Thursday, September 22, 2016

Talkin' Heads #26

TITLE: Knackered
GENRE: MG Fantasy

<This is near the start. Mom just called twelve-year-old Avi downstairs to the kitchen>

<Mom> motioned for me to sit on the chair facing her, took a deep breath and released a long sigh.

“It’s time for you to go, Avi.”


“To your grandmother’s house. To live.”

For most people, that sentence might not have been strange.

“Grandmother? You mean one of the two you told me were dead?”

Her cheeks flushed light pink. “Well she’s dead now, so I wasn’t exactly wrong. I just told you too early.”

A thousand questions popped into my brain. I’d never met any of my grandparents. Never met my dad either. Actually, other than one uncle who didn’t look like my mom at all, I’d never met any family. But figuring out my family tree wasn’t my main concern.

“Why am I going to Grandma’s house if she’s dead?”

“Well, you can’t stay here. I’m leaving. My job is done.”

“Your job? You’re my mother.”

Mom slid a piece of paper into my hand. “Here’s the address. Grab what you need. You have to be out of this house by midnight. Anything left will be destroyed.”

She stood and lifted her suitcase. She leaned in for an awkward hug. “Good luck. Knowing you has been...interesting.”

Without a glance back, she was out the door. She didn’t even stop for Cain, her slobbering pug.


  1. I thought the dialogue was great. The voices were distinct, and the conversations certainly propelled us somewhere!

  2. This dialogue is great and certainly piqued my interest. Great job! My only suggestion would be to break that first sentence into 2 sentences. It felt a little awkward to me. Other than that, very nice!

  3. Instead of saying "one of the two you told me were dead?" I think it would have more impact in that shocking moment to say "Grandmother? Isn't she dead?"..or something more condensed like that. Unless it is a really important part of the story to know her other grandma is dead too, but you do say it in the next few sentences.

    Nice job--this is a very intriguing premise!

  4. Love this one. It's a great hook. The only stumble (for me) was 'one of the two you told me were dead.' But overall the voice is awesome.

  5. Forever in Blue JeansSeptember 22, 2016 at 6:04 PM

    This is great. So intrigued as to how you carry through with the MC and her reaction to watching her "Mom" walk out the door! :) As two others commented, I, too, tripped on the "one of the two you told me were dead" line. As januaryj suggested, a bit more of a dramatic response from the MC would be nice to see. :) Well done! This excerpt is going to stay with me long after today...

  6. Intriguing and great characterization with this snippet of conversation. The story is propelled forward and I want to know more. Like others have said, I got hung up on "on of the two you told me were dead" line as well. Great job overall.

  7. Well,I LOVE this!

    I thought Avi was a boy...
    Agree with others that the "one of the two" slowed the flow and felt out of place.

    I love the detatched mother's voice followed by the awkward hug.

  8. There's no doubt that you have a great story here.

    DISCLAIMER: I don't read a lot of MG—
    Some words/phrasing sound older than MG- like flushed to light pink.

    I was thrown off in the middle. I think it has to do with phrasing.
    This line “Grandmother? You mean one of the two you told me were dead?” confused me. I had to re-read it (three times). Wouldn't she just say "But they're dead."

    And this line “Well she’s dead now, so I wasn’t exactly wrong. I just told you too early.” I didn't follow that, because she never said one was actually alive or specify which grandmother she was speaking of. I know there is suppose to be some ambiguity there, but I couldn't follow it as is. Suggestion - "Well, yes, they're dead, at least now they're both dead. You have to go the most recently dead." Or something and somehow specify which one is recently dead, since you brought both up. If you didn't mention both, I'd have assumed it was the maternal grandmother and not questioned anything.

    I quite love the last half!

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