Saturday, February 26, 2011

short story - THE YA CLICHE

15 minute writing workshop exercise:
Write the most cliche-ridden story possible.

My Half-Elf Heart Belongs to Henry

The axe swung at my head, and I ducked mere milliseconds before it could cleave my neck in twain. The demonic fairy knight snarled at me in some forgotten, diabolic tongue. Little did he know that I was The Chosen One, a girl bred of humans, elves, and fairies, hidden as a changeling in a poor human orphanage until the day was ripe for my ascension. When I had first read the letter from wizard high school last week, I couldn't believe my bright green eyes. I had a destiny, and it involved killing demon fairies like the one currently looming over me. With a cry of triumph, my anointed and holy sword swung through the smokey air, lopping his foul, leering face from his body.

"You've been served!" I cried.

And that's when I woke up.

God, my dreams were, like, ten thousand times better than my waking life.

Orphanage? Chosen one? Wizard high school?

Bright green eyes?

I wished.

No, I was a normal if klutzy girl in a boring, messy, suburban bedroom, which still carried vestiges of my youth that would probably make me a laughingstock, if Chelsea Worthington and her gaggle of wannabe followers ever found out. If word got out that I still had a poster of a kitten dangling from a tree branch, there's no way I'd be able to "Hang in there!" any longer.

But since my mom had died a few months ago, I just hadn't been able to bring myself to take down anything she'd chosen or even touched. I missed her so much, but my dad was too busy being the town police chief to notice that his only daughter was having problems. My good grades were slipping, my best friend was barely talking to me, and I was having trouble concentrating at my job at the hospital.

It was mostly because of the new kid. Henry Mullins. He had just started at my school, and he was my chem lab partner, even though he inexplicably hated me.

And, speaking of Henry, it was time to get ready to go to school and sleepwalk through my classes, waiting to see him and feel that odd, otherworldly pull he exuded like other guys leaked Drakkar Noir. Something about him spoke to me, and I liked what it said, even if I didn't really understand it.

I looked in the mirror and rubbed my mud-brown eyes. My skin was so pale that I looked like an albino lizard's half-breed albino baby, and my dark hair surrounded my heart-shaped face in a gypsy-like cloud. But my ears weren't even a little bit pointy, and I wasn't even a little bit special. The dream would never come true. I wasn't a half-elf. I was just half-Jewish.

The bell rang, and I looked down. No matter how hard I tried to focus on my French exam, my thoughts kept drifting across the room to Henry, who had already finished and was just glaring at me like I was his favorite kind of pizza and/or heroin. All the girls had a crush on him, but he ignored them all. In our straight-laced school, he stood out. From his long hair, to his fast motorcycle, to his stylish clothes that seemed cut exactly for his chiseled body, he was different. If my ears weren't pointy, his teeth definitely were. And in my dreams, he sometimes made an appearance as my half-elf, half-angel, half-vampire savior.

But in school, he was just my lab partner. He was unattainable, and he hated me. But not even Henry's otherworldly powers could stop me from dreaming.


Martina said...

"Something about him spoke to me, and I liked what it said, even if I didn't really understand it."

I'd just like to point out that I really, really love this line. It's so funny, but it kinda rings true at the same time. I remember feeling like that. :)

amber d* said...

Ha! I was cracking up from the demon fairy slaying to the part about Henry.

I really like this exercise. I'm going to try it tonight!

Delilah S. Dawson said...

Thanks, Martina! I think that's why YA is so enticing-- it often captures the "I don't understand what's going on, but IT FEELS SO INTENSE" emotions of that age.

Even with vampires.

And Amber, totally do it! We all read our work afterward, and it was amazing to hear just how many cliches were covered and how different each piece was.

One even began, "It was a dark and stormy night..."


jarvenpa said...

But you left out the fact that Henry's skin inexplicably sparkled with a faint, otherworldly glitter as he brushed his long black hair from his noble brow.

Delilah S. Dawson said...

It's jarvenpa FTW! That's why she reads all my books before the "real world." Sometimes, I forget the glitter. =)