Monday, January 28, 2013

Talkin' Heads #41

TITLE: Letter to Elizabeth
GENRE: YA Historical Fiction

It’s Gallipoli, 1915, and Lloyd owes Johnny for saving his life. All Johnny wanted in return was for Lloyd to write a letter to his girlfriend Elizabeth...but that wasn’t going too well.

“Since when did you become a writer?”

I looked him straight in the face. “Since I was five.”

He seemed surprised for a second. “Which was... what? Three minutes ago?”

My glare was icy.

“Forgive me for exaggerating.”

“What are you going to say after ‘Dear Lizzie?’”

“'Dear Lizzie. It’s like I’ve been shot in the head every time I think about home, and you, and—'”

“You’re joking, right? Shot in the head? You want to give the girl a heart attack?”

“I said it’s like.”

I choked. “And she’s really going to notice ‘It’s like’ if she can see ‘I’ve been shot in the head.’”

He returned my glare. “Alright, smarty.”


  1. I like this, but I'm a little lost with who is speaking. Can you use one of their names at least once in this passage? I think the trouble is this is an excerpt, so I haven't connected the "I" with a character name. Johnny wants the letter written, but is Johnny the writer? Sorry I'm just missing some context. Maybe another commenter will get what I missed.

  2. I like this. It gives quite a bit of the narrator's character. He can't just write a bad letter. He's judgmental, but he won't lie to the other guy and write something else.

    The beginning seemed odd, because Lloyd already had started writing, but I guess with more context it would make sense.

  3. I really like this too, but I would agree a few names thrown in at the beginning might help ground us. Again, context is everything, but I might even like a bit more description of expressions or body language.
    I love their rapport, though. or lack thereof! And the idea of literacy as a bond.

  4. This is cute. I like it. However the language sounds more modern than I'd expect. Gallipoli was fought by French/British/Aussies and NewZealanders. I expected a less "American" feel to the language.
    The use of "like" felt off to me. I'd use "as if" for the disputable portion if they are middle class and upwards, especially if they are Brits. Is there a class difference between the fellows? If so, maybe something in their speech could distinguish that. Some slang on Johnny's part in addition to the "smarty"?
    Again, I like it, but I happen to know a bit of history regarding this and was expecting a little more "local flavor".

  5. I agree the language is very modern for the time period, unless it is a device the auther is using than that needs to be made very clear. And it is confusing as to who is speaking.

    I am currious as to why Johnny is not dictating the letter, or the idea of what it shoudl say, to Lloyd.

  6. I like the dialogue! It feels real and easy to relate to, despite the possible discrepancy of time periods. This would be a book I'd keep reading because I could easily relate to the characters and dialogue.

    I love the Australian feel to the dialogue too! It's so very "us"!