Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sidelines Blogfest gives nod to supporting players

A couple of my characters are stepping out for the Sidelines Blogfest today. The fest is hosted by Cheree at Justified Lunacy, and she's been doing posts on characters all week. I really like one in which she pointed out how sidekicks can serve different purposes--mentor, nemesis, comic, trickster, messenger, best friend, guardian.

Choosing a scene was tough. It's difficult to find something that doesn't require a lot of backstory or that doesn't give away too much plot, but I wanted something with voice. I hope I found it.

I've chosen part of a scene from SEA DAUGHTERS where the protagonist, Hallie, gets an emotional pick-me-up from her best friend, Suki. It was hard to find the right illustration for this. Rather than typical California blonds Hallie is part Polynesian and Suki is part Japanese. What's most important, they trust each other.

Even though this is YA paranormal, this isn't a scene with supernaturals or battles or mystery. It's a quiet moment and takes place after someone scratched the letters Ho on the door of Hallie's new car and a day after her first date with a popular surfer named Ben.

Hope you enjoy.


Hallie pushed aside the college letters she'd left scattered on her bed and sank down on the edge. Thinking about going to school in the morning made her stomach churn. What if Chad had been the one who defaced her car? What if Ben ignored her?

She looked at her phone screen again. The only message was a text from Suki: Where r u???

Hallie hesitated, feeling vulnerable, but Suki would be all over her at school if she didn't talk to her now. She punched in the number.

“Where have you been?” Suki blurted.


“With Ben?”

“No! We’re not joined at the hip all of a sudden.” Hallie wondered if maybe she wished they were. Why was she getting so worked up?

“Touchy much? Jeez. I’m sorry I mentioned his name. Does that mean last night was a fail? I thought you guys really liked each other.”

“I do like him, and last night was great.” Hallie drew in a breath and held it a moment before adding, “He kissed me.”

“Woo-hoo! Did you just die?”

Hallie closed her eyes, remembering every touch. "I wanted to kiss him forever.”

“But? I can hear a ‘but’ somewhere.”

“But he hasn’t called today.”

“Ah. Well, if it makes you feel any better Nathan hasn’t called me either. He told me a bunch of guys were gonna drive up to County Line in Ventura. It’s, like, a guy thing--everybody jammed into Kalani’s truck. No girls. Whatever. I wouldn’t surf that break anyway, although I know you would.”

“Maybe Ben’s with them.” Hallie stretched out, releasing the tension in her back.

“Could be. Don’t obsess. From what Nathan tells me, Ben asks questions about you non-stop. So unless you peed yourself or punched him out, I don’t think he’s backing off any time soon.”

Hallie laughed for the first time all day. “I didn’t do either of those things. But I did cry—a bunch--when he mentioned my mom. He was so nice to me, I fell apart. It was totally embarrassing.”

“I wouldn’t sweat that. Guys like to comfort girls. Just don’t wipe your snot on his hoodie.”
Hallie snorted with laughter. Suki always knew how to take the edge off. "Thanks. I promise to keep my snot to myself."



Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Aww, I love the quiet moments. So necessary, even in paranormals. Love the interaction between the two friends. The friendship is so alive, and the support so beautiful. Well done.

Claire Dawn said...

I love the humourous bits.

One thing: I think "I didn't do either of those things" is a bit stilted. Otherwise, you're golden!

Tere Kirkland said...

Love the dialogue here! Very realistic, and even this little snippet has a lot of voice and character in it. I feel like I know the characters better than I should for the short sample you've shared.

Awesome job. I'd love to read the rest of it!

Dawn Ius said...

Nice excerpt. Some of my favourite characters are the ones in the background. These friends are very real. Thanks for sharing!

stu said...

I like the level of connection between these two, and you can't tell that they are secondary, so they must be well rounded.

Stephanie Faris said...

What a fun idea...and a great way to get to know your characters.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Carolina: Thanks! I was worried I'd picked something too quiet for a blogfest, but I hoped the support would show. *relieved sigh*

Claire: Suki does have a pragmatic, humorous voice. I'm so glad it is coming through!

Tere: *jumps up and down* Oh, I can't tell you how happy your words make me. I didn't know if this snippet would work in a blogfest, and you've made my day! Thank you!

Dawn: I'm so glad they are coming across as real. They are to me, of course. ;)

Stu: Thank you--that's so good to hear. Hallie, actually, is the main character and Suki is one of her sidekicks.

Stephanie: I love the way blogfests get you to look closely at different aspects of your work. This really made me focus more on how I portray the secondary characters and what their purpose is. Thanks for the comment!

Laura Canon said...

Great dialogue. You say exactly what you need to say.
I know what you mean about secondary characters -- they pop in and out of a scene and it can be hard to select something that works in a snippet. This does.

Liza said...

What does it say about me that this was my favorite line: "'Just don’t wipe your snot on his hoodie.'” Nice Tricia. I wish I could read more.

Anonymous said...

"Just don't wipe your snot on his hoodie"---LMAO! Wonderful humor, very accurate interaction. I felt like you'd catapulted me back to high school (Maybe I should punch you out for that... lol)

Unknown said...

Wow, great scene there. It has some terrific dialogue. Thanks for participating.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Laura: Oh, yay, thank you so much for saying that.

Liza: I hope, hope, hope someday you can read more!

Sharon: *ducks* Ha, I know what you mean. I still tense up on high school campuses. I'm glad to know it was realistic, anyway.

Cheree: Thanks for the kind words and for the blogfest. I really did learn something by participating, and it was a pleasure.

Dawn Embers said...

Nice scene. It's calm but has some great points of amusing, like the last line. Nice to see two friends together, supporting each other in the scene. Well done.

Jade said...

I really liked this excerpt. I think it's got a great voice.
I grew up in a surfing community and the dialogue is realistic, so thumbs up for that.
Can I say how cool it is that your characters are multicultural. One of my good friends growing up was half Tongan and she was mad surfer.

The Words Crafter said...

This was such a sweet scene, and very realistic. It flowed very smoothly...I liked it!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks, Dawn!

Jade: You make me dance with such words. Thank you. I've worked hard to keep it authentic without making it hard for non-surfers to follow. I hit a snag recently when some crit partners didn't get that breaks have names. Anyway, that's probably the least of my worries in making this book happen.

Words Crafter: Hi and thank you so much!

Donna said...

Love the authentic YA slang. Suki is definitely a worthy sidekick.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks, Donna!

storyqueen said...

"I promise to keep my snot to myself."

What a great line!

I love their interaction. I thought it rang very true.

Well done!

Shelley(back from HPW)

Suzanne Casamento said...

Awww. You gotta love a good scene between BFFs. I wanna read about surfer girls and surfer dudes!

Stephanie Lorée said...

I like the wit a lot! Very nice job. I got a great feel for the characters' friendship just from this short scene. Check out my entry for the blogfest when you have a chance. Happy writing!!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Shelley: hee-hee. Thank you!

Suzanne: Oh, goody, cuz I got lots of that in this book. :)

Mesmerix: Hi and welcome. I'm so glad the friendship and wit come across. Thanks!

Lydia Kang said...

I love how she picks up on the "but" in there. Only a good friend would sense that!

Lydia Kang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Lydia: Thanks! I'm so glad the scene worked.

Erin Kane Spock said...

I remember those angsty, hormone charged years. You captured that well. The insecurity, the friendship. Good work.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hello Erin and welcome and thanks! Those years, yeah. Amazing how easy to remember...