WIP Wednesdays (2): Dancing Through Life

As I mentioned in my first WIP, Dancing Through Life is in the process of undergoing a major rewrite. I'm cutting out a lot of the overly dramatic soap opera-esque scenes that I thought were fantastic when I originally wrote them, and made a huge plot change that I'm finally going to reveal.

Here it is.

Chloe's dad isn't going to die. (GASP!)
I know, I know. But after thinking long and hard about it, I've decided that Chloe is going to have a long time boyfriend/dance partner named Ty, who dies months previous to when the book begins. I feel like this will be a way to further develop Chloe and her relationship later on with Jake. It'll be harder for him to win her over!

Also, I want to delve further into Jake's childhood and his father. Make him more rounded out and realistic.

I'm really excited as to how it's coming along so far. I really do believe these changes are going to make a world of a difference. And the writing itself is a lot stronger, I feel. I began this book when I was thirteen years old, and I'm so excited to begin this new chapter with Dancing Through Life.

Word Count as of the last WIP: 10,688
Current Word Count: 16,449

My next goal: Surpass 25k by the end of my spring break, i.e. April 24th.

For now, here's a piece of chapter one of the new DTL. I've love for you to tell me what you think in the comments!

It’s funny how quickly circumstances can change. How one second, I feel like I’m diving head first into my dream. How I’ve never wanted anything more in my whole life except this one chance. This one opportunity to become the best dancer I can be. Then, in another millisecond, the moment I here the words, he’s gone, I’m so sorry, everything just stops. Suddenly, that dream doesn’t matter anymore. In fact, it means nothing. Because he’s not here with me, to share all the excitement. I want to turn back time, go back to before I took that leap. But I can’t, because once you jump, there’s no going back.

"I'm not going." I say, fists clenched at my sides, looking around at the cluttered mess that surrounds me. "I'm not."

"You're already packing," my best friend, Mandy, replies. "And this…" she holds up my acceptance letter to the New York School of Performing Arts, "…is why. You're going because you're talented and you will be knocking the socks off of every Broadway producer alive when you get out of this program and you're on an official audition. This is the proof that you're going to be a fantastic dancer.”

“The thing is, I don’t dance anymore. Never. Nada. Don’t you get it?” I cross my arms over my chest and fall back onto my bed.

“Right,” Mandy says sarcastically, rolling her hazel eyes. “I know you miss it. Don’t even deny it. Plus, just think, you’ll have the story to go with your auditions. 'My boyfriend died in a car accident and he is my inspiration to be the best dancer I can be.' Chloe, you have to dance. You were born for it. It's all that you've known."

"Except Ty," I reply. "And he's not here. It's been five months, Mandy."

"I know, and look where you are. If I were in your situation, I wouldn't even be going. I would have tried to get the application fee back. NYSPA would have understood your situation."

“If you wouldn’t do this, why are you pushing it on me?” I snap.

Mandy sighs, exasperated, and twirls her copper-colored hair with her fingers. “Because you deserve this opportunity. And I know for a fact that this is what Ty would want for you. Don’t even deny it.”

My hand shoots up to the ballet slipper pendant around my neck. Even though I stopped dancing, I never take off this gift from Ty. I finger the pendant and close my eyes, letting the lost memories of Ty, my boyfriend of two years, come back to me.

He should be with me right now. This isn’t how it was supposed to happen. I was supposed to have the summer of a lifetime in New York City dancing with my boyfriend.

I remember the last time we danced together. We were at the studio all day, recording our audition videos that were to be sent to NYSPA. We could spend hours at that studio together without a dull moment…

When the music ended, I sat in my split. My breathing was as heavy as if I had just climbed Mount Everest. In the mirrored walls I saw my smiling reflection. I saw the sweat that had formed at the nape of my neck. I put my heart and soul into that dance, and in return it took everything I had left in me. I’d worked on that lyrical dance for weeks, months, to make it perfect. This audition was an opportunity of a lifetime, and I was not going to let it slip through my fingers.

“Chloe. That was…wow. I still can’t get over watching you dance. You never cease to amaze me,” he said. He threw the camera down and held his hand out to me. I took it, and he pulled me up to him, wrapping his arms around my waist.

“Ty! I’m all gross right now,” I said, trying to pull away from his grasp. He kissed me anyway, even though he knew I was all sweaty and hot. His hands slid down my arms and around my waist, pulling me into him.

Immediately, I eased up. I wrapped my arms around his neck, closing the space between us. It was amazing the effect he still had on me. Two years, and every kiss still felt like the first.

I broke the kiss. “Hey, it’s your turn now.” I brushed his disheveled black hair out of his warm brown eyes. “Get dancing, buddy.”

“Fine, but I was getting to that, you know,” he said, yelling over the song that was currently booming through the speakers. Before I knew what was happening, he grabbed my hand and started leading me into one of those silly, unprepared dances that we were so well known for. I was enveloped in a series of progressive turns and complex footwork, ending in a dip. I laughed at how silly this was, but then remembered we had to get back down to business. We only had so much time at the studio before classes started.

“Come on, Ty. We have to make your video!” I said with assertion.

“Okay, okay,” he said. He took his mix CD off the table and put it in the stereo. Our eyes locked for a moment, and I knew we were both thinking the same thing. That we wished we could just send an audition video in together. Only individuals were allowed to audition for this program. It was too bad. Ty was good. I was good. But together, we were fantastic.

He put together a hip hop/break-dancing piece for his audition. It rocked. Watching him dance was one of the greatest things I’d ever seen. He was always so in sync, his body and the music moving as one.

My lip trembles as I desperately attempt to hold back the tears that want to form. Memories of him always come rushing back and hit me at the worst moments. Just when I feel like I’m getting by, like I can begin to move on, all these little things about him will come back to me, and I’ll find myself choking back sobs all over again.

I look over to the mirror on my bureau and see my reflection. The black eyeliner that’s usually used to accent my bright blue eyes is smudged because I can’t hold back the tears. Permanent bags have formed under my eyes from the constant lack of sleep. My blonde hair is thrown up in a frizzy bun, pieces of it sprawling out everywhere. I am a mess.

Mandy sees the look on my face and immediately wraps me in a hug. She towers over me at five-eight, while I’m a mere five-two. I bury my face into her chest and start sobbing.

“I miss him so much,” I cry into her shoulder. “I—I thought it would get easier as time went on. It doesn’t.”

“I know,” Mandy says sympathetically. By now, she’s used to dealing with my emotional breakdowns. I break away from Mandy’s embrace, mindlessly grabbing the first articles of clothing I see and throwing them in my bag.

My parents think that shipping me off to New York for the summer will be good for me. They think I need to experience new things, meet new people, and try to ‘move forward.’ What they don’t understand is that I’m done with dance. I quit.

Why doesn’t anyone believe me when I say this?

“Bring this skirt. It’s really cute.” Mandy interrupts my thoughts, throwing a denim miniskirt in my direction. “Match it with this shirt—” she throws a pink flowing tank top “—and these shoes, and you’ll be the cutest girl on campus,” she says, holding up my pair of white wedges.

“Whatever,” I mutter, throwing the combo in my bag.

“Chloe, snap out of it already. Most people would die for the opportunity and talent you have. And you’re going whether you like it or not, right?”

I shrug, replying, “I guess so.”

“So stop whining and at least attempt to have a decent summer. No one is asking you to jump right back into dance full force. We don’t expect that. Go slow. Or at least delude yourself into thinking that it’s just a summer in New York City away from your parents and embrace the freedom that comes with it. God, Chloe, just live again. Please.” Her eyes plead with me.

I shrug off her comment. She sighs, and then eyes the pile of books in my ‘need to bring’ pile. I’ve been doing a lot of reading these past few months. It’s my coping mechanism of choice, a perfect way to escape my own pain and get lost somewhere else. Places that, unlike the real world, have happy endings.


I hope you liked it!


Anonymous said...

Eep! So exciting!

onions said...

-gasps- !!!

Paige said...

Love it! This is even a bigger twist than what I read before :)

The Divine Writer said...

I think it's coming along, Marisa! You do have to work in some action as well. For example, when Mandy starts blabbing on about the "story to go with the audition" thing, you might have to split that up with some more conversation or thoughts from Chloe. It seemed like it is too long of a paragraph. I know Mandy might go on and on, but if you want to keep that, maybe have chloe say to herself, "I hate it when she goes on like that. Especially about Ty."
Get it?