Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Talking Heads #2

TITLE: Broken Parts
GENRE: Women's Fiction

Caitlin is introduced to Ted for the first time by her friend, James. Ted's the seminar leader for a course she's signed up for and she thinks he's hot.

“Hi, Ted. Nice to meet you.”

“Caitlin. That sounds familiar. Didn't I get an email from you about the seminar next quarter?”

“Yeah. I’m hoping that there’s still room on the sign-up list. It would be a great elective for my major.”

“There’s room,” he confirmed. “I’ve got you on the list.”

“Great. I guess I’ll see a lot more of you starting in January.” Caitlin gave him the classic hair toss, head tilt she’d practiced in the mirror and on many guys before. Subtle, not obvious flirting. Just enough to make a guy look twice.

Surprisingly, she saw a flicker of recognition in Ted’s eyes.


“Nothing - you looked like someone I knew a long time ago. Just now, seeing you at that certain angle made me think of them. Memory's a funny thing sometimes.”

“I know that feeling. I see people here on campus that I think I know and turns out I’m thinking of someone from my hometown.”

Saying he needed to head to his office, Ted said goodbye. James and Caitlin waited until he was out of earshot to start talking about him.

“OMG, girl - could you be more obvious?”

“What are you talking about? He loved it.”

“You might as well have asked him for the key to his place. You’re a total slut.” James gave her a playful push and she danced away.

“Watch and learn," said Caitlin. “This is just the beginning of a beautiful relationship. You’re just jealous because he isn’t your type.”

“I’m not jealous. You know I’m a one-man guy. I’ve got my hands full with Ramon.”

“I’ll make a note to check back in a week and see if it’s still Ramon your hands are full of.”

Caitlin gave another toss of her hair as they entered the student center laughing. Her mind was already working on her plan of attack for Professor Ted. She smelled garlic and butter in the air.

“I’m hitting the pasta bar today,” she said. “You headed upstairs?”

“Yeah, let's meet back here in ten minutes,” said James.

“Great. I want the back story on how you know him and what details you've got. He’s my new project.”

“Caitlin, you’re whacked. A guy like that has to be involved already. You better be ready for disappointment.”

“I'm not worried,” she said. “Just give me the dirt you’ve got, and I’ll do all the hard work.”


  1. Now this is only my opinion, but this selection is very heavy on a dialogue. I know that's what was asked for, but I find myself imagining them just standing there staring at each other. Even with large chunks of dialogue, they don't exist in a bubble: things are going on around them, they move, they smell things, they have thoughts that leads to words spoken, or thoughts that contradict what they say. Even if it is small mentions, there should be narrative woven with the dialogue to paint a complete image of the scene.

    I'd would have like to have gotten a clue to Ted's response to her--does he look at her appraisingly which spurs her desire to pursue an instructor? Rather than be told about the recognition, it could be shown, then lead into his response on her looking familiar.

    Does James actually say the letters "OMG" or does he say "oh my god"?

    Side note on genre, this reads and sounds a lot more like NA than women's fictions...especially given what sounds like a college setting.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

  2. We definitely get a sense of Caitlin and James in this dialogue. We know she's confident about her abilities to win a man. I agree with Kelly about need for some bodily movement or something in between their words. For example, replace he confirmed with some movement or action that gives us more of a sense of what kind of guy he is.

    I do like her confident attitude. I think the exchange between James and Caitlin really shows their friendship. Good job.

  3. There's a wonderful camaraderie between Caitlin and James, and I love the energy in their dialogue. By contrast, her flirting with Ted felt stilted, and the hair flip came out of nowhere. Give us a little something, a hint of flirting before the hair flip to show interest. Kelly gave some great suggestions.

  4. I felt like the dialogue was kind of stilted in spots. It didn't feel natural to me when Caitlin was talking to her friend. It should feel a little awkward between her and the instructor, but not between her and a friend. See if you can smooth things out in revisions.