Monday, January 28, 2013

Talkin' Heads #25

GENRE: YA Dystopian

Evva, a Healer-in-training who has just moved to a new section of the Healing Center, is caught stitching a patient’s leg. Leader Grantt, her supervisor, is prejudiced against her and other lower caste society members.

“What was that?” he demands.

I blink in surprise. “The man’s leg was crushed,” I finally answer. “No one else was available and the bleeding would have killed him before—“

Leader Grantt’s words cut mine off. “We have procedures.” He draws the last word out as his eyes flash. “Where is his paperwork?” he asks.

“Paperwork?” The question catches me off guard.

“Did they fill out the entrance paperwork? Does he have a form of release?”

My mouth opens silently as I try to think of something to say.

“You are not even a full Healer,” he says.

“No, but I helped with many procedures—“

His words slice through mine again. “That was before.”

There is my life. Summed up in three words.

Anger spikes through my blood and I draw myself up. “So I was supposed to just let a man die?” Now my eyes are on fire.

“He’s not a man; he’s a Null.” Leader Grantt’s ready response knocks the wind from my lungs. There are no words to reject the unfairness of what he has just said.

My voice is soft. “I am a Healer. And I do not let men die when I can Heal them.”

“You are not a Healer,” he responds, stepping closer so I have to look up to see his face. His breath is hot on my cheeks. “You are a Solo and you are under my authority. Pull something like this again, and I will have you Changed.”


  1. I really like the interplay here. Even though this is obviously a different society the prejudice and struggle with seniority is familiar and easy to relate with.

    I think the scene could use a little tightening up, though. I would suggest cutting out even more exposition. Go through and ask yourself if anything that's not dialogue is slowing down the scene. For example, try cutting out "Anger spikes through my blood and I draw myself up." and "Now my eyes are on fire." You lose description, but the increased pace of the scene gives you the tension you need.

    Also, I would really consider your reasons for making the story present tense. If you liked it Hunger Games, but don't have a specific literary reason for why it works best in your story it might not be the way to go.

  2. This flows really well. I wish had some feedback to help you out, but it looks good to me.

  3. I strongly say you should keep "Anger spikes through my blood" and "Now my eyes are on fire."

    However, some of the dialog tags are slowing things down. Since you already established that Grantt interrupts her, you don't need "His words slice through mine again." "ready response" could simply be "words." And the last one could be "He steps closer, so . . ."

    Also, some sensory detail could help. I don't know if you already mentioned the smell of the blood or bad flesh, but something like that rivets the attention.

  4. "There is my life. Summed up in three words." -This is a very powerful sentence, it made me stop and go -oh wow.

    I love the interplay between these two characters: her getting the nerve to stand up to Leader Grantt and him shooting her down again.

    Some of the tags do slow the dialogue down and I would like some description of what they are doing. Are her hands bloody? Is there a smell to the room they are in? Example:
    I blink in surprise but continue to wash the blood from my hands. "The man's leg was crushed," I finally answer.

  5. I like this scene. In 250 words you did a nice job giving the reader a sense of this world and its rules.