Wednesday, July 6, 2016

#NovelSnip: Elizabeth Abbott!

novelsnip, novel, writing, excerpt

Here's a little bit of my latest fiction writing project!  Kenneth Atchity says I'm supposed to have a pithy 10-word sentence to tell you everything you need to know about my story, but I don't have it yet.  The closest I have is "Who says all the drama in high school happens among the teenagers?"  There are two main characters, Isobel Johnson and Elizabeth.  Here's Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Abbott ran a hand down the front of her trunk, feeling for the bones of her ribs and the point of her hip through her yoga tank and capris.  Her trainer would be ringing the bell in five minutes. Time enough to pop a can of Diet Mountain Dew and finish it before he breezed in, bearing handheld weights and a devilish outline for the next hour.
As she took her first gulp, she absent-mindedly paged through the debris of Tracy’s homework from the previous night.  Her ninth grader was incorrigibly forgetful. Elizabeth wondered if there was anything in the crooked pile of papers and books that Tracy actually needed for today.  
The pile held mostly graded work, as it turned out.  Tracy had gotten 18 of 20 on a recent geometry quiz. Elizabeth had successfully argued a space for Tracy in that class, after the dolt registrar had placed her in Algebra 2.
“Check your files,” Elizabeth had hissed triumphantly, leaning across the counter, toward the clerk.  “This girl has been a member of the Cirrus program since second grade.”
“I’ll verify with her counselor and get back to you,” the flushed fifty-something had mumbled.
“Call my cell,” Elizabeth admonished, as she walked out of the office flipping her brown ponytail and firing a text to Helen, who’s daughter had been rightfully placed from the start.  “Handled,” she’d tapped.  
Elizabeth took another slug of her soda and flipped past Mandarin character practice and a half-finished study guide on geology.  She paused on an assignment from English 9, a paper reflecting on Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and comparing it to The Hunger Games.
Tracy’s teacher, a bubbly and slightly round woman around Elizabeth’s own age, had written at the bottom of the page,  “Good start, Tracy!  Now, I bet you can go deeper.  What about “unfairness” is important here? Also, be sure to check for run-ons.”  And then the grade scrawled in pink pen: B.
B?  When Elizabeth was in 9th grade she’d been summarizing the plot of The Odyssey via Cliff Notes, and here was her fourteen year-old, analyzing and comparing themes of texts written fifty years apart. And for a B?  Elizabeth put down the paper and grabbed her cell.  “What do you think of this Johnson woman?” she tapped to Helen.  Probably, she mused, everyone was having problems with her.
Just then, as she tipped her Diet Dew nearly vertical to empty it, Ron rang the doorbell.  Elizabeth burped quietly, stretched her neck from side to side, and went to open it.


mm said...

I think "who says all the drama in high school..." is fitting.

LH said...

Looking through the kid's work. Love it.

Geez this makes me so happy that I'm on summer vacation.

Anonymous said...

I too love the "who says all the drama..." description. But I wonder who says "ran her hand down her trunk". Is that a yoga word? Or maybe a twin cities word? Feels strange to me. But I am not part of those -- or high school -- cultures either.
-- mem in ca