1.13.2007

HH Com Rd 2 - #33 (409)

hook here

Alyssa Jackson had been practicing her dancing for over a month, hoping to perfect the extremely-casual-yet-very-sexy shimmy that would make Jordan Lenning drool over her. Which, of course, he already should have been doing, only sometimes guys needed a little help, as Alyssa knew all too well. But with only one day until Spring Fling, she was getting anxious.

“Okay, how does this look?” asked Alyssa, standing in front of her wall mirror. She shook and gyrated to the beat of Gwen Stefani’s “If I Were a Rich Girl.” It was a lame-ass song, but all of Alyssa’s good music was still packed away in cardboard boxes from the move.

“Quit looking in the mirror so much,” said Marie, sitting at the foot of Alyssa’s bed and smacking her signature cherry bubble gum.

“Fine,” said Alyssa, turning off the music. “How do I look aside from that?”

Marie bobbed her head. “Good.”

Alyssa smiled. She had known Marie was going to say that, but still, it was nice to hear. “Now there’s just the problem of what we’re going to wear.”

“I’m wearing a black babydoll dress and black leggings,” said Marie, finishing the sentence with a large, pink bubble.

“No you’re not,” snapped Alyssa. “You should never wear black to a dance. Everyone will be wearing black.”

Marie blew another gigantic bubble before answering. “Black’s the only color that makes me look good.”

“You’re not fat,” said Alyssa, carefully avoiding Marie’s eye. “I was thinking you could wear yellow, and I could wear my red halter dress.”

Marie perked up instantly. A suggestion made by Alyssa was, by definition, a good suggestion. “You’re right. Yellow would be fab on me. It matches my hair.”

Alyssa almost snorted with laughter, as this was, sadly, all too true. Last week Marie had bleached her honey-colored hair with some cheap K-mart dye, and had somehow ended up with bright yellow locks. Nothing Alyssa said to the contrary could convince Marie that this look did not utterly suit her.

“Uh-huh,” said Alyssa. “About my dress, do you think it’s too formal or anything? Too showy? Too ‘look-at-me’?”

“No way. You look like a model in that thing.”

Excellent-- Jordan already had the misconception that Alyssa had been a Pac Sun model. This was due to the fact that she had “accidentally” let it slip, and was currently in no hurry to correct him.

“Cool,” said Alyssa, gathering her straight brown hair in a ponytail and then letting it fall back to her shoulders. She turned the stereo back on and began dancing to the next song (“Kiss my shit, kiss my shit”), thinking of the different ways she could reject Jordan when he finally asked her out.


stereo??
wtf is a stereo?

by your word choice are ye busted oh author!

I liked the sprightly voice in the hook but I'd rather see something actually happening in the opening pages. This is all set up.

22 comments:

Elektra said...

What's wrong with stereo?

Kate said...

I agree with Elektra. That's what I call it.

Tia Nia said...

Who has a stereo these days? They don't even have cassette players any more. I don't know what they do have, other than iPods, so, come to think of it, I don't know how people share music out loud. CD players?

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark, the nice folks at Bose are going to be very upset with you...

Aelf'en said...

I think I'm going to need clarification too. Last time I was at Best Buy, they were still calling them stereos. Even the smallish things young folk have in their bedrooms today.

Zany Mom said...

Boom box and CD players. Adults still call them stereos. I haven't heard my kids use that term (not that we have a stereo, LOL).

Now they have little iPod docking stations or whatever they're called, too.

writtenwyrdd said...

Stereos are alive and well folks. In fact, you can find more stereo components now than you could ten years ago, in my experience. Turntables are making a comeback.

If it plays outloud and isn't attached to your body, it's a stereo.

writtenwyrdd said...

that is, if it plays out loud and it is NOT attached to your body. I think I made a typo there, lol.

Elektra said...

zany mom, the writer of this piece is actually 14, so I'm assuming she's using the vernacular of the day...

Bella Stander said...

Never mind "stereo," NO WAY teens today say "fab." I don't believe the narrative voice; seems like an oldster trying to be hip--the 2 words cited are dead giveaways. I found this dull: too much telling ABOUT the characters, not enough showing them.

Virginia Miss said...

My kids say cd player or ipod.

I agree with the commenters, this needs some action. The first paragraph is fine, but maybe jump into the event that Alyssa's been practicing for...

Fuchsia Groan said...

My college students just attach speakers to their computers. That way all the "cool" music they've downloaded and shared (not poor Gwen Stefani, apparently) is instantly available. Maybe in the future an iPod docked to something with speakers will be called a stereo... I don't know a good term for it now.

To convince me as an adolescent voice, this would need to be looser, less formal, and tons bitchier. Actually, first person might help. The sentence where Alyssa hopes Jordan still thinks she was a Pac Sun model stuck out to me as one that's awkward and needs to be recast in teen colloquial language, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Shorter sentences might help. ("Someone had told Jordan she used to model for Pac Sun ads. She certainly wasn't gonna set him straight.") Also, I just don't think the word "locks" would be used for hair by any teen who hasn't been reading Victorian novels.

A Paperback Writer said...

This didn't sound real to me.
My students know what a stereo is, but would never say the word. As others have commented, iPod, boombox, CD player, iTunes, MP3 files..... all those work.
"Fab" sounds like 1964 and Beatlemania.
"Locks" are what you stick your house keys into. When we read a Burns poem in class the other day ("John Anderson"), I had to explain to them that -- in this poem -- the word meant "hair." Then, and only then, most of them nodded in agreement that they HAD heard that meaning before.....
Teenspeak is a must.

eliory said...

I'm a (fairly) young'un, and I struggled to come up with a word besides "stereo" to use. CD player? In any case, that didn't bother me.

The phrases that pulled me out of the story were "fab" and "too showy? too look-at-me?" I associate "fab" with Britain (the Fab Four and so on) and have never in my life heard someone of any age use it in casual conversation. The other line sounded... well... like something out of a novel, unlike the rest of the dialogue.

The writing is fine; the voice is clear. At this point, I dislike Alyssa, if only because she seems like the kind of girl whom I disliked in high school. I would need to see a deeper side to her pretty soon. Right now, she seems manipulative and shallow. But then I don't read much YA of this stripe, and never did, so I'm not very qualified to judge this kind of writing.

Anonymous said...

Gwen does not say "Kiss my sh**" It's "this IS my sh**" Or "mish-mush" if you get the clean version. And it's Hollaback Girl, not Rich Girl :-)

Elektra said...

It's just a lot easier to say stereo--when I hear 'CD player", I think of something relatively small and portable.

McKoala said...

I did an old puzzle with my son and daughter the other day and I had to explain what a cassette tape was. I still call a stereo a stereo, though.

This didn't work terribly well for me. The first para was too telling and then the dialogue didn't really seem to be going anywhere. I also agree on some of the vocab not sounding all that contemporary. None of these things are huge, yet overall it just didn't appeal to me, sorry.

Twill said...

"Fab" came back with the "Austin Powers" movies. Kids say "Stereo" in Texas, but you could use just plain "player" as a naked noun. Everything else is a brand name nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Author here-- thanks to everyone for the extremely valuable feedback! I changed stereo to CD player, and have added a paragraph at the beginning that might be qualified as a bit more "grabby." Anyway, just wanted to thank you all for taking the time to post a comment. It's good to hear what works, and even better to hear what doesn't.

Off to do some rewriting!

~ #33

And I think everyone who said "fab" was a horrible word choice was right. :) I've changed it to "far out."

(Okay, just kidding. I used "awesome" instead.)

Anonymous said...

I hear the term _locks_ used to mean a variety of dreadlocks, but Marie doesn't seem to have those. Still, it's a perfectly cromulent word.

Leah said...

I'm seventeen. Mostly everyone just hooks up speakers to his or her ipod and then says 'ipod.'

Fab didn't stop me, though "too look-at-me" did. A lot of the kids at my school truncate words. Fab fits in with sketch (for sketchy).

Anonymous said...

I'm a teenager. We say stereo. Or if it's an ipod connected to anything other than a stereo we just say "turn up the music" or something.

CD players are either portable things that are going out of fashion in favour of ipods or bigger things that are being replaced by computers with nice speakers.

On the otherhand, I live in Australia where we call fewer things by brand names. (ipod's an exception, but you can bet that if the object in question isn't actually an ipod we say "mp3 player)