Favorite Scene by Donna

This week the Muses share favorite scenes from our own writing.

When I first thought about this week's topic, a scene from SKINNY instantly popped into my mind. I love this particular interaction because it makes me smile and because I think the dialogue reveals the characters in exactly the way I'd hoped. Unfortunately, it comes very close to the end of the book and I'm afraid it might be a bit of a spoiler.

So, I had to go with my second choice.

The first chapter of SKINNY is one of my personal favorite pieces of writing. The whole scene poured out on the paper in a rush of sentences and phrases, completely surprising me with the emotion. I felt like it was waiting there in my head for that exact moment in time to put it down on paper, and that scene has stayed almost exactly the same, word for word, from the first moment I wrote it until the final edits. I remember reading it aloud to Katy and Talia in a hotel room in LA for the very first time. It was a good thing they had the printed words in front of them so they could actually follow along because I could hardly get through the pages, my voice cracking with emotion. I had to stop and gasp for breath every few sentences, hyperventilating, but when I finished reading I knew by their reaction it was something worth continuing.

So here's an excerpt from one of my favorite scenes from SKINNY:

Jackson turns to laugh at something Whitney says about a party last weekend. I push on. Look ahead. Anticipate space available. The back row always fills up first, but I’m usually here early enough to snag a seat. Not today. Scan the room. Is there space for me? Somewhere? One desk left. It’s the kind with the desktop that snaps down over your stomach. Only it won’t snap down over my stomach. I’ll leave the desk up, but then I’ll have to balance my notebook and books in my lap. A lap that really doesn’t exist.

“You’ll drop things. Things you won’t be able to pick up. People will stare and giggle and point. You will be noticed. Do you really want that?”

I look around the room once more. No other choice. I slide into the chair, my bottom falling over both sides of the seat. I put my book bag on the floor beside me and carefully hook the strap over one arm. I can’t let it fall. If it falls then everything will be out of my reach for the rest of class. I pull the strap up until I can manage to reach inside. I rummage around, looking for a pen and notebook. Pulling them out, I try not to make much noise. I don’t want anyone’s attention. I rest the notebook awkwardly on my stomach and try to turn to today’s blank page. Finally, I’m ready. Everything is hard.

The teacher looks toward me.

“Look at the pity in his eyes.”

I guess that’s better than the disdain I see in most of the teachers’ eyes and the outright fear I see from most other kids. Fear that it could happen to them.

“Look. She can’t even fit in the chair.”

Skinny doesn’t have to whisper that in my ear. I can hear it plainly. Kristen Rogers doesn’t even lower her voice. She is wearing a little pink tank top with the glittery word “Juicy” across the boobs. People think being fat somehow affects your hearing.

“I didn’t know pants came in that size,” Kristen says. “Maybe I should go on a diet. I told you my jeans were getting tight.”

“Don’t worry. You’ll never look like that,” her petite best friend Brittney responds. I know she’s right. Neither one of them will ever look like me. I don’t know why, but I know it’s true...

Mr. Blair gets the class back on track, and I try to concentrate on algebra. Skinny is quiet at my ear. Good. If I stay very still, maybe I can stop the whispering.

Chance Lehmann, his rich ebony hair curling wildly out from underneath the New York Yankees baseball cap he has pulled low over his eyes, slides into the chair across from me. He’s ten minutes late. Early for him. I shake my head at him when he meets my eyes, but one side of my mouth creeps up in a half smile. Chance has that effect on people. His mouth twists down in a grimace, his puppy-dog brown eyes fake sad, and then he waves a hand briefly in hello. His skin is a dark honey color. The better to notice the sparkling purple fingernail polish on his hands.

“You like?” He holds his hands out toward me, palms down. “It’s called Jammin’ Jelly.”

I look to see if Mr. Blair is paying attention, but he’s talking to someone in the front row about their homework. “Do your toes match?” I whisper across the aisle.

“Of course. I’m completely in touch with my feminine side.” Chance grins at me, fanning his face with one purple-painted hand. That might be true, but he’s also “completely in touch” with a baseball and can pitch an amazing curveball that will buy his way into any university he wants to attend, painted toenails and all. “You should try it, Ever. A mani/pedi is exactly what you need.”

“You can paint a pig, but it’s still a pig,” Skinny whispers in my ear.

I frown at Chance and turn toward the front of the room again. Mr. Blair calls a couple of students to the board to work on some problems. Panic rises in my chest. Don’tcallonme. Don’tcallonme. The idea of squeezing through the aisle to display my backside to the whole room’s comments makes me start to breathe hard.

“Ever Davies,” the teacher calls out. “Will you tackle problem number seventeen?”

It isn’t a request. I’m trapped. Inside and outside my body. I push my way out of the chair, which clings to me like a big inner tube, and start back up the aisle.

Kristen Rogers rolls her eyes at Whitney.

“Oh my god. Here you come again,” Skinny jeers.

I’m fifteen years old, and I weigh 302 pounds.


This scene broke my heart. I'm already invested in Ever's story (and I know I'm going to love Chance). Beautiful!

I remember that reading in LA so clearly, Donna! I think we all choked up. And may I just say again how thrilled I am that now the rest of the world can read it, too.

Donna, I just added Skinny to my Amazon wish list, so I won't forget to order it. That scene was breathtaking.

This is one of my favorite scenes too, Donna. Everything about it is so perfectly tuned, and it's both endearing and heartbreaking. Love love love! Makes me want to reread SKINNY right now.

Although I wasn't Ever's weight at that age, I had a hard time seeing myself as what I was. I wasn't skinny, slender, trimmed or any of that. Fat is what I saw, and I can understand all to well where Ever is coming from.

All too well.

I feel like I'm there in the classroom. Wonderful! And, yes, heartbreaking. So looking forward to reading the book.

Hello! Now I'm more eager than ever to read your book, Donna! Like PB said, I am in that classroom with her.

Thanks everyone for your wonderfully supportive comments

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