Thursday, September 22, 2016

Talkin' Heads #9

TITLE: The Rift in the Rock
GENRE: MG Fantasy-Adventure

Grandma Summer drives Tristan and his friend Janie through Yellowstone National Park.  While traffic is stopped by a herd of bison crossing the road, Summer tells the kids the story of Tristan’s father’s birth.


“Now, the creek was hidden down in a ravine, and Wayne couldn’t hear me call.  I tried to push myself up off the rocks.  But I couldn’t move.  A branch cracked above me.”

“Uh-oh,” Janie said.

“I found myself face to face with a fat, glossy-black mother bear.”

Tristan clenched the edge of the window.  “As close as these bison?” he squeaked.

“Inches away.  The bear snorted.  I still couldn’t move, so I said, ‘I won’t bother your cubs if you don’t bother mine.’”

Ahead of the truck, the line of vehicles began to roll forward.  Summer restarted the engine.

“Then that baby shot out like he knew the bear might eat us both for lunch if he stuck around too long.”  She laughed.  “We always figured your father got his common sense from having to figure out how to survive in a chilly creek.  He woke up pretty quickly, bouncing along in the waves like a perfect little skipping stone.”

Tristan felt a sudden, irrational fear that the creature had eaten his dad.  “What about the bear?”

“I tried to grab the baby to keep him from floating away.  But I sank low in the water, and I couldn’t see anything other than the waves splashing over my hands.  Next thing I realized, Wayne had crashed into the stream and hauled me out with one arm around my waist.  In his other arm, he held a screaming, purple infant.”

“What did the bear do?” Tristan asked again.


  1. This is really good. Summer's personality comes through, and Tristan's reaction is great. I like how he sticks with his question about the bear. It seems like believable kid behavior to keep asking until he gets an answer.

    Well done and good luck.

  2. I'm loving the voice of Summer and this is an interesting exchange, but I think it could be more clear. I feel like you need more detail about why she can't move -- paragraph 1 "I couldn't move." -- labor pains held her back? her foot was stuck in the creek? And again when she says, "I found myself face to face..." this could perhaps be more dramatic. i.e. a huge, black bear bust out of the thicket (bushes)... and once again you say she can't move before you get to the actual birth. I wasn't prepped with what was happening and suddenly the baby was shooting out and in the water. You could lead us a bit more before getting there. I had to read this a couple times to understand what was happening. Hope this helps.

  3. I think that line should be "I heard a branch crack above me." It relates the comment to the speaker more. Also, in that last big paragraph, I think she'd call it "your father" instead of "the baby".
    That's quite a birth story! The talk of the bison and the cars reminds keeps the real story moving forward while she talks about the past, so that's good.

  4. I love the flow of grandma's words and the tone, but I'm wondering why she 'tells' this story. Is it really moving the plot forward enough to warrant the amount of text?

    Yes, it's interesting, but is it slowing down the 'present'?

  5. Lovely, nicely done "tale of birth" to entertain the kids while in traffic.

    I think rather than saying "the baby" shot out, it would be more natural to say "your father" or "Tristan's father"

    He woke up pretty quickly, suggest that he was born sleeping, which doesn't make sense

    bouncing along in the waves like a perfect little skipping stone made me think he was bounced away like a skipping stone, but then she tried to grab him to keep him from floating away, so the simile doesn't work.

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