Monday, January 28, 2013

Talkin' Heads #12

TITLE: Jericho Falls
GENRE: Contemporary Romance

Logan Rutledge has recently returned to the small town where she spent childhood summers. She is photographing a town event when she is confronted by town Queen Bee, Evelyn Johnson.

“Mrs. Johnson, it’s good to see you again. You may not remember me, but I’m. . .”

“I know who you are, young lady. Your grandmother was a member of the Baptist Church.”

“Yes, I remember.”

“But you aren’t. In fact, I haven’t seen you in church once since you showed up here.”

“Ah, no ma’am, I’m not.”

“Why not?”

“Mainly because I’m not a Baptist, ma’am.”

“Perhaps you should explore the grace of the church. You don’t seem to be doing so well on your own.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me. You’ve disgraced your family with your behavior. Some time in God’s house might do you some good.” She sniffed and turned to leave.

“Don’t you walk away. Don’t you dare say something like that and walk away. You don’t know me or my family.”

“I’ve got relatives in Charleston. I know plenty.”

“Then you know rumors and gossip. Where was it I heard something about gossip? Was it in the Bible? Near the front? Help me out. Bearing false witness? I admit my Bible studies could be more diligent.”

“I know what I know. You can twist my words all you want.”

“Which words did I twist? You made an accusation based on gossip. I pointed out that behavior was wrong.”

“I can see why your father disowned you. You are a belligerent child.”

“Gossip. And you tell me to spend time in God’s house? Doesn’t seem to have done much for you, Mrs. Johnson.”


  1. I love this exchange, the whole grouchy old lady, small town thing, etc. All your lines are important and have good elements for exchange, but they are a bit long and formal-sounding for actual conversation. Consider tightening each one. Read them aloud and say what you're saying in about half the words. For example, instead of "Your grandmother was a member of the Baptist church", consider "Your grandmother was Baptist." (or even Baptist, too)

  2. I want to read more, hear more from both of these characters.

  3. I thought you created two distinct personalities here, but I thought you could use little bits of description here and there, to show what the characters might be feeling or how they're acting.

    For instance, at the beginning, Evelyn could be speaking very civilly, in passive agressive mode, or she could be speaking snidely. Logan could also be using a tone that says she's not taking this woman seriously, or she could be very angry. Little bits of description could make those things clearer.

    You might also cut "Ah, no ma'am. I'm not" because she's not answering Evelyn's last question, and it raads smoother without it, I think.

  4. Zing! Love this lady already, for taking on the hypocrite.

    I flew through this exchange. I think you've got the dialogue portion nailed. What I think you could actually use here are more beats, to give us a bit of setting and description. I think of Gone With The Wind--there was a scene where Scarlett took ont he busybody, who left with her feathers jerking, as I recall--such a vivid detail to illuminate a character and a bit of physical description artfully worked in. That's the only thing I think that could make this better. So well done.

  5. A few reaction lines, showing physical movement that reflect's the character's tone and reaction, will help break up some of the dialogue, as suggested above.

  6. I just learn this myself but to indicate an interpution in dialogue you use "-" not the 3 periods.

    Otherwise, I like the two very distict voices. However, I didn't see the build up of anger in the one speaker. Perhaps some discription of their actions or bdoy language.

  7. Thanks everyone! There was a lot of exposition and deep POV that I had to trim out for it to fit the word limit.

    Appreciate your feedback! Every little bit helps.

  8. Strong exchange and nice pacing. As a reader, I am immediately interested in finding out more about the rumors and gossip. What has the narrator been up to in Charleston, if anything? As others indicated, I would have liked a little more description of what is happening around these two characters during this exchange. This will help ground the scene a bit.