirens, judged they were at least six miles away. “Sorry about your party Coop, but we need to go.” He tilted his head, confused. “You know someone probably called the police.”

His grin split from ear to ear. “Wouldn’t be a successful bonfire without the cops showing up.”

After dropping Ashley off at her house, and making sure she was safely inside, we continued on to mine in uneasy silence.

The truck’s tires crunched on the gravel of my long winding driveway. My Aunt Sheila had left the porch light on, and would be sound asleep in bed. He put the truck in park, turned it off. “Tess, we’ve known each other since eighth grade.”

“That sounds about right,” I said as I crossed my arms.

“And who knows you better than anyone else in this world?”

“You do.” I felt the pangs of guilt tug at my stomach. He may have known me best, but no one knew the real Tessa Montgomery.

“Then why don’t you tell me what the hell is going on with you?”

I stared at him and considered my options. He wasn’t going to be happy with any answer I gave him, truthful or not. “It’s the nightmares again--and the headaches.”

“So you let Tommy punch you in the face?”

“He brought up my mom.”

“Tess, you didn’t do anything to her, you know that right? The night she died, you weren’t even home so don’t let that old rumor get under your skin.”

I desperately wanted to agree with him, but my memories of that night had disappeared.

“I know you too well, there’s more isn’t there?”

I started to lie, but like he said, no one knew me better. “I feel like I’m losing control. The nightmares are getting more vivid, more intense. Last night, I woke up standing at Sheila’s door with a kitchen knife in my hand.”

Cooper sucked in a deep breath.


  1. Meredith,
    It might just be me, but I don't notice that much of a change between this version and the last. I will say that as I physically look at the text, it seems slightly heavy on the dialogue in places. But other than that, I think this has moved quite a bit closer to where it needs to be for a first five pages. This is the typical world of young adults, so many will be able to relate I'm sure. The mystery surrounding Tessa really makes me want to read more, so I hope to see it in the book stores to have that chance. Good luck!

  2. Meredith, it was so much fun reading your work. I really like your story and think you have a strong start. Your characters are super entertaining, dialogue is right on, and as I pointed out before, your details are so good. I wish you all the best!

  3. Meredith,
    Maybe it's just me, but I liked how in the previous version Ashley wasn't really friends with Tess. I thought it set up so many interesting dynamics. What was Coopers game? They dynamic between Cooper and Tess. I honestly found that to be one of the most intriguing parts of the whole sample. I vote that you go for that! But either way, your writing has come so far and I'm very intrigued. Keep me posted. I want to buy this book sometime!!!! (((((hugs)))))