Random Inspirations

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Shaking it Up With Some Middle Grade Fiction

on November 29, 2012

I’ve finally (sort of) recovered from my Thanksgiving turkey coma and ensuing week of pure laziness…just in time to share my brand-new short story with you!

I usually write YA (Young Adult) fiction, but for the recent Writer’s Digest Short Short Story competition, I decided to shake it up a bit with an MG (Middle Grade) entry. MG readers fall between the ages of eight and twelve; they’re the adorable younger siblings of my usual readers.

There are some notable differences between YA and MG fiction. In MG, the stories revolve around problems as usual, but the problems are proportionally smaller, cuter, and more light-hearted than the more serious themes pervading YA fiction. Also, MG fiction is usually narrated in the third person. (i.e. “She did this,” as opposed to the usual YA first person, “I did this.”) As a child, I wrote my stories in third person, but as I grew up I leaned more and more heavily toward first person. It’s super-fun to return back to third person narration for a change!

One Last Chance to Dance centers around Arianna, a fourth grade girl who loves dancing more than just about anything. Her heart’s desire is to become the star of the spring dance recital, but it won’t be easy. She has to compete against Meredith, the class egomaniac who’s also the dance teacher’s niece. Plus, the girls must dance with boys during their try-outs, and Arianna’s uncooperative and annoying partner just might mess everything up!

Here’s an excerpt. What better way to rekindle your inner child this holiday season than by reading a little MG fiction? Or share it with an elementary school girl you know:) Look for the next excerpt coming soon!

Arianna took a deep breath. It was her big day: tryouts for the lead in the fourth grade jazz dance recital…and she was up next.           

Meredith was auditioning now. The bright overhead lights illuminated her bouncy ringlets, and she finished with a snooty smile. Everyone clapped as Meredith bowed dramatically.

“Good luck, Arianna,” Meredith said snidely as she flounced past and joined the other girls sitting on the glossy hardwood floor. “You’ll need it.”

“Just keep telling yourself that,” Arianna said, ignoring the butterflies doing plies in her stomach. She twirled to center stage, her long ponytail, silver hair ribbons, and favorite pink skirt swirling around her.

As the jaunty jazz number started, Arianna forgot about Meredith, the judges, and even her nerves, and became one with the music. She’d practiced the dance routine so much that it had become part of her. She whirled, leapt, and pirouetted, adding her unique flair to the routine that ten other girls had already performed. She finished with a flourish, and everyone except Meredith burst into thunderous applause. Arianna grinned. She loved dancing more than just about anything.

“That was awesome!” Arianna’s friend Bethany said. “You’ll be the lead for sure!”

But the judges’ opinion was all that mattered, and at that moment, they were talking intensely. Finally, Ms. Indyk faced the class. “Great job, girls!” she exclaimed. “I was impressed with all of you. In fact, we couldn’t pick our lead today! We will hold another audition next week, and four of you will have one more chance to dance.”

Who have they narrowed it down to? Arianna wondered, biting her lower lip. Hopefully me…but definitely Meredith.There was no way Meredith would be passed over. She was Ms. Indyk’s niece, after all.

“And our lucky girls are…Emily…Katie…Meredith…and Arianna!” Ms. Indyk said. “Your second audition will be a partner dance. Next class, you will rehearse with the boys from intermediate jazz!”

Arianna groaned, then clapped her hand over her mouth as Ms. Indyk frowned at her. She hated boy-girl activities. The boys in the jazz class were probably just like the annoying boys from school. They’d be stinky and grimy, and they’d probably tease her.

Uuuughh, Arianna thought. Dancing with boys will be a nightmare!



2 responses to “Shaking it Up With Some Middle Grade Fiction

  1. Cute! Middle grade is always so much fun to read, and I love dancing…even though I’m no good at it. 🙂

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