Thursday, March 9, 2017

Talkin' Heads (SFF) #9

TITLE: Dead City
GENRE: YA Dystopian

Eric has been challenged to a dual by Orion, who holds claim to Eric's girlfriend if he wins.  Regina, who is not Eric's girlfriend, surprises him at night.

“Hello, Eric.”

Eric jumped at the sound of the female voice close behind him.  Regina emerged from the shadows, hood pulled forward so that her face was almost completely invisible.

“I wish you’d stop sneaking up like that,” Eric said.

“I would’ve come to your house, but I saw you walking here as I approached the lane,” Regina said.

“You could’ve called out.”

“I wanted to see where you were going.”

Eric smiled.  “At least you’re honest.”

“I have something important to tell you.”

“You’ve found our spy?”

“No,” Regina said.  “Not about that.  About Orion.”

Eric’s stomach dropped.  “What?”

“He’s planning on using a poisoned knife.”

“That’s not allowed.” Eric had at least been paying enough attention to remember that part of Vann’s summary.

“No, it’s not,” Regina said.  “But he’s spent years working with different toxins, extracts and oils from plants you’ve probably never heard of.  And he says he’s got something virtually undetectable.  So no one will know.”

“They’ll know when they see me die from a flesh wound,” Eric said.

“No.”  She drew closer than she should have.  “It’s slow-acting.  It’ll look like you died from an infection.”

“You mind telling me how you get your information?”

Regina reached her arms around his waist, pressed her hands against the small of his back.  When she looked up, her hood slid back, revealing those dark eyes, tendrils of thick hair spilling from a loose tie at the nape of her neck.


  1. I like the interaction between these two characters and your dialogue is easy to follow. The phrase "as I approached the lane" seems a bit more formal than the rest of the dialogue.

  2. I'm having a hard time placing how Eric feels, especially in the quick and short exchange part. Like, there's a tag with Eric smiling, but I can't tell if it's a genuine smile, like if he's happy, or if the smile means something else.

    I think it might benefit more if you slow down, ground us more in Eric during this exchange. It doesn't strike me as an exchange that needs to seem so rapid fire.

  3. I enjoyed reading this. I think, however, you can remove what comes after the line [“I wish you’d stop sneaking up like that,” Eric said.] and pick it back up at [“I have something important to tell you.”] The dialogue between those two points is mostly superfluous and this exchange will be tighter without it.

    I think the rest works well. Good luck!

  4. I enjoyed this. The dialog has a nice flow and is interspersed with actions to keep the scene active. I wasn't quite sure about Eric's mood - was jumpy in the beginning, then smiles mid-way through that seems like maybe it should have meant more, then is back to worried again?

    With such a short excerpt, his mood could have already been established (If so just ignore), but if not, maybe a bit of more dropping us deeper into Eric POV would help.

    But very good exchange.

  5. Nice job. The dialogue is strong, and it made me want to find out what happens next. I agree with previous commenters that we could use more of a look into how Eric feels about all this. I was also a little vague on how they were positioned in relation to each other until she was suddenly coming close enough to put her arms around his waist. But on the whole it's a strong passage.

    Good luck!

  6. I agree w/ the first comment regarding "approached the lane"--this seemed a bit stilted compared to the rest of the dialogue. Overall, nice work, with good flow, judicious use of dialogue tags, and interplay between the characters. Regina's comment about wanting to see where Eric was going isn't followed up on here, and kinda leaves the reader hanging, but perhaps that's dealt with out of this scene. Overall grade A-.