Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Internal Conflict Blog Fest

This is my first time participating in a blog fest. As the title states, this is an Internal Conflict Blog Fest. Please check out other participants on The Alliterative Allomorph's sidebar:

This is an excerpt from my YA fantasy, The Disappearances. The manuscript is told from Eve's perspective except for two chapter's from Adam's point of view. This is one of Adam's chapters. To catch you up, Adam tried to kiss Eve and so his feelings for her were clear. Then a boy named Brad asked Eve out, and Adam just saw the new couple on a date.

I kicked a rock as I stormed away from Burger King. After several blocks of stomping down the road, I wondered, what am I even angry about? I didn’t care if Eve was on a date with Brad. I didn’t even know if it was a date. We were just friends, she’d made that perfectly clear.

My thoughts wandered back to the other morning. The camera was one of my better ideas and I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it after the first Walmart disappeared. I’d decided to have it on me at all times, in case the fog appeared again. Why not get shots of these events like a journalist would do, in case we needed to prove something? I might even get a picture of whoever or whatever was responsible for what had happened. I though it’d be funny to let Eve know about the camera by taking a picture of her.

I didn’t know she’d get so mad. Boy, was Eve strong when she wanted something. The more incensed she got, the funnier it became and the laughing made me weaker, so I let Eve delete the pictures. But then I pinned her down and something happened. Eve’s cheeks were all pink. I noticed how vibrant her eyes looked against the grass. Her hair was sparkling and wild around her and her lips looked soft. Something just came over me in the moment and it seemed like Eve wanted me to kiss her too. If she didn’t, then I didn’t want to change the friendship either. But to hear those words whispered, “Don’t ruin everything.” Would a kiss ruin everything? Was it that terrible to be with me?

Then I compared myself with Brad. I was skinny and tall, better for running, which I was pretty good at and basketball, if I could manage to get a ball in a hoop more often. I wasn’t muscular like Brad. Truthfully, I couldn’t really judge how I looked. I knew that girls didn’t swoon over me, like they did over Brad and some of the other guys at school. That was fine by me because I had other things to do.

My first priority was to get through school, so I could get into college and away from my parents. I wanted to be a journalist. If only our high school wasn’t small and we had more advanced courses, like journalism, I’d be better prepared for college.

As I passed by Eve’s house, I put my head down and picked up the pace again. I still had a mile to reach the school and another half-mile to my house. It felt weird not just being able to stop inside, but I’d have to get used to it. Like it or not, everything was ruined. Eve and I were in a fight and my parents showed what fighting did to people. They’d say things they could never take back and those words would linger in the air, long after they’d been shouted in anger. Fighting just chipped away at love, until there was nothing left. Now I knew how Eve felt about me and she couldn’t take back her words either.

I reached my home quicker than I’d hoped. At least I couldn’t hear any arguing, so I decided to see what my parents were up to. I squinted, barely making out the frilly stuff all over the house – doilies, stuffed animals, and creepy porcelain dolls. It was as if my mother didn’t notice that two men lived here too.

My parents sat in the same room, but they seemed miles apart. Looking at them, it was easy to imagine I was adopted. My mother was round and plump with a kind face, until her anger pinched it tight. My father was skinny like me, but he had a full beard and mustache covering his face. My mother was hidden in her skin and my father was hidden behind his facial hair. At the moment, they were both hidden behind their reading materials. While my father read a book about the Civil War, my mother poured through a magazine with a mosaic of celebrities on the cover.

She looked up. “You’re home early Adam. Why aren’t you with Eve?”

I tried to hide my discomfort about the question. “She had other plans tonight.”

My mother seemed to pick up on it anyway. She clucked. “That’s too bad.”

Without moving his book or showing his face, my father said, “Better to learn now that women are likely to disappoint you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” shot my mother.

I hustled out of there and escaped to my own room. Then I turned up the volume of some song to drown out the argument I knew was coming. In-between notes and lyrics, I’d hear:

“… always have to make a comment when…”

“… wasted twenty-three years of my life for…”

“If you’re so unhappy, leave!”

“This is my house – I’m not going anywhere! I paid for…”

“This is my house – I’m not going anywhere!!!!”

I sat on my bed, trying to tune them out. When I went to college they’d probably divorce. I don’t know what they were waiting for because if they were trying to give me a stable childhood, it wasn’t working. The battle for the house would probably be ugly, so maybe they were trying to spare me of that until I had another place to live.

“I need more friends,” I muttered. If I had more friends, I wouldn’t be stuck here. It was a waste to have spent all these years with Eve. If she moved on, I needed to move on too.


  1. Some great internal conflict here! This scene makes me really like Adam and sympathize with him - poor guy! I'm rooting for him and Eve. :)

  2. Oh well this is just lovely!!!

    I liked how you really got under the skin of Adam and walked me through his thougths, his awkwardness, his insecurities and the obvious pain he feels watching Eve with Brad, his mum and dad.

    He really comes alive here and I really really empathised. I think you got the right mix adolescent feelings of inadequacies and a maturity of youthful determination!

    Well done you!

    Take care

  3. Hey, have you been spying on me? It sounds like my piece of writing, very realistic and something all the readers can probably relate to. Good stuff. I already feel sorry for poor Adam :( She shouldn't go for the other guy, we all know that it would be a BIG mistake! :)


  4. Susan, I'm glad you like Adam. I'm rooting for him and Eve too.

    Old Kitty, you made me so happy that you think there's good balance between adolescence and maturity. I always try to tow the line.

    Emailman, thank you for the positive feedback. Adam's house reminds me a little of my family too.

  5. This is a great example of internal conflict, something I have a lot of trouble writing.

    This book is awesome! I can't wait to read more of it. :)

  6. This was fantastic Theresa! way to go on your first blogfest! I decided to take a wing at it as well!!

  7. Teresa, I really enjoyed reading this portrayal of a young adolescent boy. It sure does ring true, as far as I can remember from high school. LOL. Goodness the days I'd sit in my room and listen to my parents argue, and wish I could just get out of there are uncountable. It was very realistic.

    Can I just suggest that you watch which tense you use? Sometimes I got a little confused. For example, "When I went to college they’d probably divorce." This implies that he has already been to college in the past, and then implies that his parents will divorce when he goes in the future.

    That's just me being picky! but I really loved the whole premise. Very well done!

  8. I loved this. My favorite line was, "They’d say things they could never take back and those words would linger in the air, long after they’d been shouted in anger." So true.

  9. Aubrie, I know you liked the scene so it gave me confidence to post it. Thank you.

    Jen, thanks! I'll check out your post.

    The Alliterative Allomoroph, thank you for thinking of the contest and the comment. I went back and read where you had a problem with tense. I'll play around with it.

    Tina Lynn, I'm glad you like that line. Thanks for commenting.

    Creepy Query Girl, I'm glad you liked it. I appreciate the feedback.

  10. Poor Adam, you really got into his mindset. Loved the visual image of his 'home' , I could really see it and the line 'They’d say things they could never take back and those words would linger in the air' was especially poignant.
    Really interesting and I was left wanting to read more,
    Also made me want to matchmake Adam with the girl in my 'first love' poem yesterday.

  11. I like Adam - you really get us into his head and understand how he feels. I especially like how you showed what his life is like at home with his parents. Very well done.

  12. I like the will he/won't he conflict of the scene, and how that fits in with thoughts on his parents' relationship so that doesn't exist in a vacuum.

  13. Adam sure is in conflict. You sure did capture that adolescent turmoil. Great job.
    I went to check out the sight,perhaps to put something up. I don't think my stuff fits.
    Good luck on this.
    Take care.

  14. Brigid, did you post the poem? I'll have to check your blog. I'm glad you got into his mindset and could visualize his home.

    Jaydee, since all before this point in the manuscript is from Eve's perspective, it was nice to give a glimpse into his story that I knew all along.

    Stu, thank you. I wanted to show how Adam tries to fight against his parents, but is also a product of them.

    Choices, I didn't do the bad girl one because I had nothing to post either. And murder, didn't have anything really good to share. This is the first one that worked for me. Although I did see there had recently been a bad boy one. I had something good for that. Oh well.

  15. Nice excerpt! Adam is clearly torn up about things, and I really felt for him as he walked through the house, it's too bad he can't get more support from this parents, it was sad to see how quick they started an argument.

    I've never been part of a blog fest before this one either, but it's definitely fun!

  16. This was a really great scene! I love how you got in his head. And also I thought it was cool how you showed so much about Adam's mom in one sentence (about the doilies and creepy dolls). Well done - and nice blog :D

  17. In this excerpt you really managed to get across the essence of what homelife must be like Adam through just five lines of argument, along with the implication that its the same every night. There's also a real build up of tension evoked along with empathy for Adam... a feeling that something big is going to happen... well done, i enjoyed reading!

  18. Can you bring that camera to my house and take a picture of my Walmart? I would LOVE to see it disapear! Or did the fog make it go bye-bye? Either way, I want some!

    Other than that, I like this piece. Poor Adam...he really is struggling. And, when you talked about his parents...I freakishly thought about my own. I know that feeling you are portaying. Excellent!


  19. Oh, btw..I love your blog! I'm an offical follower now.


  20. Awesome example of internal conflict! Thanks for sharing this with us.

    I tagged you in my blog today! Hope you get a chance to check it out.

  21. Great job, Theresa! I can tell you really know this age-group - the internal dialogue was really believable and flowed naturally.

  22. Great showing for your first blogfest, Theresa! You've caught Adam's conflict and his insecurities, and you've made us root for him. We care and we want to see him escape from this awful situation over which he has no control

  23. This is excellent! I enjoyed every word of it. Your voice is so clear and true for YA, and I'm such a sucker for relationship conflict (the kiss-ruins-everything is a part of one of my books too -- such a true dilemma) Loved it!

  24. Bridge Marie, thanks for the comment. I don't know why I didn't want to participate in these before. 

    Zoe, I’m glad you liked how I got in Adam’s head and how I explained the mom. Thanks for the comment.

    Niamh, I wanted to give a glimpse of Adam’s home life without dwelling on it, and I’m glad you thought I accomplished it.

  25. Justine Dell, my family growing up inspired the parents and it's nice to know other people relate to that. Thanks for the follow!

    B. Miller, thanks for the compliment. I've been without Internet for most of the day and I will without it for another couple of hours. I'll head over as soon as I can!

    Talli, I appreciate your thoughtful feedback. Tell Marsha she doesn't have to stop by this time.

  26. VR Barkwoski, I'm glad you have empathy for poor Adam and are rooting for him.

    Shelley, I'm glad you like the YA voice. I'd love to see your kiss-ruins-everything piece.

  27. It's never too late for positive comment, right? Right?

    That was an interesting read. Like a couple of others posts, I wasn't sure about the content at first but then I wound up reading through it in a flash, thoroughly enjoying myself in so doing.

    And though I feel for the poor wee tyke. I'm more curious as to the hint about what's really going on... Disappearing Wallmarts and weird fog? Tell us more. ; j

  28. Great entry for the blogfest. I love your voice here and how you build the tension we feel in the scene. :)

  29. Alesa, I wasn't timing you!

    I have the same problem with Blog Fests. It's hard to find a spot where people will easily figure out what's been going on. That's why we have book beginnings. How about a beginning Blog Fest?

    I've been enjoying your serial and may set up my own in June. I'll decide after I get feedback at the conference this weekend.

    Sarahjayne, thank you. I appreciate the comment.

  30. For all you aspiring authors and authors, a beginnings blogfest would make a lot of sense from a promotional point of view.
    Glad you're enjoying the serial, it's a bit of a hassle to write and it has it's own specific requirements both on a practical level as well as on the writing level... But it's fun, especially the exercise of writing in someone else's style.
    Ooh. From what I've seen I'd dig reading your serial should you decide to write one. : j
    Hope the conference pans out for you.

  31. Alesa, maybe a Beginner Blog Fest would be the way to go. Miss Snark's First Victim has those once per month contests of the first 250 words, but it would be nice to see more. Maybe I'll set up a contest when I get back.

    You're the first one on board for the serial. Thanks!

  32. oh wow, Theresa, this was really interesting -- i still love what's going on with the disappearing Walmarts and what not -- and it's cool to see that Adam still has time to fall for a girl in the midst of what seems to be chaos.

    i thought you did a great job of getting into a guy's head. i think a big problem with male POVs is that they sound too much like girls. this felt authentic to me, and i felt comfortable with the voice.

    i can't wait to see where this goes!!

  33. I just happened to be the first to hear about it. I'm sure your legion of readers would go for it too. : j

  34. Tahereh, this means a lot coming from you because you're 22 and closer to the teen voice than me. I agree too many male POV books sound like girls. Even ones I like often fall short.

    Alesa, thank you. I'll just to do some research to figure out how many words to post at a time. I have the whole book written and the chapters are book length.

  35. Oh I love this!!! I can feel the angst oozing from the monitor. Sad about the parents fighting though.

  36. So good! I got into the story immediately!

  37. T. Anne, angst oozing from the monitor? I love that. Thanks.

    Bossy Betty, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  38. I like Adam. Really like his thoughts about his parents and their divorcing. Very real!

  39. Tara, thank you for the comment. I appreciate it.

  40. You're so brave. I'm thinking of participating in a dialogue blogfest over at Fiction Groupie's blog. gulp.

    I loved the way you described both of his parents hiding in their way (his mother in her skin and his father behind his facial hair). That was one of the best ways I've read of describing someone's appearance and disposition in one fell swoop. Props!

  41. MBw aka Olleymae, good luck in the Fiction Groupie blogfest!

    Thanks for the props. I've finally learned to say more with less.

  42. I'm liking this guy, especially line like the doilies and porcelain dolls. I'd LOVE to see much more this-- his opinions and attitudes spelled out in a specific, unique way that tells us all about how his mind works. For example "the battle for the house would probably be ugly"-- What does ugly mean to him? Would dad tie himself to a porch rail, or mom hurl dad's clothes into the lawn? His making preditions very specific would add punch.

  43. Laurel, thanks for the comment and advice. I give some clues about his home life from Eve's perspective, like once he had fled to her house because his parents were throwing things at one another. I'll take a look at it again.