Thursday, September 25, 2008

Talkin' Heads #13

TITLE: Unknwon
Genre: Young Adult

CONTEXT: Jen is dating Alexander. She's meeting his father for the first time.

Alex’s father looked nothing like a mob boss. His cheeks were a rosy red, his hair thin and graying, his smile big and toothy—with a single gap in the front. Were it not for the nearest tables packed with eight burly bodyguards, she could be fooled into thinking he was any man meeting his son’s new girlfriend.

“Oh, look at this hair… You are punk rocker!” he announced, thrusting up his forefinger and pinky, pretending to bob his head to music.

“Dad!” Alex cried, bright red.

But Mr. Petrovich just giggled along to his joke. Jen – who’d never expected the menacing mob boss to giggle – started laughing, too.

“It’s her hair color, Dad,” Alex said, flustered.

Jen took pity on him, and grinned so he’d realize she hadn’t been offended. “A lot of people think it’s hair dye.”

“Ah…” Mr. Petrovich leered at her. “You know what they say of red-haired women? They are very passionate. And have very great tempers.”

“Dad…” Alex sputtered.

“Alex’s mother—there was a woman of great temper, too.”

“Dad, come on!”

“This son of mine,” Mr. Petrovich said indulgently, beaming proudly between his embarrassed son and Jen. “My Alex, he is talking of you all summer. Saying this girl is pretty and this girl is making me laugh…”

Jen felt herself flushing this time. Mr. Petrovich chuckled merrily at the discomfort of his companions and raised his drink in salute.


  1. Loved it! I could hear Mr. Petrovich's voice very clearly.

  2. I hear Mr. Petrovich's voice clearly, and I realize that's the point of this exercise.

    But ... my problem is the idea of a mob boss not being Italian.

    I think the Query Shark pointed this out in a query letter the other day about mob members. It may be stereotypical, but it is what people expect.

    Petrovich is not an Italian name. Mob bosses have names that scream I'm from Italy -- Baldassare, Ricci, Matteo, Vacanti, Gotti.

    Their son's names are Michael, Dominic, Sal. Daughters names are Gabriella, Gloria, Maria, Carmelita.

    To see what I'm talking about look up the names of the Little Italy neighborhoods in bigger cities and visit their Web sites to get an idea of what I'm talking about.

    I have lots of Italian characters in my WIP, and you wouldn't believe how helpful something like this is.

    Unless, of course, you're talking about a Hungarian mafia (Russian mob perhap?). That would be the origin of the Petrovich name. Then I'm way off base, and you're right on track.

    Good job!

  3. I had no trouble with the accent, worked great for me.

  4. All the voices were very clear and distinct. This is great!

  5. Works for me. Sounds like a Russian mob boss ;o) Looks fun.

  6. Although I like Mr. Petrovich’s exuberance and larger-than-life personality, I really didn’t notice much in the way of dialect, accent, or unusual ways of speaking. But he does seem like a very unique character.

  7. Nothing really stood out as a particular way of speaking, but I really liked Mr. Petrovich. He seems like a very entertaining character.

  8. I really enjoyed Mr. Petrovich's voice and I could hear a bit of an accent in his speech (especially how he comments on how Alex talked about Jen all the time), and I really liked the contrast between him and Alex. Nice job!


    P.S. For some reason I kept expecting the POV to be first person for Jen, so a few uses of her name threw me, but this is completely a loose wire in my head. ;)

  9. I think you've painted a great picture of Mr. Petrovich here and his voice came out really well in the dialogue. Well done.

  10. The conversation was great and I liked Mr. Petrovich's voice. I just didn't understand the beginning--how his description made him not look like a mob boss.

  11. I agree with goldenchevy in that his description wasn't uniquely un-mob like. Maybe describe his clothing (make him preppy or something else un-mob-ish). Or, describe a mob character by saying Mr. P DIDN'T have slicked back salt n'pepper hair, a pinky ring and jogging suit instead he had...

    Loved his voice though. Good job with that accent.

  12. Thank you guys so much!

    Mr. Petrovich -is- meant to be Russian.

    The 'not looking like a mob boss' thing was my mistake-- a cut from another section where Jen speculates about what a mob boss will probably look like.

    Thanks also for the comments re: the accent. I tried to base it on an old Russian teacher of mine.