Thursday, January 14, 2016

Talkin' Heads #15

GENRE: Adult - Historical novel

Lisbet, mother figure for her younger sister Hedda, is caught between her Father’s outspoken hatred of the new Fuhrer and wanting to protect her sister who has a school assignment (1937 Germany) to write a letter of praise to the Fuhrer. Lisbet rushes into the kitchen from an early morning hunt, a rabbit to skin.

“Hedda, are you ready for school?”

“Father figured out how I could do that stupid letter.”

“Oh? Something both he and Fraulein Krueger will be happy with?”

Eating a burnt sausage, Hedda grinned. “We copied a page from All Quiet on the Western Front.”

Lisbet’s knife slipped. “Father let you copy from that book!” The rabbit guts fell into the pail.
“The Fuhrer will think it refers to him. It’s like I am thumbing my nose.” She touched her nose and thrust her arm out straight in the Heil salute.

“You’d better hope Fraulein doesn’t recognize your ‘letter’--!”

“How could she admit it? I’ll say I was testing her!”

Lisbet pushed back her hair with her wrist.“Hedda. Father says no mind is too young to yearn for freedom, but you read Fraulein’s note. There could be harsh measures waiting for you!”

“’Father says . . .’ ‘Fraulein says . . .’ Hedda mocked. “Don’t you have any words of your own, Lisbet?” She threw her sausage into the pail, making a splash.


  1. First, this writing is beautiful and compelling. Second, the pacing is superb. Third, the dialogue is woven into the action seamlessly. Artfully done!

    My only suggestion for change: we need a transition before we see Lisbet cutting with the knife. Can you show us that she put it on a chopping block and started cutting? a few words would do. It was a bit hard to follow.

    So, yes, your dialogue/pacing/tags rock.

  2. I could not follow the dialog. I read it a few times and thought Lisbet was saying, “You’d better hope Fraulein doesn’t recognize your ‘letter’--!”
    This was a small sample of your writing. I'm sure if we had been allowed to give a larger sample, the context would have made it clearer.

  3. I followed the dialogue fine. It's going to be an interesting story. One thing you might do, I know this has nothing to do with dialogue, but add the scents and sounds.

    Butchering does have a very distinct odor. Also, when she's gutting the rabbit there will be kind of a sucking and tearing sound as the internals come loose. You don't have to be gross about it, but sensory details really anchor a reader. You'll usually pull the guts out on to your cutting board and then scoop them into a bucket. I would think she'd skin it outside. The fur will tear loose and scatter in the kitchen.

    Anyway, back to dialogue.The dialogue works as well as pacing.

    For whatever reason, my only nit on the dialogue is her calling it a stupid letter. I'd find a stronger word than stupid.

    Good luck. It looks like a good story.


  4. I'm intrigued by this, but also a bit distracted by some of the beats, including
    "Eating a burnt sausage, Hedda grinned."

    Could she grin around the sausage? Otherwise the two images seem to send conflicting info to my imagination.