Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

90 Days to Your Novel Update: Days 43 - 49

 Okay....hit a snag. This is the MIDDLE of my new novel, and I am now wondering; Do I have too many plot lines happening at once, especially for middle grade readers? Is this a story about a 1/8th native American girl returning to her roots? Or is the a story of a half native American, half Egyptian girl discovering the Link between the two cultures? 

I'm liking the second idea better. It's more interesting to me, and it was the original one. But I think my outline and story, so far, center on the first thought of returning to roots. Hmmmmm....

Now I must return to my outline, cut, scissor, and glue some things. Major issue here! What to do? I think I have too much with her Uncle, and too little with her and the other kids her age....not good for a kid's book. Kids want to read about other kids, not annoying adults. Duh! 

Okay, back to the outline board. Uncle needs to go. Get to the piece that links the two cultures together and get the magic going on both sides for her now. Lots to do!!!

Below is what I've been working on:

Week 7: Days 43 – 49    THE MIDDLE

Assignment: Write a scene where your MC is with a Minor Character. Use all senses, and remember to write beg. mid. End.

Scene 10: Seit and waiter at her old coffee shop (First Draft ~ no revisions)

The rain mimics a fire hydrant, drenching me like a shower. I'm freezing to the point of teeth chatter. The fat furry butt of the bear disappears around a corner. I jog to catch up, and hope the quicker pace will warm me before I die of exposure. When I reach the end of the block I know why it brought me here. I wasn't even thinking of my old coffee shop, but there it is, dull lights, thick drapery on the windows and about eight kids huddled together under the awning to smoke. I don't recognize any of them, and a sigh literally leaves my lips.

I jog to the group, push my way through, suck in some second hand smoke and cough as I enter. The mismatched tables and tattered pillows make me relax. I spot my favorite spot open and hurry to it as the smoking group starts to pour back in through the door. They're older kids, like college aged, and they don't notice me at all. Which is good. That's how I want it for now, until I figure out what I'm going to do.

I shake out my jacket, spraying bits of water in all directions, but no one here blinks about it. That's why I love this coffee shop. Everyone's so chill, even though the joe is loaded with caffeine. I lay my coat on the armrest of the loveseat and look for my favorite waitress. I see two new guys taking orders at the bar, but Chelsea's not there. I check her favorite spot, the seat under the unicorn head, but it's occupied by some black haired chick.

As soon as my eyes land on her back, she spins around like I poked her. She smiles. Not wanting to be rude, I smile back. She rises, and I see the red waitress apron tied around her waist. I guess Chelsea's off tonight, and this new chick is her back up or something. I didn't think they could afford to hire another one, least that's what they told me when I put in my application a few months back. I watch this biker looking girl stomp her big black boots my way.

Her lips pierced with like five rings. She's got star tattoos up her neck, and skulls down her right arm. There's a purplish stripe in her short, blunt cut bangs. And, her ears have super wide black bones through them. She's kind of cool in a dirty way. I wonder what she thinks of me, wet to the core, hair in knots, and lips blue from the cold.

"Want something?" she asks, still smiling, which totally throws of the whole biker chick thing to me.

"Yes, please." I hear myself say, so uncool. "I mean, sure, a double latte, shot of vanilla, and sprinkled cinnamon."

"Right," she says, stomping toward the bar.

I relax back into the chair, listening to the frothing of milk, chatter of the college group, and the background music. For a second I allow myself to think I'm here like usual. I'm going to meet my besties, study, and hang before heading home. Mom and Dad will be there, mom with her books, dad cooking. Then I'm snapped out of it with the smell of cinnamon in my face.

"You want it or what?" The new waitress stands here with the white coffee cup held out.

"Sorry," I say.

She laughs. "You looked like you went somewhere. Any place cool?"

I nod. "The coolest."

She sits in the open seat across from me. "Do tell."

I sit up. I don't want to tell some perfect stranger my sad story. I think really hard about another cool place, and can't. It's like my mind is blank. She's staring at me with dark, intense eyes, and I am nothing. I avert my eyes to her chest, where her name tag is pinned right in the middle. It says Chelsea.

"Sounds super cool," she says, and laughs.

"Sorry. I'm really cold." I take a big sip of my coffee. It's warm, almost hot, and burns my tongue just the right amount. The foam covers my upper lip, and the cinnamon tastes and smells pure. "I needed this." I take another sip, and reread the tag. It says Chelsea for sure. I wasn't imagining it. Weird, that they would hire a girl the exact opposite of Chelsea, with the identical name.

"It's not mine," she says, flicking the tag with a black polished very sharp nail. "They haven't gotten around to ordering mine, so I'm wearing the old girls. Easier for the drinkers to have a name, you know?"

"I guess. What happened to Chelsea? She quit?"

The tattooed girl smiles again, only this time it's not so sweet. "Don't know, don't care. Why do you?"

I look around again to see if I recognize anyone else, but everyone in here is a stranger. The owner isn't even here, which is odd. He's never missed a night. He even keeps a chalk count on the board. I look back at the non-Chelsea, and shrug. "I was a regular here."

"Was?" Non-Chelsea leans closer to me. Her lips match the purple in her hair.

"I just moved," I say. "This is my first time back."

Non-Chelsea smiles the nice smile again. "Well, then that one's on me." She nods at my coffee. "Welcome back."

"Thanks." I relax again, and take another long sip. The warm liquid pours into my throat, and I can feel it hit my empty stomach. I search the food case, but it's empty. "Where's Finn?" I say to Non-Chelsea.

Her forehead scrunches up like she doesn't know who I'm talking about. "Oh, he's on vacation."

"Really? He had a bet with the other coffee shop, you know Bleakers? Anyway, they have this thing going, a bet, on who will miss the least days in a year."

"Well, Fink must of given up."


"That's what I said." Non-Chelsea pulls her legs under her, sitting higher in the chair. "Why are you so interested in Finn anyway? He your boyfriend?"

I laugh, a little too loud because the college group looks my way. My face flushes hot, and I lower my voice. "No. I wanted to borrow his laptop."

"No worries, hun. You can borrow mine." She slams her booted feet on the cement floor, marches off toward the counter, grabs her mac from under it, and marches back. "Here. Passwords Pharoah, like the Egyptian kings."

"Thanks," I say, taking the computer. I don't know why she's being so nice, her outsides don't match it, but I'll take it. I crack open the thing, type in the password, and stare. I still don't know what I'm doing. I have no cash, no way of getting any, and no where to sleep tonight. I glance up, and catch Non-Chelsea staring at me. She smiles, and starts to clean up some crumbs on the college kid's table.

The only thing I have is the stupid golden dolphin, and I don't even know how much to pawn it for. I pull out my drawing from the house, which is worth nothing, except to me, and my dead parents. I toss it next to my coffee.

"Interesting ink." Non-Chelsea scares me from behind my sofa. She picks up my card, and studies the drawing. "You do it?"

I want to snatch it back, but I don't want to seem rude. After all, she did buy my coffee, and give me her laptop. "A long time ago," I say. "When I was little."

Non-Chelsea eyes me up with a smirk. "You're not too big now. I'd say thirteen, fourteen at best."


"Still, good ink. I'd hire you for my next one." Non-Chelsea points to the only bare spot on her right arm. Skulls, and small pyramids cover it. I didn't notice those before. "I've been looking for something hot. Original, you know?"

"Who did yours?" I ask her, not because I ever want a tattoo, but because I see other Egyptian symbols inside the pyramids.

She pulls her arm away. "An old boyfriend. Gone now. But, I plan on getting him back."

I don't know if I should say good for you, or ask her why, so I stay silent.

"If you ever want to sell some of those drawings for tats, I know a guy here."

"Where?" I don't want to sound over eager, but if I can sell some art work, I can sleep tonight.

"Close, but he's a freak." Non-Chelsea looks like she's sizing me up. "He'll only take originals, and they have to be wicked good."

Talk about the scene:
  1. Did I use all the senses I could?
  2. Did the minor character reveal anything new about my MC?
  3. Did I use my character's bios to make the scene stronger?
  4. What did the reader learn, if anything?

#1: I will highlight the places where I used senses to see if I am balanced.

#2: Not sure if my minor character revealed much, except that my MC is starting to think about what's going on around her?

#3: nope - totally forgot to do this

#4: Hard to judge this right now.....must reread the first scenes now

As you can see, a lot of work goes into writing a novel. If I didn't have my major plot concerns, I would move on and keep trucking along. But, before I revise this scene I am going to re-scene some others, cut more, and think about the main plot over all subplots. Time to ponder.....

Good Luck!

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