Thursday, January 14, 2016

Talkin' Heads #28

GENRE: YA - Fantasy

Alorna finds refuge with the Sacred, an organization of magickind, and discovers her mother, whom she thought dead, is alive but chose not to return home. 

“Gruffen sealed your power into Ivan’s soul stone after I was taken. We had the fairies change your appearance for the same reason—it was all to protect you, Alorna. There are many who would hurt you.”

“The Sacred?” Her feet, her body, and especially her heart ached. She couldn’t run anymore. If this wasn’t the place for her to live, it was the place for her to die.

“No.” Maryn patted her hand. “Not them.”

“Then I don’t understand why you sacrificed my rightful life and our family to keep me hidden. Couldn’t the Sacred keep me safe? Couldn’t they have taught me how to use this power?” She held up a hand to stop the protest already forming on Maryn’s lips. “I’ve heard their decisions are not always the best, and I believe it. But if I have as much power as this prophecy claims, they couldn’t force me to do anything, right?”

“You don’t understand. Let me explain.”

“No. Because you still haven’t answered my question as to why you didn’t return.”

“The Sacred didn’t want to let me go, and if they did, they would never let me go completely. They’d check on me. What if that brought danger to you?”

“They’d see an ugly girl with nothing remarkable about her. You and Gruffen ensured that, so how would it be dangerous?” Maryn sputtered and tried to speak again, but Alorna silenced her. “You hesitated too long. You don’t have a reason.”


  1. Great bit of conflict, and exchange works well, generally. The back and forth is paced well. But the wording isn't quite natural. At least to me, some of the phrasing doesn't flow, and Alorna doesn't always sound like modern girl (and I assume she should)

    e.g. would a teen say 'ensure' or 'guaranteed' (either is fine in exposition, but is it the right voice for this bit of dialog?)

    I'm sure it flows better with the preceding text, but IMO the first paragraph reads like 4 sentence facts. It's a much better flow further along.

    1. Thanks for the feedback! Alorna actually isn't a modern girl, but I will work on the flow and word choice.

  2. I like the conflict in this one. Alorna does sound genuinely hurt and I can tell her mother is trying to make her see their side of it.

    I'm nitpicky as heck. Sorry. :( You don't have to take them all seriously.

    I'm feeling it pretty much up until "Then I don't understand..." That whole bit of dialog is too dense. At that point, I think you're over-complicating their argument with too much back and forth explanation. Shorter phrases, I think, would heighten the emotion. Leave out what's already been mention or could be inferred.

    Some of Alorna's speech sounds overly formal and bits are slightly telly. "... as to why you didn't return," doesn't sound natural, actually sort of business-y. (Keep in mind I don't know if this is supposed to be medieval-style fantasy, in which case, a bit of formal dialog lends atmosphere.)

    Find ways to shorten explanations. Maryn's would be tighter if you combined some sentences: "If the Scared had even let me go, they'd have checked on me." (Also, I think you need past perfect there or phrase it "The Sacred doesn't want to let me go.")

    "They'd see an ugly girl," while a great line that makes me keenly aware of how much this hurts her, doesn't exactly feel like an expected answer to the question "What if that brought danger to you?" It would logically flow if you switched it around to "How would it be dangerous? They'd see an ugly girl...You and Gruffen ensured that."

    I'd rather see Maryn sputter and try to speak and be cut off. If she's trying to speak, then I'm not sure she's hesitating. Silence would indicate hesitation. I feel like sputtering is just floundering.... which would also mean she can't think of an excuse.

    1. Thanks for the feedback! Nitpicky's ok; it just means more help :)

      I've shortened phrases and explanations. It is medieval-style fantasy so I want a bit of the formal feel but I'll work on it.

      Good point on sputtering not being hesitation.