Monday, January 28, 2013

Talkin' Heads #35

TITLE: Kasmir
GENRE: MG Fantasy

When 12 year old Liz was telling a story to her little sister, Anna, she was sucked into her own fantasy world, bringing Anna and her older brother, Kyle, with her.

“Wait,” Kyle interrupted. “You’re telling me that you based characters in your little fantasy story on real people?”

I nodded, afraid he was making the connection.

“And you thought that I had become one of your characters?”

I shrugged noncommittally.

Realization struck. A look of fury came over Kyle’s face.

“You made me the bad guy!” he shouted.

“Not necessarily the bad guy,” I tried to sound reassuring. “There are...other bad guys too.”

Kyle was not placated. “I can’t believe this! You made up this whole fantasy world and made me your villain. And told it to Anna!”

“Well, I never actually told Anna you were the bad guy, that’s just kind of how I pictured it in my head.”

“Oh thanks, that makes me feel a lot better.” He seethed for a minute then took another look at my outfit. His eyes narrowed. “And who, exactly, are you supposed to be?”

“I’m the, uh—I’m the guard. I was the princess’s guard.”

Not quite accurate, but I had an angry teenager on my hands. Now was not the time for absolute truths. Kyle wasn’t fooled.

“You’re the hero,” he said flatly. “Great, so I’m the freakin’ bad guy and you’re the hero. What do you do, read the enemies to death?”

“No,” I huffed, “in this world I have many skills, I’m a great warrior, I -”

“Let Anna get kidnapped.”

“Well, I...I was...” tears welled up in my eyes.

“Take out your sword,” Kyle said abruptly.


  1. Love this. Kyle and Liz feel very real and his anger comes across quite well. I like how sees trough her fib and the ending leaves me wanting more.

  2. Love this too! Really snappy believable dialogue about an unbelievable thing (which is what good MG fantasy should do, right?)
    My only comment would be to leave out a few words/descriptions towards the beginning of this excerpt. We don't need them, it's all there in the conversation:
    2) Realization struck.
    3) I tried to sound reassuring.

  3. Really good! This pulled me right in and read smooth and fast. I can already see that Kyle has a temper, and Liz maybe a tad selfish, so I enjoyed getting a sense of their personalities so quickly. My only suggestion would to use a word other than "placated." Would middle graders understand what that means?

  4. Love the concept, and this excerpt pulled me right in. Great pacing and Kyle, especially, sounds very authentic.

    I agree with the deletions suggested by Alice. Also, I'm no expert on MG, but there were a few places where Liz sounded older than 12 to me. "Placated" and "seethed" are not words I would associate with a viewpoint character that age. "I had an angry teenager on my hands" sounds more like something an adult would think/say, although it could also work from a precocious pre-teen.

    I wish I could read more.

  5. Ooh, I'm a fan of this! Super fun and I'd love to read more. :D

    One small nit pick, consider combining these two para into one: "Realization struck. A look of fury came over Kyle’s face. You made me the bad guy!” he shouted.

    Also, I agree with Rebecca that "I had an angry teenager on my hands" sounds more like something an adult would say.

    Other than that, I REALLY enjoyed this.

  6. I can't add much to this. I do like it - concept-wise especially. But I do think some of it is written a little above what I would expect from a MG MC. Just my opinion.

  7. Not sure what I can add either! This flowed really well. When I read the brief intro I did think, uh-oh, this is Inkspell -- but it's clearly not.

    Agree that the angry teenager on my hands comment is awkward. Try recasting this in terms of the specifics of their relationship -- K's her teenaged big brother with a specific temperament-- rather than general (adult-sounding) ideas about which kids are like what.

    I'm really curious to know how Kyle will turn on the MC -- assuming he will -- and how the characters mesh their RW selves with their story selves. And the end of this section is great -- looks like they're about to run into some real danger!