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Author Topic: Girl Inside (YA, LGBT)  (Read 331 times)
maciesnow
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« on: November 05, 2018, 02:23:31 PM »

(Any feedback and constructive criticism is welcome. Anything argumentative about LGBT is not)

My name is Christina Hendrick and I was born a boy. It started the day I met my friend Sarah. I strolled into my Precalculus class that day and turned towards my seat. I spotted a blonde a girl sitting in it, taking in her new surroundings. She had a closed posture, but an approachable face. I paused for a moment while my brain computed a response. It ultimately decided to walk while thinking through my options.

“Oh my god, am I in your seat?” She said when I approached.
“Oh no, you’re fine,” I said, motioning for her to remain seated.
“I’m sorry, I got it confused,” our teacher, Mrs. Peters, said, “I thought you were the other one,”
“I’ll move,” She said, starting to get up.
“No, it’s totally fine,” I insisted. She conceded and sat back down in my old seat.
“I’m Sarah by the way.” She said, sticking out her hand. “I’m new.”
“Chris,” I replied. “Where are you from?”
“Florida,” She answered. “We were supposed to move earlier, but stuff got delayed and it’s hard to get an apartment for six weeks. My mom contacted the school and they were super understanding so I’m not really behind”
“Cool. Are you a junior or senior?”
“Junior.”
“Nice, me too! You’ll love Mrs. Peters.”

Our teacher was shaped like the Michelin Man, but short. Everyone respected her because she treated us like human beings with personalities. Her personality matched her size. The bell rang and she got up and hobbled her way from her desk to the smart board. “Morning y’all. We’ve got a new student joining us today. Her name is Sarah, and she’s nice so nobody haze her too hard.”
The class gave a collective and almost sympathetic chuckle. “First off, anyone got anything good going on?”

A senior I did not know well raised his hand. “I got accepted into A&M last night.”
“I disagree with your life choices.” Mrs. Peters joked, “But congratulations Anything else?

A few more students raised their hands and shared before we truly started with class. I nodded in approval of Sarah during class. She knew her math and jumping right into participating, even answering a question, which I thought was bold.
“The new girl is showing you all up.” Mrs. Peters mentioned.

“Do you know where Room 223 is?” Sarah asked me after the bell rang.
“Oh yeah, it’s right upstairs, I’ll walk you.”
“Thanks,” she said with a smile and the two of us left class together.
“So is Chris short for Christopher or Christian?”
“Christopher,” I replied.
We made our way down to the end of the hall and I pointed up the stairs, giving her directions. Lindsay approached us from the stairs. “Hey,” she said, and we exchanged a peck.
“Hey,” I replied
“I’m Lindsay.” She introduced herself.
“Sarah,” she said, shaking her hand, “Anyway, thanks Chris, but I should give myself time.”
“She seems cute,” Lindsay commented as we watched her walk away. “Oh, before I forget, Kylie and Ryan want to get together Saturday.”
“Fine by me. I like Ryan enough.” I said.
“I know you hate him”
“I don’t hate him; he’s just a little, too much” I rebutted.
“Some girls like manly men like that, some of us don’t,” She said, rubbing me on the shoulder, looking over at me with a soft smile.

A sense of both discomfort and comfort washed over me, my mind felt torn. I did not understand masculinity despite my own maleness. If anything I was repulsed by it, this other part of me, however, was desperate to try and blend in with the other guys at my school.

“I’ll see you at lunch.” She said, kissing me again before hurrying off towards softball.

She tied her brunette hair in a ponytail. I watched her do so in intricate detail as she walked away, following her every motion. I then turned back and headed towards Orchestra, her outfit of blue jeans and long sleeve softball shirt seemed to brand my mind.

Before joining her and the rest of my table at lunch, I glanced around for Sarah to invite her over to our table, but did not see her. I was the only guy at our table, I ate lunch with Lindsay and our two friends, who she met through softball, Ashley and Claire.

“Hey Chris,” they greeted me.
“Hey y’all.”
“Chris, what are we doing in APUSH today?”
“Starting the Gilded Age PowerPoint, want my notes?”
“Yes please!” Ashley replied, perking up. I got them out of my backpack and handed them to her.
“Did y’all see what fourth period baseball was up to?”
“Poles. The whole period.” Claire said, her sharp face looking even more serious.
“f**k”
“I’m just joking, I don’t know actually.”
“Very funny,” I said, and threw a fry at her.
“Totally worth it.” She smiled and picked up the fry, eating it.
“Did y’all hear that Rachel broke up with her boyfriend?” Lindsay asked us without missing a beat.
“Well, he was kind of a douche,” I mentioned. “I’m on the baseball team with him.”
“A lot of your teammates are douches,” Ashley commented.
“Why do you think I don’t hang out with them,” I said after finishing my bite of food.

The rest of the day returned to the normal monotonous rotation of class, except for my paranoia about having to do poles all of seventh period, and when the bell rang to go there I found myself meandering towards the locker room.
The music was too loud for when I opened the door, the basketball team was off in their part dancing along to it and goofing off, a few of my teammates joined them in the rambunctiousness. I tensed up as I snuck by them, trying to pretend as if they were not there to begin with, and they were too in their own world to notice me either.

“Sup bro,” my catcher, Dylon walked in behind to me and opened his locker
“Sup” I replied as I began to get dressed for our period. “You know what we’re doing today.”
“Nope.”
“Knock it off y’all! It’s time to get dressed!” The basketball coach came in and yelled, I jumped.
I looked down and floor and remained quiet.
“You alright bro?” He asked
“Yeah, I’m good. Just heard we were doing poles all period but I’m not sure that was a joke or not.”

It did turn out to be a joke as we out to the field to do a few hitting drills before being dismissed for the day. I hurried home by myself due to Lindsay’s practice to do the same thing I always did, me time. It was the only time of day when I felt like I could truly be myself, when I was alone. My routine consisted of grabbing a soda, greeting my dog Esther, and then plopping down in front of our game room TV and turning on my Xbox, spending the afternoon playing video games. I enjoyed when I could play games by myself, it was the only time I could play how I wanted. I was playing NCAA Football, and caring too much about the story behind my team than most of my friends ever did, it was all just about dominating to them. I realized at a very young age that I did not play like other boys. As we grew older, our toys changed, but that difference remained.

I played until my parents and I decided on dinner, and I waited until the last possible minute to end my afternoon of freedom to meet them for Mexican food. After which I drove to Lindsay’s house to work on homework for a few hours, though we spent more time wasting time than actually working, and stayed until I had to leave at ten, her dad’s curfew for me on school nights, though when school starts at 7:20, I don’t complain.

I returned home and my parents were already sleeping so I put my stuff down and got ready for bed, climbing into bed after setting in my alarm. My mind wondered as it usually did, always going to places that puzzled me, and where I didn’t want to go. It was the same strange fantasy that my mind had been playing episodes of like a nightly TV, this was about me waking up as a girl due to a curse. These fantasies relaxed me, but disturbed me at the same time.
“I’m normal,” I thought, “I’m not one of those people,” I wrestled with these thoughts and the fact I enjoyed the fantasy as I drifted up to sleep for the night.
Logged
kaperton
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2018, 03:15:38 PM »

(Any feedback and constructive criticism is welcome. Anything argumentative about LGBT is not)
I write YA LGBT - nice to see a fellow writer in my genre. And I don't think you need to worry about judgments of that nature on this site.

My name is Christina Hendrick and I was born a boy. It started the day I met my friend Sarah.
I'm confused already. It sounds like Christina was born a boy the day she met her friend Sarah.

I strolled into my Precalculus class that day and turned towards my seat. I spotted a blonde a girl sitting in it, taking in her new surroundings. She had a closed posture, but an approachable face. I paused for a moment while my brain computed a response. It ultimately decided to walk while thinking through my options.

“Oh my god, am I in your seat?” She said when I approached.
“Oh no, you’re fine,” I said, motioning for her to remain seated.
“I’m sorry, I got it confused,” our teacher, Mrs. Peters, said, “I thought you were the other one,”
“I’ll move,” She said, starting to get up.
“No, it’s totally fine,” I insisted. She conceded and sat back down in my old seat.
“I’m Sarah by the way.” She said, sticking out her hand. “I’m new.”
“Chris,” I replied. “Where are you from?”
“Florida,” She answered. “We were supposed to move earlier, but stuff got delayed and it’s hard to get an apartment for six weeks. My mom contacted the school and they were super understanding so I’m not really behind”
“Cool. Are you a junior or senior?”
“Junior.”
“Nice, me too! You’ll love Mrs. Peters.”

I believe it was Ansen Dibell who said that the purpose of dialogue is to create tension. Dialogue like this bores the reader quickly. If your aim is to reveal background on the characters, you can do that a lot of different ways. Don't just put it all out there. It's like reading a bio sheet on someone. "This is Sarah. She is a junior who moved from Florida."

Our teacher was shaped like the Michelin Man, but short. Everyone respected her because she treated us like human beings with personalities. Her personality matched her size. The bell rang and she got up and hobbled her way from her desk to the smart board. “Morning y’all. We’ve got a new student joining us today. Her name is Sarah, and she’s nice so nobody haze her too hard.”
The class gave a collective and almost sympathetic chuckle. “First off, anyone got anything good going on?”

A senior I did not know well raised his hand. “I got accepted into A&M last night.”
“I disagree with your life choices.” [cute - I like this.] Mrs. Peters joked, “But congratulations Anything else?"

A few more students raised their hands and shared before we truly started with class. I nodded in approval of Sarah during class. [This is a little weird to me - maybe "nodding inwardly"? I just picture Chris sitting there nodding, which is something a teacher might do, but not a student.] She knew her math and jumping right into participating, even answering a question, which I thought was bold.
“The new girl is showing you all up.” Mrs. Peters mentioned said.

“Do you know where Room 223 is?” Sarah asked me after the bell rang.
“Oh yeah, it’s right upstairs, I’ll walk you.”
“Thanks,” she said with a smile and the two of us left class together.
“So is Chris short for Christopher or Christian?”
“Christopher,” I replied.
We made our way down to the end of the hall and I pointed up the stairs, giving her directions. Lindsay approached us from the stairs. “Hey,” she said, and we exchanged a peck.
“Hey,” I replied
“I’m Lindsay.” She introduced herself. [This would be a great time to have Lindsay something interesting to reveal her personality, rather than just introducing herself.]
“Sarah,” she said, shaking her hand, “Anyway, thanks Chris, but I should give myself time.” [huh? time for what?]
“She seems cute,” Lindsay commented as we watched her walk away. “Oh, before I forget, Kylie and Ryan want to get together Saturday.”
“Fine by me. I like Ryan enough.” I said. [I'm getting bored again]
“I know you hate him”
“I don’t hate him; he’s just a little, too much” I rebutted.
“Some girls like manly men like that, some of us don’t,” She said, rubbing me on the shoulder, looking over at me with a soft smile.

A sense of both discomfort and comfort washed over me, my mind felt torn. I did not understand masculinity despite my own maleness. If anything I was repulsed by it, this other part of me, however, was desperate to try and blend in with the other guys at my school. [You're telling instead of showing. Can you show us this in gym class, in an interaction with a guy, etc?]

“I’ll see you at lunch.” She said, kissing me again before hurrying off towards softball.

She tied her brunette hair in a ponytail. I watched her tie her brown hair in a ponytail, observing do so in intricate detail as she walked away, following her every motion. I then turned back and headed towards Orchestra, her outfit of blue jeans and long sleeve softball shirt seemed to brand my mind. [This is a little weird. I imagine you're trying to show that she's memorizing her friend's clothing, but it sounds a little stalkery.]

Before joining her and the rest of my table at lunch, I glanced around for Sarah to invite her over to our table, but did not see her. I was the only guy at our table, I ate lunch with Lindsay and our two friends Ashley and Claire, who she met through softball, Ashley and Claire.

“Hey Chris,” they greeted me.
“Hey y’all.”
“Chris, what are we doing in APUSH today?”
“Starting the Gilded Age PowerPoint, want my notes?”
“Yes please!” Ashley replied, perking up. I got them out of my backpack and handed them to her.
“Did y’all see what fourth period baseball was up to?”
“Poles. The whole period.” Claire said, her sharp face looking even more serious.
“f**k”
“I’m just joking, I don’t know actually.”
“Very funny,” I said, and threw a fry at her. [More boring dialog. I don't care what they're studying in class.]
“Totally worth it.” She smiled and picked up the fry, eating it.
“Did y’all hear that Rachel broke up with her boyfriend?” Lindsay asked us without missing a beat.
“Well, he wasis kind of a douche,” I mentioned said. “I’m on the baseball team with him.”
“A lot of your teammates are douches,” Ashley commented. [Better to show an action to reveal who's talking, or just use "said." e.g., Ashley pointed a fry at me. "A lot of your teammates are douches."]
“Why do you think I don’t hang out with them,?I said after finishing my bite of food.

The rest of the day returned to the normal monotonous rotation of class, except for my paranoia about having to do poles all of seventh period, and when the bell rang to go there I found myself meandering towards the locker room.
The music was too loud for when I opened the door, the basketball team was off in their part [what's their part? Give us a visual: e.g., "The basketball team was on their usual corner by the showers"] dancing along to it and goofing off [again, give us specifics rather than "goofing off" - they were drumming on the lockers, hitting each other with towels, something] , a few of my teammates joined them in the rambunctiousness. I tensed up as I snuck by them, trying to pretend as if they were not there to begin with, and they were too in their own world to notice me either.

“Sup bro,” my catcher, Dylon walked in behind to me and opened his locker
“Sup” I replied as I began to get got dressed for our period. “You know what we’re doing today.”
“Nope.”
“Knock it off y’all! It’s time to get dressed!” The basketball coach came in and yelled, I jumped.
I looked down and floor and remained quiet.
“You alright bro?” He asked
“Yeah, I’m good. Just heard we were doing poles all period but I’m not sure that was a joke or not.”

[What was the point of this scene? It was short and nothing happened.]

It did turn out to be a joke as we out to the field to do a few hitting drills before being dismissed for the day. I hurried home by myself due to Lindsay’s practice to do the same thing I always did, me time. It was the only time of day when I felt like I could truly be myself, when I was alone. My routine consisted of grabbing a soda, greeting my dog Esther, and then plopping down in front of our game room TV and turning on my Xbox, spending the afternoon playing video games. I enjoyed when I could play games by myself, it was the only time I could play how I wanted. I was playing NCAA Football, and caring too much about the story behind my team than most of my friends ever did, it was all just about dominating to them. I realized at a very young age that I did not play like other boys. As we grew older, our toys changed, but that difference remained.

I played until my parents and I decided on dinner, and I waited until the last possible minute to end my afternoon of freedom to meet them for Mexican food. After which I drove to Lindsay’s house to work on homework for a few hours, though we spent more time wasting time than actually working, and stayed until I had to leave at ten, her dad’s curfew for me on school nights, though when school starts at 7:20, I don’t complain.

I returned home and my parents were already sleeping so I put my stuff down and got ready for bed, climbing into bed after setting in my alarm. My mind wondered as it usually did, always going to places that puzzled me, and where I didn’t want to go. It was the same strange fantasy that my mind had been playing episodes of like a nightly TV, this was about me waking up as a girl due to a curse. These fantasies relaxed me, but disturbed me at the same time.
“I’m normal,” I thought, “I’m not one of those people,” I wrestled with these thoughts and the fact I enjoyed the fantasy as I drifted up to sleep for the night.


So almost nothing happened during any of this. I met some characters but really learned nothing about their personalities, except that Chris is shy and a bit of a loner. If this is the opening of your story, you need to give us something to look forward to--a question to be answered, characters we're dying to get to know better. The only question I'm left with is, "What are poles?" but I don't care enough to keep reading. I'm sorry to be so harsh. I know you have a good story in your head, but you need to get to it instead of giving us a play-by-play of a very average day.

You finally got to something interesting in the very last paragraph, but you gave a vague description of it. I want to hear this fantasy in detail. Maybe this is where you need to start the story instead of "I was born a boy." Tell me about this fantasy. For example, in my book, my character has a dream that he's at school. He looks down and he's wearing a ballgown, and runs to the bathroom to change but there are guys standing around and no stalls on the doors. Then he runs into the auditorium where he sees a hot guy playing a harp. The guy puts his arms around my MC and my MC starts playing the harp like a pro, and feels like he's flying. This was my way of communicating that wearing a dress in the dream made him feel uncomfortable and embarrassed and yet led to a feeling of freedom. It also gives him the impetus to start taking harp lessons when he wakes up. The dream thing can be corny if overused, but my point is, show us details and let the reader figure out what it means. Don't spell out the feelings.

There are some good YA books with trans characters. I recommend reading everything you can in that subgenre. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/teen/10-great-ya-novels-transgendernonbinary-main-characters/. I don't know everything about your story, but just know that a story solely about a character figuring out their gender identity and transitioning is probably not what publishers are looking for, just as we've moved beyond having books just about gay kids coming out. They are looking for multifaceted characters whose gender identity and sexuality is just part of the story.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 03:44:06 PM by kaperton » Logged
maciesnow
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Karma: 0
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Posts: 4


« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2018, 11:21:54 AM »

(Any feedback and constructive criticism is welcome. Anything argumentative about LGBT is not)
I write YA LGBT - nice to see a fellow writer in my genre. And I don't think you need to worry about judgments of that nature on this site.[/quote]

Cool! Yeah, I just never know how people are going to respond.

My name is Christina Hendrick and I was born a boy. It started the day I met my friend Sarah.

I'm confused already. It sounds like Christina was born a boy the day she met her friend Sarah.

I strolled into my Precalculus class that day and turned towards my seat. I spotted a blonde a girl sitting in it, taking in her new surroundings. She had a closed posture, but an approachable face. I paused for a moment while my brain computed a response. It ultimately decided to walk while thinking through my options.

“Oh my god, am I in your seat?” She said when I approached.
“Oh no, you’re fine,” I said, motioning for her to remain seated.
“I’m sorry, I got it confused,” our teacher, Mrs. Peters, said, “I thought you were the other one,”
“I’ll move,” She said, starting to get up.
“No, it’s totally fine,” I insisted. She conceded and sat back down in my old seat.
“I’m Sarah by the way.” She said, sticking out her hand. “I’m new.”
“Chris,” I replied. “Where are you from?”
“Florida,” She answered. “We were supposed to move earlier, but stuff got delayed and it’s hard to get an apartment for six weeks. My mom contacted the school and they were super understanding so I’m not really behind”
“Cool. Are you a junior or senior?”
“Junior.”
“Nice, me too! You’ll love Mrs. Peters.”

I believe it was Ansen Dibell who said that the purpose of dialogue is to create tension. Dialogue like this bores the reader quickly. If your aim is to reveal background on the characters, you can do that a lot of different ways. Don't just put it all out there. It's like reading a bio sheet on someone. "This is Sarah. She is a junior who moved from Florida."

Our teacher was shaped like the Michelin Man, but short. Everyone respected her because she treated us like human beings with personalities. Her personality matched her size. The bell rang and she got up and hobbled her way from her desk to the smart board. “Morning y’all. We’ve got a new student joining us today. Her name is Sarah, and she’s nice so nobody haze her too hard.”
The class gave a collective and almost sympathetic chuckle. “First off, anyone got anything good going on?”

A senior I did not know well raised his hand. “I got accepted into A&M last night.”
“I disagree with your life choices.” [cute - I like this.] Mrs. Peters joked, “But congratulations Anything else?"

A few more students raised their hands and shared before we truly started with class. I nodded in approval of Sarah during class. [This is a little weird to me - maybe "nodding inwardly"? I just picture Chris sitting there nodding, which is something a teacher might do, but not a student.] She knew her math and jumping right into participating, even answering a question, which I thought was bold.
“The new girl is showing you all up.” Mrs. Peters mentioned said.

“Do you know where Room 223 is?” Sarah asked me after the bell rang.
“Oh yeah, it’s right upstairs, I’ll walk you.”
“Thanks,” she said with a smile and the two of us left class together.
“So is Chris short for Christopher or Christian?”
“Christopher,” I replied.
We made our way down to the end of the hall and I pointed up the stairs, giving her directions. Lindsay approached us from the stairs. “Hey,” she said, and we exchanged a peck.
“Hey,” I replied
“I’m Lindsay.” She introduced herself. [This would be a great time to have Lindsay something interesting to reveal her personality, rather than just introducing herself.]
“Sarah,” she said, shaking her hand, “Anyway, thanks Chris, but I should give myself time.” [huh? time for what?]
“She seems cute,” Lindsay commented as we watched her walk away. “Oh, before I forget, Kylie and Ryan want to get together Saturday.”
“Fine by me. I like Ryan enough.” I said. [I'm getting bored again]
“I know you hate him”
“I don’t hate him; he’s just a little, too much” I rebutted.
“Some girls like manly men like that, some of us don’t,” She said, rubbing me on the shoulder, looking over at me with a soft smile.

A sense of both discomfort and comfort washed over me, my mind felt torn. I did not understand masculinity despite my own maleness. If anything I was repulsed by it, this other part of me, however, was desperate to try and blend in with the other guys at my school. [You're telling instead of showing. Can you show us this in gym class, in an interaction with a guy, etc?]

“I’ll see you at lunch.” She said, kissing me again before hurrying off towards softball.

She tied her brunette hair in a ponytail. I watched her tie her brown hair in a ponytail, observing do so in intricate detail as she walked away, following her every motion. I then turned back and headed towards Orchestra, her outfit of blue jeans and long sleeve softball shirt seemed to brand my mind. [This is a little weird. I imagine you're trying to show that she's memorizing her friend's clothing, but it sounds a little stalkery.]

Before joining her and the rest of my table at lunch, I glanced around for Sarah to invite her over to our table, but did not see her. I was the only guy at our table, I ate lunch with Lindsay and our two friends Ashley and Claire, who she met through softball, Ashley and Claire.

“Hey Chris,” they greeted me.
“Hey y’all.”
“Chris, what are we doing in APUSH today?”
“Starting the Gilded Age PowerPoint, want my notes?”
“Yes please!” Ashley replied, perking up. I got them out of my backpack and handed them to her.
“Did y’all see what fourth period baseball was up to?”
“Poles. The whole period.” Claire said, her sharp face looking even more serious.
“f**k”
“I’m just joking, I don’t know actually.”
“Very funny,” I said, and threw a fry at her. [More boring dialog. I don't care what they're studying in class.]
“Totally worth it.” She smiled and picked up the fry, eating it.
“Did y’all hear that Rachel broke up with her boyfriend?” Lindsay asked us without missing a beat.
“Well, he wasis kind of a douche,” I mentioned said. “I’m on the baseball team with him.”
“A lot of your teammates are douches,” Ashley commented. [Better to show an action to reveal who's talking, or just use "said." e.g., Ashley pointed a fry at me. "A lot of your teammates are douches."]
“Why do you think I don’t hang out with them,?I said after finishing my bite of food.

The rest of the day returned to the normal monotonous rotation of class, except for my paranoia about having to do poles all of seventh period, and when the bell rang to go there I found myself meandering towards the locker room.
The music was too loud for when I opened the door, the basketball team was off in their part [what's their part? Give us a visual: e.g., "The basketball team was on their usual corner by the showers"] dancing along to it and goofing off [again, give us specifics rather than "goofing off" - they were drumming on the lockers, hitting each other with towels, something] , a few of my teammates joined them in the rambunctiousness. I tensed up as I snuck by them, trying to pretend as if they were not there to begin with, and they were too in their own world to notice me either.

“Sup bro,” my catcher, Dylon walked in behind to me and opened his locker
“Sup” I replied as I began to get got dressed for our period. “You know what we’re doing today.”
“Nope.”
“Knock it off y’all! It’s time to get dressed!” The basketball coach came in and yelled, I jumped.
I looked down and floor and remained quiet.
“You alright bro?” He asked
“Yeah, I’m good. Just heard we were doing poles all period but I’m not sure that was a joke or not.”

[What was the point of this scene? It was short and nothing happened.]

It did turn out to be a joke as we out to the field to do a few hitting drills before being dismissed for the day. I hurried home by myself due to Lindsay’s practice to do the same thing I always did, me time. It was the only time of day when I felt like I could truly be myself, when I was alone. My routine consisted of grabbing a soda, greeting my dog Esther, and then plopping down in front of our game room TV and turning on my Xbox, spending the afternoon playing video games. I enjoyed when I could play games by myself, it was the only time I could play how I wanted. I was playing NCAA Football, and caring too much about the story behind my team than most of my friends ever did, it was all just about dominating to them. I realized at a very young age that I did not play like other boys. As we grew older, our toys changed, but that difference remained.

I played until my parents and I decided on dinner, and I waited until the last possible minute to end my afternoon of freedom to meet them for Mexican food. After which I drove to Lindsay’s house to work on homework for a few hours, though we spent more time wasting time than actually working, and stayed until I had to leave at ten, her dad’s curfew for me on school nights, though when school starts at 7:20, I don’t complain.

I returned home and my parents were already sleeping so I put my stuff down and got ready for bed, climbing into bed after setting in my alarm. My mind wondered as it usually did, always going to places that puzzled me, and where I didn’t want to go. It was the same strange fantasy that my mind had been playing episodes of like a nightly TV, this was about me waking up as a girl due to a curse. These fantasies relaxed me, but disturbed me at the same time.
“I’m normal,” I thought, “I’m not one of those people,” I wrestled with these thoughts and the fact I enjoyed the fantasy as I drifted up to sleep for the night.


So almost nothing happened during any of this. I met some characters but really learned nothing about their personalities, except that Chris is shy and a bit of a loner. If this is the opening of your story, you need to give us something to look forward to--a question to be answered, characters we're dying to get to know better. The only question I'm left with is, "What are poles?" but I don't care enough to keep reading. I'm sorry to be so harsh. I know you have a good story in your head, but you need to get to it instead of giving us a play-by-play of a very average day.

Thanks for the feedback and critique! I totally see what you mean now. For some reason, the introduction and really the first part of the story is the hardest part for me to write. I always look back at it and go "that's the weakest and worst part of the book." I struggle getting the story going and also keeping it interesting. There are some things like Chris' being mesmerized by his girlfriend's hair and clothes are an attempt to describe dysphoria before someone realizes it's dysphoria. That is one of the issues at the beginning is showing these things from the perspective of someone who does not know what it is. The locker room scene is supposed to show how Chris interacts with the guys at school.
 
You finally got to something interesting in the very last paragraph, but you gave a vague description of it. I want to hear this fantasy in detail. Maybe this is where you need to start the story instead of "I was born a boy." Tell me about this fantasy. For example, in my book, my character has a dream that he's at school. He looks down and he's wearing a ballgown, and runs to the bathroom to change but there are guys standing around and no stalls on the doors. Then he runs into the auditorium where he sees a hot guy playing a harp. The guy puts his arms around my MC and my MC starts playing the harp like a pro, and feels like he's flying. This was my way of communicating that wearing a dress in the dream made him feel uncomfortable and embarrassed and yet led to a feeling of freedom. It also gives him the impetus to start taking harp lessons when he wakes up. The dream thing can be corny if overused, but my point is, show us details and let the reader figure out what it means. Don't spell out the feelings.

I think the dream thing is really corny, that's why I avoid it. The hook is supposed to be figuring out Sarah, she is also transgender (which you find out later in the book). That moment is sort of what sends Chris into the spiral where she figures it out for herself. 

There are some good YA books with trans characters. I recommend reading everything you can in that subgenre. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/teen/10-great-ya-novels-transgendernonbinary-main-characters/. I don't know everything about your story, but just know that a story solely about a character figuring out their gender identity and transitioning is probably not what publishers are looking for, just as we've moved beyond having books just about gay kids coming out. They are looking for multifaceted characters whose gender identity and sexuality is just part of the story.

I've had plenty of agents interested in the concept, just can't connect to the story, probably for the same reasons you bring up. We are beyond gay kids coming out, but trans fiction is still not there. Plus, Chris is a lesbian, and almost every book I've found with a transwoman, she's straight.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 02:18:23 PM by maciesnow » Logged
kaperton
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2018, 02:15:00 PM »


Thanks for the feedback and critique! I totally see what you mean now. For some reason, the introduction and really the first part of the story is the hardest part for me to write. I always look back at it and go "that's the weakest and worst part of the book." I struggle getting the story going and also keeping it interesting. There are some things like Chris' being mesmerized by his girlfriend's hair and clothes are an attempt to describe dysphoria before someone realizes it's dysphoria. That is one of the issues at the beginning is showing these things from the perspective of someone who does not know what it is.
 
I think the dream thing is really corny, that's why I avoid it. The hook is supposed to be figuring out Sarah, she is also transgender (which you find out later in the book). That moment is sort of what sends Chris into the spiral where she figures it out for herself. 

I've had plenty of agents interested in the concept, just can't connect to the story, probably for the same reasons you bring up. We are beyond gay kids coming out, but trans fiction is still not there. Plus, Chris is a lesbian, and almost every book I've found with a transwoman, she's straight.

That's awesome! The transguy in my book is gay. But even with that, I must have the same conventions in my head because it didn't even occur to me that Lindsay was Chris's girlfriend. I thought they were doing a friend kiss thing.

As far as where to start the book, look through the first couple of chapters and see what part grabs you--where the action starts--and make that your beginning. You can always fill in the backstory later.
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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2018, 02:29:06 PM »


Thanks for the feedback and critique! I totally see what you mean now. For some reason, the introduction and really the first part of the story is the hardest part for me to write. I always look back at it and go "that's the weakest and worst part of the book." I struggle getting the story going and also keeping it interesting. There are some things like Chris' being mesmerized by his girlfriend's hair and clothes are an attempt to describe dysphoria before someone realizes it's dysphoria. That is one of the issues at the beginning is showing these things from the perspective of someone who does not know what it is.
 
I think the dream thing is really corny, that's why I avoid it. The hook is supposed to be figuring out Sarah, she is also transgender (which you find out later in the book). That moment is sort of what sends Chris into the spiral where she figures it out for herself. 

I've had plenty of agents interested in the concept, just can't connect to the story, probably for the same reasons you bring up. We are beyond gay kids coming out, but trans fiction is still not there. Plus, Chris is a lesbian, and almost every book I've found with a transwoman, she's straight.

That's awesome! The transguy in my book is gay. But even with that, I must have the same conventions in my head because it didn't even occur to me that Lindsay was Chris's girlfriend. I thought they were doing a friend kiss thing.

As far as where to start the book, look through the first couple of chapters and see what part grabs you--where the action starts--and make that your beginning. You can always fill in the backstory later.

It's all good, but they're dating. I think a lot of people have that same convention, which is why I made Chris attracted to women, us transgender lesbians are very underrepresented in books and media. In fact, the development of their romance and relationship becomes a fairly big subplot of the story. When Chris meets Sarah is where the action starts, this actually not the original beginning. The other places I could start are when Sarah gets attacked and they back her up or when she comes out to them but I feel like the reader should have some knowledge behind Sarah for that to seem meaningful?
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 02:32:41 PM by maciesnow » Logged
kaperton
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2018, 02:49:15 PM »

Maybe stick with the opening being meeting Sarah, as you have, but something has to stand out to grab us. Make either their first conversation distinctive or Sarah herself distinctive. Maybe they have a weird misunderstanding that creates an awkward first conversation. Maybe Sarah corrects the teacher because she's that smart. Maybe she's drawn a really interesting/brilliant doodle on her paper that Chris notices. Maybe she curses in a different language. Anything to make us want to know more about Sarah, or to be curious about how their relationship will unfold.

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maciesnow
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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2018, 09:24:01 AM »

Here's the rewrite....

My name is Christina Hendrick and I was born a boy, and never questioned that for the first sixteen years, eleven months, and fifteen days. What led to that epiphany started the day I met my friend Sarah. I strolled into my Precalculus class that day and turned towards my seat. I spotted a blonde a girl sitting in it, taking in her new surroundings. She had a closed posture, but an approachable face. I paused for a moment while my brain computed a response. It ultimately decided to walk while thinking through my options.

“Oh my god, am I in your seat?” She said when I approached.
“Oh no, you’re fine,” I said, motioning for her to remain seated.
“I’m sorry, I got it confused,” our teacher, Mrs. Peters, said, “I thought you were the other one,”
“I’ll move,” She said, starting to get up.
“No, it’s totally fine,” I insisted. She conceded and sat back down in my old seat.
“I’m Sarah by the way.” She said, sticking out her hand. “I’m new.”
“Chris,” I replied.

Our teacher was shaped like the Michelin Man, but short. Everyone respected her because she treated us like human beings with personalities. Her personality matched her size. The bell rang and she got up and hobbled her way from her desk to the smart board. “Morning y’all. We’ve got a new student joining us today. Her name is Sarah, and she’s nice so nobody haze her too hard.”
The class gave a collective and almost sympathetic chuckle. “First off, anyone got anything good going on?”

A senior I did not know well raised his hand. “I got accepted into A&M last night.”
“I disagree with your life choices.” Mrs. Peters joked, “But congratulations Anything else?
A few more students raised their hands and shared before Mrs. Peters asked about the warm-up question. Sarah’s hand shot up immediately and she answered without missing a beat. “The new girl is showing you all up.” Mrs. Peters said.

After she finished with her lesson that day, I tapped on Sarah’s shoulder “You seem to understand this, can you help me?” I whispered.
“Sure.’ She said with a smile. She turned back in her desk and placed her notes on my own. I looked at her notebook, it had pink and blue patterns colored around, entangled around the sides of the paper. I had noticed her doodling a little bit. It looked pretty, at the top it had her name “Sarah Elizabeth” in the same colors. I looked at her fingernails, painted in the same color.
She seemed to notice that I noticed and stopped talking “Yeah, those are my favorite colors.”
“Hmm” I stated and went back to the math.

It was not long before the bell rang and she asked me, “Do you know where Room 223 is?”
“Oh yeah, it’s right upstairs, I’ll walk you.”
“Thanks,” she said with a smile and the two of us left class together.
“So is Chris short for Christopher or Christian?”
“Christopher,” I replied.
We made our way down to the end of the hall and I pointed up the stairs, giving her directions. Lindsay approached us from the stairs. “Hey babe,” she said, and we exchanged a peck.
“Hey,” I replied
“Are you new?” She asked. Sarah nodded in reply, and Lindsay introduced herself. “Well, welcome to Plano. You’re in good hands with Chris.” She said, and put her arm around me as if to mark her territory. “Sorry, your name?
“Sarah,” she said, shaking Lindsay’s hand, “and thanks, but I should give myself time to meet the teacher and things.”
“She seems cute,” Lindsay commented as we watched her walk away.  She then turned towards me,“Oh, before I forget, Kylie and Ryan want to get together Saturday. I know you hate Ryan.”
“I don’t hate him; he’s just a little, too much” I rebutted.
“Some girls like manly men like that, some of us don’t,” She said, rubbing me on the shoulder, looking over at me with a soft smile. I simply sighed in reply.
“I’ll see you at lunch.” She said, kissing me again before hurrying off towards softball.

I watched her tie her brunette hair in a ponytail, observing in intricate detail. I then turned back and headed towards Orchestra. Even though her outfit was normal and basic for her, a long black softball t-shirt and jeans, it branded into my mind. I looked down at my own, a baseball shirt and jeans, and something just seemed wrong about it, almost like I would have rather worn was she was wearing.
Before joining her and the rest of my table at lunch, I glanced around for Sarah to invite her over to our table, but did not see her. I was the only guy at our table, I ate lunch with Lindsay and our two friends Ashley and Claire, who she met through softball.

“Hey Chris,” they greeted me.
“Hey y’all.”
“So, Lindsay tells us she has some competition?” Claire said, taking a bite of her lunch and chewing it dramatically
“Huh?” I said, perking up, “Oh, you mean Sarah, she just some new girl in my math. Helped me a lot.”
“You need all the help you can get get there.” She replied, her sharp face showed a smile, “I had Geometry with you last year.”
“Shut up!” I replied, and threw a fry at her.
“She seemed nice, but that bitch don’t have a chance to take my man.” Lindsay said.
I looked down for a moment and seemed to get smaller, but Lindsay continued, “Anyway, speaking of relationships, did y’all hear that Rachel broke up with her boyfriend?”
“Well, Matt is kind of a douche,” I mentioned. “I’m on the baseball team with him.”
“A lot of your teammates are douches,” Ashley said, her large eyes narrowed and she pointed a fork at me.
“Why do you think I don’t hang out with them?”
“Cause we’re cooler?” Claire replied.
“Duh” Ashley replied sassily. The two of them exchanged a fistbump. I gave a laugh out of pity.
“Chris has told me if he could, he’d play on the softball team” Lindsay added.
“Babe!” I said, raising my voice with my eyebrows. I tried to compose myself.
“Want to be a girl Chris?” Claire joked, but my heart seemed to leap in my chest a little bit. “You’d make a pretty cool chick I think.”
“No,” I said, trying my best to prevent the blushing and hiding the smile coming on my face “I’m just friends with y’all and not really my own team.”
“Makes sense.” Ashley replied. I breathed a sigh of relief and glanced around, but none of them noticed how close of a call that felt to me.

The rest of the day returned to the normal monotonous rotation of classes, ending with my baseball period. I walked into the locker room and was overcome by the loudness of the rap music blaring from the speakers. A few of the basketball players were in their little enclave of lockers in front of ours dancing like buffoons, and I found myself tensing up. A few of them banged on the lockers and I jumped slightly. I looked down and made my way past them, they paid no attention to me so I figured that I achieved my goal.

“Sup bro,” my catcher, Dylon walked in behind to me and opened his locker
“Sup” I replied as I began to get dressed for our period. Matt walked in “Sup y’all!” He almost seemed to yell  out, he slapped us both on the ass, and I cringed. I looked over at Dylon who did not care at all so I remained in place and simply reply “Sup bro.” His locker was next to mine and I found myself moving towards his own and slapped it as well. My felt dirty and I found the need to wash it afterwards.
“Sorry to hear about Rachel bro.” I mentioned, “She was kinda hot.” I didn’t know where the second half of me came from, it never sounded like myself when I made comments like that.
“Yeah, but it’s all good. There’s plenty of girls here.’
“There’s some new blonde girl in my English class, she’s fine as hell.”
“Sarah?” I questioned. We went to a large enough school that it was possible two blonde girls joined the same day.
“I don’t know her name. Her body is okay, but her face is cute as f**k.”
“She’s an alberface?” Matt asked.
“If it’s the same girl in my math class.” Seemed to come out of my mouth, “I didn’t think so.”

I felt like my own mouth had betrayed me, but I simply told myself that anything I ever said in the locker room was simply an act. In many ways, I almost did not seem to understand my own words when I spoke them. I glanced around, the cage doors that we had into our enclaved looked like a prison, and I felt trapped in this conversation that I wanted no part of. I couldn’t even describe anything about Sarah other than her notebook, that it was stuck out to me. I knew that I could never mention that hear unless I wanted to be the subject of ridicule.

“Knock it off y’all! It’s time to get dressed!” The basketball coach came in and yelled, I jumped as it pulled me back to reality.
I looked down and floor and remained quiet.
“You alright bro?” Dylon asked
“Yeah, I’m good. Just heard we were doing poles all period but I’m not sure that was a joke or not.”

It did turn out to be a joke as we out to the field to do a few hitting drills before being dismissed for the day. I hurried home by myself due to Lindsay’s practice to do the same thing I always did, me time. It was the only time of day when I felt like I could truly be myself, when I was alone. My routine consisted of grabbing a soda, greeting my dog Esther, and then plopping down in front of our game room TV and turning on my Xbox, spending the afternoon playing video games. I enjoyed when I could play games by myself, it was the only time I could play how I wanted. I was playing NCAA Football, and caring too much about the story behind my team than most of my friends ever did, it was all just about dominating to them. I realized at a very young age that I did not play like other boys. As we grew older, our toys changed, but that difference remained.

I played until my parents and I decided on dinner, and I waited until the last possible minute to end my afternoon of freedom to meet them for Mexican food. After which I drove to Lindsay’s house to work on homework for a few hours, though we spent more time wasting time than actually working, and stayed until I had to leave at ten, her dad’s curfew for me on school nights, though when school starts at 7:20, I don’t complain.

I returned home and my parents were already sleeping so I put my stuff down and got ready for bed, climbing into bed after setting in my alarm. My mind wondered as it usually did, always going to places that puzzled me, and where I didn’t want to go. It was the same strange fantasy that my mind had been playing episodes of like a nightly TV, this was about me waking up as a girl due to a curse. These fantasies relaxed me, but disturbed me at the same time.
“I’m normal,” I thought, “I’m not one of those people,” I wrestled with these thoughts and the fact I enjoyed the fantasy as I drifted up to sleep for the night.
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