Thursday, September 25, 2008

Talkin' Heads #15

Title: Promise of a Stranger
Genre: Literary/Mainstream

Step-Up: Heather, the MC, is sitting in the sandbox with her four-year-old son. She's trying to get him to tell her what they were doing that morning.

I tried not to laugh, but I couldn’t help but find humor in my son owning a plastic cow with superpowers and anorexia. “Does Supercow have any other special tricks?”

Elias didn’t answer.

I wiggled my toes, and he whacked the collapsing sand around my feet with a plastic shovel. “Where’d you go with Nick this morning?”


Raising an eyebrow, I pressed him for more information on why I awoke in only the company of his nanny and the housekeeper. “Shopping? For what?”

“Can’t tell you,” he said. “It’s a secwet.”

Elias’ happy singsong told me he had a good time. As the only father my son had ever known, he and Nick had an inseparable bond cemented through a mutual love of baseball and fast cars.

“Nick’s your hero. Isn’t he?”

“He pwomised to take me to Bear Pawrk tomorrow aftew dinnew.”

Restraining a smile, I wiggled my toes again. "You mean Berra Park?"

“That’s what I said – Bear Pawrk,” Elias grumbled.

The movement of my feet caused a pint-sized avalanche that drew a low growl from him. He glared at my slowly building laughter. “Can you see my cwabby? It’s getting bumpy.”

The name he had given to his – or any other – forehead furrowed in irritation nourished my humor until my shaking body eked an apology, but Nick’s entrance through the iron gates of the garden diverted his attention.


  1. Cute! I loved it, but I had a little difficult with the concept of 'cwabby.' Otherwise, very good.

  2. Pawrk tripped me up... I couldn't figure out how I'd say that quite aloud, I had to try it out, but I couldn't do it witout putting another vowel in there... like Pawark. The combo of wrk just seems a bit complex for usual kidlet talk.

    Otherwise, worked fine for me.

  3. This is really cute, and I love the child's voice. The only thing I would watch is the inconsistency with him being unable to pronounce his R's in most words, but then he has no trouble with tomorrow.

  4. Kate,

    I noticed I missed a couple "r"s after I sent it ... at 3 minutes before the deadline.


  5. Cwabby tripped me up a bit too. Other than that, it read very much like a little kid speaking.

  6. Not bad. I can tell the characters apart and it's cute.

  7. Very cute voice for the child—authentic and honest as only a four-year-old can manage. And definitely spot-on with the bit about the park—kids hear what they want to hear and that’s that. My only caution (not a dialogue response) is that there’s a lot of Telling from your MC’s POV (specifically the parts explaining why Nick is Elias’ hero and the forehead thing)—they might be told better in dialogue.

    I did LOVE that opening bit about the cow with anorexia. Very unique and funny!!!

  8. Aww, it's very cute! :D I had no problem understanding who was talking, and the "r"s are easily fixed. ;) (So that didn't distract me.)

    I LOVED Supercow, by the way. ;) LOL. Made me laugh! Nice job.


  9. I got a little stuck on 'pawrk' too, but pawark would work I think. Otherwise it was a lovely cameo.
    'Supercow' is inspired!

  10. I get what you're doing here, but I found the
    speech, slowed the reading. Once the reader knows the character is a small child, you don't need to emphasise the accent so much.

    I hope you don't use this speech to often through the book.

  11. I thought this was really funny and cute. I love the boys difficulties with "r." "L" is another one I've noticed kids have trouble with.

  12. I think Elias' trouble with r's is an authentic character trait for a four year old. But, I do agree that some of those w's stopped me in my tracks, as a reader. Even though I knew he was four.

    You could really play around with the way you type the r-less words out...


    Just a thought.