If you'll recall, Swati Avasthi is on an epic blog tour to honor National Domestic Violence month. Each stop will feature auctions that are being used to raise donation money. For full details see this post!
Today Swati is stopping by with a cut scene that didn't make it into the book. That's right, writing in its rawest form! How exciting!
At the bottom of this post you'll find the info for the auctions that are being hosted today. Please take some time to check them out and follow along with the tour! We want to meet Swati's fundraising goal!
Cut Scene, Take One
This is the first in a series of three that I wrote in the first or second draft of the novel and then removed or condensed. (See the tour schedule for the remaining scenes). Though I’ve been sorely tempted (it feels a little like showing up to a party in a slip), I have not altered these sections from their original in their content or wording. I did clean typos and, for the ease of readers, changed all the characters’ names to their final names, as opposed to the many names they have had in the various iterations. (Seriously, so many that my critique groups forget who became who).
This scene took place on what is around p. 60 of the book now. Very few of the concepts made it into the final cut and even fewer of the actual words. I hope you enjoy it, warts and all.
I’m ten minutes early. Mirriam’s Toyota is parked over in the Teacher’s Lot. I scowl at it. I suppose I should be grateful she knew the school system, knew about open enrollment, and pulled some strings to get me in mid-year. But I’m not too thrilled that I’ll be under her eyes every day. Still, it was KACS or one of the worst schools in the state.
I park and wait, watching people go by: three guys who apparently get their fix at Abercrombie and Fitch, a couple of duuudes who wear their hair long and remind me of Shaggy from Scooby Doo, and a pride of girls with a redhead at the center, who is a half-step ahead of her pack.
First days usually suck with everyone trying to classify you; I’ve done this before, it won’t be any different.
Former classification: Cool kid. Jock, smart, and status enhanced notably when I started dating Lauren. She took me from the seats in the middle of the school bus, the wanna-bes, all the way to the farthest-back seat, the kind you can stare out of the back window if you want, by the end of sophomore year.
New status: Unknown.
Once, my father wrapped a paternal hand around the back of my neck, drawing me closer to him. “None of us can be perfect, son. You may as well accept that. The key is to look perfect. Nothing else will open doors as easily. Get the girl, make the grades, and kiss the asses.”
I shoved his hand off me.
Really? I wanted to say, Did you think I was stupid, all these years, that I hadn’t figured that out yet, that my obsession with college applications was a hobby?
When I was a sophomore, I asked the college counselor to start practice interviews with me. She smiled one of those, I’ll-be-patient-with-you-even-though-you’re-driving-me-crazy smiles and told me her priority was the seniors. In the meantime, she said, you can imagine interview questions on your own and answer them.
I envision my imaginary college interviewer, Mr. Keller, I call him. He’s a 40-year-old guy with whose stomach is so big it reaches the desk at the same time as his hands. He loves doughnuts and smiles bigger at the girls than the guys. He’s always the same interviewer, no matter what the dream school d’jour is.
He asks me, “If you had a chance to remake your life, who would you be?”
“ . . . uh . . .”
Stumped. No shot at Columbia after all. I imagine him in an admissions meeting at a long table, a coffee mug one his hand, stretching over his stomach for the last Danish. “You’re right,” he says. “Jace has the grades, has the extra-curriculars, but he lacks . . . insight.”
Out of my window, the parking lot is filling up. The sun richochets off a sideview mirror, blinding me momentarily. I swing my visor down.
How was Christian classified in high school? I wish I knew, but our five years distance in age and six years in grades made it impossible. In my imagination, he was the-me-I-had-been: the over-achieving, cool kid who had the grades, the girl, the friends.
I try to see Paul Costacos and my brother as if I were meeting them today.
They are not cool.
Paul’s little tank of hermit crabs and his love of the animal world would qualify him as a weirdo, if not worse. And my brother was a year younger than everybody else and hung out with animal-kindgom-kid. I groan at the thought.
I think of my college interviewer again, and I have a basic answer.
Q: If you had a chance to remake your life, who would you be?
A: I would be not-a-bastard.
I’d have to gussy that answer up, but I’ve got the gist.
Please note that this cut scene is copyright of Swati Avasthi. Do not repost it without her permission.
Ready for today's auctions? Again, please visit and bid. This is all going to a great cause!
Author Georgia McBride is offering up a first chapter critique.
First chapters hook readers, and the publishing world knows that. Which is why first chapters are so important. As the founder of #yalitchat, member of SCBWI and NCWN, Georgia McBride knows how to make it pop. She is donating a first chapter critique of your manuscript.
Author Georgia McBride is also offering up a one-year membership to YALITCHAT.
YALITCHAT is a young adult book publishing industry non-profit organization for the advancement of young adult literature around the world. What started as a weekly chat on twitter has grown into a world-wide organization of like-minded individuals with one goal. Membersship benefits include: access to our “always on” online community, peer critique of your “first pages,” synopses, scenes and queries, advice from members who have had successful query experience including personal samples of their “queries that worked” as well as feedback on first pages, synopsis, or scene from top agents, access to our fully up-to-date YA Agent database and access to grants and scholarships, member-only opportunities like writing contests and agent/editor submissions via our online Agent Mailbox and lots more.
Author Shari Maurer has donated a signed and personalized copy of her book, Change of Heart.