I’ll admit, Throwback Thursday is a segment I’ve looked forward to starting all week. Let’s all get on the nostalgia train and go waaay back in my writing ‘career’…for a bit of fun in my creative vault :P
The Outcasts was my first true labor of love. It represents many milestones to me. My entire 7th grade year was devoted to pre-production on an Outcasts movie, and that is how I came to complete my first screenplay at the age of 12. The Outcasts is a 60 page, poorly formatted script about four teenagers at a boarding school. Each nicknamed underdog – Mick, Caramel, MD, and Wit – arrived there due to stressful life circumstances (respectively – divorce, dead parents, the mob, and abusive/criminal parents). Despite the YA melodrama, the characters have much humor and are uplifted through their friendship to each other. Most of the characters were just alter egos of my friends, and the situations were often based on real lunch time conversations.
The movie never happened, of course. But before it was a script, I wrote The Outcasts as a novel. Despite it being incomplete, it was the farthest I got into an original WIP until I was 20 years old.
On some levels, The Outcasts has an authenticity about it – presenting tweens as they really are because it was written by one – that I can consult in later YA projects. But I will probably never revamp this project for publication, as it’s really quite derivative. The market doesn’t need any more tortured, abandoned, teen angst stories!
Still, I mined my email accounts and was happy to find the first seven chapters of that novel. Here is an unaltered excerpt, written when I was 11 years old, of chapter one.
“Two dollars for a glow stick!” I exclaimed. The student who was selling refreshments glared at me. Everything had prices that were outrageous. Soda was half the price of a Henna tattoo.
Mick agreed. “I only have fifty cents on me!” she said.
The music blasting out of the ten foot speakers wasn’t anything I’d normally listen to either. Mostly rap music. Caramel, Mick and I agreed that rock was probably the best. Caramel said she didn’t mind Pop and Mick was an Eighties person.
We spotted M.D. with a slim, dirty blonde girl. She had the eyes that could kill if looks were fatal. I was planning to avoid her.
Caramel let out a low whistle. “Oh….Mary Willams. She’s bad news.”
“Why?” Mick inquired.
“Mary does bad business.” Caramel replied. “It’s no surprise that she’s hanging around M.D.”
“Business?” I asked.
Caramel slumped impatiently. “Like drugs. And raids and hazings. She beats up a lot of people too. But nobody ever tells because she has blackmailed them.”
My jaw dropped. “How can somebody be so horrid?”
Caramel shrugged. “Don’t know. But I think she has parent abuse or something.”
I noticed Mick taking in a breath and looking down. Mick was a mysterious person. She always seemed so tense and so…helpless. Which was really weird because Mick’s biceps are a bit bigger then mine. I could see a fierce person who had probably beaten up people before. Yet something had happened and that warrior hid and an isolated, normal girl came out. Kind of like me, I guess.
“We should steer clear of her.” I told them. “I think ‘Master Dude’ is just misunderstood. Maybe we got off on the wrong foot. Give him another chance?”
Mick smirked. “Oh, we might give him a chance.” Her face softened. “Though, I’m sure you want another boy around…”
I nodded quickly.
“What about Klutz Armstrong?” said Caramel.
I rolled my neck. “Eh…..um….too klutzy.”
“Ryan Feenya?” Mick said.
“Guys! I’ll figure it out myself, okay?”
Caramel looked it bit taken aback. “Fine, it’s your choice. I’m going to go get some pizza.”
“Ditto.” Mick said. “But uh, Caramel?”
“Could you give me some money? I need another dollar and fifty cents.”