Sunday, February 7, 2010


In Gae Polisner’s 2011 debut YA novel, THE PULL OF GRAVITY, main character Nick Gardner and Jaycee Amato, a girl who has newly befriended him, engage in a bit of Teen Voice dialogue below. Jaycee has invited Nick to her stepdad’s gaudy mansion where they now play shuffleboard in the backyard.

Notice that the narrator is Nick himself.

This first-person approach requires a highly skilled writer and places the entire book in Teen Voice. Gae also uses present-tense. A further challenge for the adept writer, present-tense infuses both action and voice with a strong sense of immediacy.

    Excerpt, PULL OF GRAVITY
         by Gae Polisner.

We walk to the courts, and I sit on a bench on the sidelines. “Okay, Gardner, blue or red?” She clangs the disk carrier down next to me.

“Blue.” I gather my four and head to the far side of the court.

I beat her two games to one without a single word about The Scoot being mentioned, before I demand we stop and sit again, so she can fill me in. Besides, it’s starting to get dark. As if on cue, the lights surrounding the court switch on.

“Did you do that?” I ask.

She shakes her head. “Sensors. Timers. Thousands of dollars of essential, recreational electricity.”

“Right,” I laugh.

“So, you didn’t tell me you were a ringer.” She sits next to me, so close that her knee touches mine. I can’t stop looking at it there. I shove my hands in my pockets, and she pulls her hood up and her sleeves down over her fingers and shivers. It’s officially fall. You can feel the sudden chill in the air.

Up close like this in the bright, artificial lights, I can see Jaycee’s eyes and something I hadn’t noticed before. Her right eye has a pale gold ring around it, between the pupil and the ice blue iris, so that her eyes appear two different colors.

“Weird, I know,” she says, winking the left eye shut, and then the right one. “They’re totally different depending on the light.” I turn bright red. I didn’t know she’d feel me staring.

“They’re cool.” I pick at a spot on my jeans. “I just never saw ones like that before.”


ali said...

Cool! Can't wait :)

gae polisner said...

I know, right!? Are you losing sleep? I aplogize if you are. If you want to email me privately, i'll give you a small preview. ;) said...

Sorry for the wait. Part II, here chiz. ./Randy

Megan said...

Great writing. Love it. Good work Gae.

gae polisner said...

Did someone notify Ali? I'm worried she hasn't slept? ;)

Thanks, Megan. The thing about writing is, I have already edited this excerpt three times since Randy first posted it (he loves me, I'm sure). Took out a total of three (3!) ings. I know you can appreciate this. I think especially in teen voice, the crisp, clean writing is essential. Of course, an ability to stop editing at some point is also essential. I'll let you know when I get there.

Tracy Walshaw said...

Love it! :) and yes, we are some editing fools. (no, I can't say that enough). :D

Megan said...

I hate ings. :)