Writing Communities and The First Draft

I have written a lot in the past week. I've finished a draft of the story I mentioned earlier, the one where my protagonist changed genders on me. I wouldn't have worked so hard on it had it not been for my friend, Rae, who gave me a firm deadline of when she wanted to see the story. I owe her one. I don't know how any writer makes it without a community to cheer her on and help her sort through ideas. I'm so very grateful for my community in AZ. We're losing our punk novelist to Chicago but that' okay. We'll be in touch with her through the internet.

The last time I met with this group, we talked briefly about writing sex scenes. I've done it when I was assigned to do so in a class, and I feel pretty lame making that admission. The question is why not write more about sex? Anyway, I pushed myself to explore sexuality in this story more than I have in the past. Here's an excerpt of the draft:

It must be, DeAnn thought, that her sister was not a sexy thirteen. Not like she'd been the year before. She gathered this by the way the boys in gold chains paused to look up and down at Crystal then turned hugely away. DeAnn had warned Crystal about her little girl hairdos. That day, her sister wore her hair in an afro puff, which sat like a geranium on the crown of her head. "Not cute," DeAnn had told her. Crystal said that DeAnn's straightened flip, which swept down over one of DeAnn's eyes, made her look, quote, "extra cheap."

DeAnn was not insulted, was never insulted, by Crystal's assessment of her especially when the boys in chains were turning to glance at DeAnn again. DeAnn was cute. Boys liked her because she was cute. Boys wanted to have sex with her. She liked sex. She'd had sex at least a dozen times, maybe two dozen times. These encounters happened in basements, swimming pools, in wooded fields, at the mall, or in cars if the boys could drive. She couldn't explain how amazing it felt to be with a boy in an unlikely place then go home to eat dinner with her mother and sister. It felt the way Christmas felt before you knew. It felt like someone outh there thought you were special. Sometimes, before she did it, DeAnn thought she migh explode into a cloud of atomes from anticipation. But afterwards, as she'd pull on her jeans, she never felt special. She felt nothing. Mostly she felt alone.

The boys were still checking her out when DeAnn looked over at them. They stood near the school staircase, a huddle of backpacks, chains, sneakers. DeAnn and Crystal had not gone to public school in years, since Crystal was in second grade and DeAnn in third, so when they walked through the doors of Edward Bigley High that morning, DeAnn was holding her breath trying to feel how her body was different from the jangle of sounds and rhythms she would join. This was her father's idea that the girls attend a "regular" high school.

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