Dear Miss Snark,
Don't Drop Me Now –- I Can't Die With Split Ends is my 74,000-word novel in the Young Adult genre. YA is a category, not a genre, but I'll go past that for now.
Prudence is having a rough senior year: She begins by publicly embarrassing herself in a pageant. Her hair is unmanageable; her name is hopelessly unfashionable. She can't choose a college, and worst of all, she has fallen for the one guy who's so gorgeous, she can't even look directly at him. Not all is lost, however – she's captain of the debate team, and she gets along with her mom. But that's not exactly cool, is it?
When Genzy Ledbetter moves to town with her take-no-prisoners attitude, she gets Prudence to start taking risks –- with her hair, and her heart. Then Pru wins the lead in the spring musical, a role Genzy covets fiercely. Prudence must find a way to salvage their friendship, survive the flight scenes in the play, and face her fear of speaking to that beautiful boy, all while dealing with her recalcitrant tresses. tresses? tresses? You seriously expect me to read a YA novel from someone using the word tresses? Where are my smelling salts, I feel an attack of the vapors coming on.
I've had several articles published in nonfiction magazines, and I found your blog by way of the Writer Beware blog by A.C. Crispin and Victoria Strauss. Thank you for your consideration. (No good deed goes unpunished)
The first notable thing I did my senior year was to flash my hoo-hah at the judges during the talent portion of the Junior Miss Pageant. ZAP. WTF?? I mean really now...what the F is a hoo-hah? My spell check thinks it's a hoopskirt.
Unbelievable. (I just said that)
What a way to start the year. (no kidding)
No, seriously, I flashed the judges. There I was, emoting my guts out through George Bernard Shaw's glorious St. Joan monologue, and when I got to the part about the angel voices on the wind, I heard a giggle in the auditorium. I kept going. Part of my brain disconnected from my monologue-reciting mouth, and I wondered why there were giggles in the middle of this dramatic speech.
I tried to figure it out.
Was there a booger hanging out of my nose? Wait, even if I had a booger hanging out of my nose, the audience wouldn't be able to see it unless it was the size of a bicycle. And even I would notice that. Was I about to fall off the stage? Was I reciting the wrong speech? Was there gum in my hair? Oh, my hair, no, I don't have time for that kind of disaster. So what caused the hilarity?
The giggles grew louder, and I waved my arms dramatically stage left, toward the judges' table, as I exhorted imaginary Inquisitors about perpetual imprisonment.
That's when I felt the swoosh of my costume.
Swoosh? There's no swooshing in St. Joan. There's a lot of ranting and raving and maybe just a smidge of frothing, but definitely no swooshing. Swooshing is best left to romantic, weeping heroines.
But this was an undeniable swoosh, and I felt it -– against my upper thighs.
Oh, that was not good. My thighs were not even remotely involved in this monologue, other than performing the task of holding me upright. So far, three things were wrong with this picture: 1) Giggling. 2) Swooshing. And 3) Thighs.
I managed to glance downward just the teensiest bit without even breaking character. And that's when I beheld the unforeseen disaster that had been lurking in my costume.
The hem of my rhinestone-encrusted, marginally authentic 15th-century tunic was caught on the chain of my rust-colored wrist shackles. Every gesture I made sent the long shirt flying up toward my chest and back toward my thighs – which, again, weren't supposed to be appearing in my St. Joan interpretation, much less points north.
OK, I thought, that's it, now I will officially die of embarrassment.
But I didn't die. No, death would have been entirely too kind and merciful. I had to finish the monologue and somehow stop flipping my hem up to reveal my leotard.
"All this is worse than the furnace in the Bible that was heated seven times," my mouth said on autopilot, but my brain shrieked, oh, Joan of Arc had no idea how much worse that inferno could be. She never flashed anyone in the middle of a stupid pageant. Why did I let my mother talk me into this? I'm never going to get scholarships if I go around showing my private parts to entire theatres full of strangers!
A two-minute monologue turned into a marathon of misery. I temporarily gave up worrying about my hair. Surely it would be gray by the time the curtain dropped, anyway.
Undressed in public is so cliche now that even the FCC fines you for it.
I look for fresh, new and authentic voice.
Three strikes on this one.