Sunday, February 14, 2010

Posted by Laurel Garver on Sunday, February 14, 2010 30 comments
Thanks to our lovely host Courtney for today's blogfest on the writing prompt "love at first sight."

My offering is written from the point of view of the male love interest from WIP-1. I thought it would be fun to tell his side of the story of the first up-close meeting and conversation with my protagonist.

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Fletcher never told me there’d be girls at his church thing. I’d only gone along to escape another of Mom’s epic custody flip-outs after Dad announced he was moving to Switzerland with skank number 26. I thought chilling with hippie-dude Jesus sounded soothing. Mellow. Almost as good as hiding in a closet with my blanket. Not that I do that wussy baby stuff anymore, mind you.

Anyhow, I followed Fletch to this Hogwarts kind of room where it seemed like half of Gryffindor was hanging out. Well, minus the robes. Then I saw her. Art girl. One long line of lean in jeans and a snug sweater.

I knew she had a pretty French name but went by something boyish. Dom for Dominique. Mitch for Michelle. With just a plain pencil, this girl could make magic. She’d rocked the school art show with a drawing of a Central Park tree that wasn't wood, but water. It was weird. Wonderful. I couldn’t stop staring at it. The longer I looked, the more I felt sucked in. Like the real me was in there somehow, swimming in the shadows just below the surface.

At school, she was always hunched over a sketchbook, her red-brown blonde hair streaming like a waterfall across her face. Hiding away. Like Rapunzel in her tower. I’d climb a thousand thorn bushes to touch the sweep of her cheek and taste her small, soft mouth.

Art girl looked stunned at her joking friend. Then she laughed. I could feel it tug my gut with the cadence of an eight-man scull team rowing a power ten. I had to know. What was so funny? What made her happy? Would she ever smile like that for me?

I drifted across the room to the snack-laden table she was leaning against. I reached for the chips and tried to swallow back the dryness in my throat. Then something impossibly awful happened. Art girl’s redhead friend whispered in her ear and she doubled over, laughing harder than ever. The table creaked and shuddered beneath her. Then it tipped backwards. Food poured onto the floor.

I managed to grab the nearest corner and right the table before everything dumped, but the damage was done. After stunned silence would come the usual humiliation: wolf whistles, clapping and mocking laughter.

I couldn’t watch it happen. Not to her. So I knelt down and started picking up. Weirdly enough, so did everyone else in the room. Not one person clapped. The only laughter was in the group’s easy banter as they worked together. Apparently these were not your usual high school jerks.

I was scraping guacamole off the thousand-year-old church carpet when art girl scooted near me to gather scattered pistachios. She leaned so close I could smell her. Sweet and summery. Like those vines twined through our deck at the lake house. Honeysuckle.

“That must’ve been some joke,” I said.

She shook her head. “I’m such a bloody idiot.”

“You jolly well are not,” I joked, mimicking her.

“What?”

Oh crap. She wasn’t faking. That’s her normal voice.

“Sorry. I just didn’t, um, expect you to sound—” as sexy as those babes in my sister’s Regency romances. I don’t care what my stupid crew buddies say, those books are hot. “It’s not like your accent is…you know, strong or anything,” I babbled. “I mean, I barely noticed. It’s just…aren’t you the new girl who moved from Brooklyn?”

She squinted at me, suspicious.

“I’m Theo. Theo Wescott. From school? I came with a guy I row with, Fletcher Reid.” I pointed my chin in his direction, and darned if he wasn’t totally flirting with the redhead.

Art girl stared at my outstretched hand like it might bite.

“I come in peace.”

She bit her lip, trying to hide a smile. Then she grasped my hand and shook it, her strong, slim fingers a perfect fit in mine. “Danielle. Deane. But everyone calls me—”

“Dani,” I said, my voice husky. Just how I’d say it if she were in my arms.

“Yeah,” she whispered, her eyes wide. They were a soft gray, like a pigeon feather. She leaned back, wobbled, caught herself. Like she wanted to get up and run, but was too scared.

30 comments:

  1. OOh its always fun to read from the male POV and from what I can tell you did a great job with it--wish I could pull that off. I liked the description of her name:-)

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  2. Laurel- I love it! YOu are so talented. I saw everything perfectly- I love his voice. I'm sucked in and want to read his story.

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  3. Wow, that was awesome. You not only got his voice, but your descriptions were so fresh and natural: one long line of lean in jeans, I'd climb a thousand thorn bushes, soft gray like a pigeon feather. *sigh*

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  4. Laurel, I just love your writing. I can just see myself snuggled up and reading a book you wrote.

    I agree with Tricia that your descriptions are amazing.

    Seriously, my favorite scene so far today!

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  5. This is great! I was totally there in that room with him, wanting to be cool, afraid he was anything but. Really good job.

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  6. Great voice! You've made him such a believable character! Nicely done :)

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  7. A strong male voice - half the battle won. Then you made him both chivalrous and bashful. This is my ideal man.
    Great work.
    Elaine

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  8. Frankie: Aha! Does that mean your full name is a bit more flowery? Francesca perhaps? One of my daughter's neighborhood friends is Francesca called Frankie.

    Kelly: Thanks! I'm toying with the idea of writing a third book from his POV. The longer I've known Theo, the more complicated he gets.

    Melissa: Thanks for your encouragement and for becoming a follower.

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  9. Tricia: Thanks so much! I've been writing in Dani's POV so long, it was really hard to not use her more flowery descriptions and pull in her arty sensibility. When I imagined one of my brothers talking to me, it kind of gelled.

    Amber: Aw gee, I'm blushing. I think that's about the best compliment I've had in years.

    Elle: Thanks! I can't wait to read yours too.

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  10. Jemi: Thanks so much. Even the Regency romances? :-) Seriously, one of the boys in my church youth group loves Austen films (and has two sisters), so I figured it wasn't too far fetched.

    Elaine: Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. Chivalrous and bashful. Interesting read on him. :-)

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  11. This is fantastic! I love his awkward, honest yearning; how he overcomes her suspicion and, almost, bowls her over. Wonderful and fun. Would love to read this book!

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  12. Love the male POV in this! And I just adore him for stepping in to try and save her from embarrassment!! It all felt very genuine and sweet. I smiled when he said her nickname before she could. Oh, but this boy's a goner. Well done, Laurel!

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  13. Preyers: thanks so much for coming by and for your encouraging words. This is just a for-fun attempt at male POV, not currently part of a larger work. Glad you found it appealing.

    Carol: Thanks so much. It takes poor Theo quite a while to earn Dani's trust. He's kind of intense.

    Here's Dani's remembrance of their meeting (from WIP-1):
    "He watches me like I’m a lab specimen: the rare Danielleus dorkii in all her geeky glory. I can only imagine the data he’s gathered since his first random appearance at youth group last spring, when Heather got me laughing so hard, I tipped over the snack table."

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  14. That was FANTASTIC! I totally want to read the whole thing. I love his "I come in peace" moment of levity. Thanks for posting--that was a wonderful 5 minutes reading.

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  15. Wonderful scene! Great tension, and I loved your voice. Very well done.
    Merissa

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  16. You have such an engaging voice. You pulled me right in.

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  17. Oh sweet! They both sound like fun characters. I, for one, want to get to know them better!

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  18. Sharon: glad you enjoyed. This was just a stand-alone experiment. The "whole thing" I have is written for art girl's POV.

    Merissa: thanks for your kind words and for becoming a follower!

    Dawn: Thanks! I've never written in a guy's voice before. Very challenging!

    Nisa: Thanks so much for your kind comments and for following. I have several books in process with these two as featured players. I hope Theo sounded religiously ignorant rather than hostile. Church isn't part of his background, but he's curious.

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  19. Wow. What a fun reversal! I loved seeing Dani from the outside. Really!

    Very cool, Laurel. Very cool indeed! :)

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  20. I love the male POV. And I like that your character is such an endearing guy. Great job!

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  21. Simon: I've been nervously waiting to see if you found the voice at all authentic, since you're the first guy to comment.

    It was pretty fun to extrapolate how Dani's suspicion of always being judged might look from the outside. She'd of course have no idea that she uses some of her father's turns of phrase and inflections (or did when he was alive--this is 8-9 months prior to BTL).

    Roni: Many thanks! It was a challenge to get the voice and make it distinct when I've been writing from a female POV for years.

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  22. The only thing I'd say about the voice, if I were critting this for a group meeting, is that you let your literary side bleed through a bit. I can't speak for all guys, but I don't think in terms of simile all that often. I experience things more directly. So, for example, at the end, I might notice the soft grey, but sure wouldn't think of pigeon feathers. I might think, 'Huh. Grey eyes. That's pretty.'

    No matter how poetic I might get in my writing, my everyday experience is usually straight sensory impression. When it comes to people, anyway.

    Er... sorry for the public crit. You kinda asked? :)

    Add generous helpings of salt, as necessary...

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  23. I really liked this character. He was funny and engaging. I also liked his ironic edge and how he couldn't help being drawn to Dani. Great post!

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  24. This is beautifully written with GREAT descriptions-- I love: the line about her laughter tugging on him with the cadence of the rowing team. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the line where he says her name like he would if she were in his arms. Well done! Thanks for sharing!

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  25. Simon: I guess we could go round and round on this topic. Is the "never think in similes" a guy thing or a Simon thing? I did look at a sample of authors on this (including male POV YA written by men) and decided some simile was OK as long as comparisons drew on Theo's experiences as a city kid. Thus pigeons. Not graphite or quartz or smoke or a hundred other ways of describing gray.

    Tara: thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Roxy: Thanks for your kind words and for following.

    Amalia: Thanks for your enthusiastic encouragement. Male POV is hard, but researching rowing lingo was kind of fun.

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  26. Yes, indeed! We could go round and round on this. Which is why our crit group meetings are such fun, eh? ;)

    But you're right that thinking in similes may well be perfectly kosher for some men (just not for Simon). The question is whether it's appropriate for Theo. Is he the kind of guy to think that way?

    It's your question to answer. He's your character, after all. :)

    Either way, I still reeeaaalllly enjoyed seeing Dani from the outside. It's a whole new side of her, and I like it!

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  27. Wow, this was amazing! I loved the voice and the vivid, original descriptions. Great scene! I'd definitely want to read a whole book of that.

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  28. Simon: Right. His psychology isn't yours. The more I delve, the more I want to write him. I'm hearing the siren call of a third book....

    Lena: Many thanks. This was an experiement in male POV, using an existing character from the novel and a eighth I have written from art girl's POV.

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