Thursday, September 15, 2016

Call For Submissions: Talkin' Heads

Our last Talkin' Heads round was in January--so let's have another one!

As I've said before, one of the weak spots I frequently notice in my editing work is dialogue.  It's important to write our characters' words in such a way that they sound natural--the way people really talk.  No paragraph-long chunks of text.  No overly-formal language (like forgetting to use contractions, which is how most of us speak).  And, for the love of everything chocolate, no coming up with seventy-eight different substitutions for the word said.

So here are the rules:
  • This critique round is for DIALOGUE-RICH PASSES ONLY.  As in, there should be ONLY A VERY LITTLE EXPOSITION, IF ANY.  (Beats and tags don't count as exposition.)
  • Submit a brief (1 to 2 sentences) lead-in, followed by your up-to-250-word excerpt.
  • PLEASE NOTE:  If your bit of dialogue is made up of fewer than 250 words, DON'T SEND MORE.  This exercise is about focusing on the believability and effectiveness of dialogue.  
  • All genres except erotica and erotic romance are welcomed.
  • Agented and unagented authors may submit.  (Just, if you're agented, make sure your agent doesn't mind.  Most won't.)
  • Please submit using THE WEB FORM.
  • The submission window will be open from 1 pm EDT on MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 until 1pm EDT TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, or until 30 entries have been received, whichever comes first. 
  • Entries will post on Thursday, SEPTEMBER 22, for public critique.
  • Please format as below (including italics):
Drake has just proposed to Philemonia, not realizing that his words would unleash the ancient curse upon her--the uncontrollable urge to scalp any man who dares suggest marriage.

Drake backed away, wide-eyed.  "All I said was--"

"Your hair.  I need it."

"My--is this a joke?"

Philemonia reached for her dagger.  "I have to do this."

"Do what?" Drake hit the wall behind him and realized he was trapped.

"It's...not personal."  Philemonia's eyes glazed.  "It's...I need your hair."

"Look, if you don't like the ring, I'll take it back."

"I love the ring."

She'd snapped.  Clearly.  "Keep it, then. Just...put the dagger down."

"Don't fight this."  Philemonia raised the dagger.  "You want it as much as I do."


Questions below.  :-)


  1. Holy cow," I said astonished. "I can't believe your having another contest."

    "Oh, I am," replied the Authoress.

    "I — I don't know what to say," I stammered.

    The Authoress shook her head and slipped something into my tea.

    1. LOL

      You never saw me slip anything into your tea. Never.

  2. I LOVE your ideas! Thanks for hosting this! See you on the 19th!

  3. If we were selected to be in the Name that Genre contest, should we bow out of submitting for this one?

    1. Not at all! This is a whole 'nuther ball of wax, so feel free to enter.

  4. So examining my manuscript for this contest made me realize that I'm very fond of slipping exposition into dialogue lol

    1. Well, this is sort of a fabulous side effect!

  5. Does inner monologue count as exposition? I have a passage I think might work, but at the end there's a section with a couple lines of inner monologue. I don't want to use it if that would be considered exposition.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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