Thursday, March 9, 2017

Talkin' Heads (SSF) #4

TITLE: Silver
GENRE: Adult Science Fiction

Alinda, head of the Peacekeeps, is investigating the mysterious death of one of the city's Venerables. Roen was the Venerable's assistant and has requested to speak with Alinda. Pol is a Peacekeep Cadet.

“Thank you for contacting us, Mer Roen. When you’re ready to speak —”

“A memory square,” Roen burst out, then wrung her hands and fell silent again.

Alinda raised her eyebrows, and she and Pol exchanged a curious look. “Go on,” Alinda said gently.
“One of the things that was stolen. I just realized it yesterday.”

“The robber stole a memory square?” Alinda said.

“I think so. It’s still missing. It’s the only thing — I’m pretty sure it’s the only thing that never showed up.”

“What was contained on this memory square?”

“It was Venerable Jallaian’s.”

“And?” Alinda prompted after yet another silence.

Roen’s eyes were suddenly wet with tears. “I think it might explain why she died.”

Alinda came to Roen with a start. “Are you serious? Tell me exactly what you mean.”

But Roen’s chest had started heaving, and her sobs kept her from speaking for several minutes. Pol gripped her shoulder and murmured consoling words. At last, with a hiccup, Roen rubbed her eyes and said, “It was a specialist. Someone she was seeing in addition to her regular Caretaker. I — I think something may have gone wrong. I remember at the funeral yesterday, when the other Venerable —” Her face crumpled up. “When she collapsed. The same thing happened to Jallaian once, a month or two ago. She said it was just a side effect from some new medication — she told me not to mention it to anyone —”

“Shh, shh.” Pol gave Roen a solemn look. “It’s not your fault. You cannot blame yourself.”


  1. This works for me! The dialogue is easy to follow. There are enough tags so we don't get confused about who's speaking, but not so many that it slows things down or gets clunky. I think it's good!

  2. I don't understand who's POV this is, but the dialogue itself is clear, and it is easy to follow who says what.

    I don't understand the "Alinda came to Roen with a start." Who startles? Roen or Alinda?

    The bigges chunk of dialogue, I like, but you may want to break it up into several paragraphs.

  3. Hi,
    I really like your writing style, and the only suggestion from a style point of view is that you add some actions in here...have the characters physically interacting with their environment...clutching a desk, picking up a pen and fiddling with it. We all do things when we speak.

    My only picky comment would be, why does Mer blurt out seemingly critical information and then make it difficult for the peacekeep to draw her out? I don't have context here, so maybe it's not a problem at all. As an editor, I'm always questioning logic.

    Good luck!



  4. Not much to offer as it is very well written. Only the last paragraph or so, which doesn't so much have an issue of dialogue as the interaction of characters. I don't understand "Alinda came to Roen with a start" either. So other than a little clean up in that last section where the placement/interaction of the characters needs just a little tweaking, this is darn good!

  5. I thought the dialogue works for the most part. I did feel a lot of it could have been condensed, that you didn't need so much back and forth. You could give Roen more to say at one time, and have Alinda just prompt her once, and still get across Roen's reluctance. Alinda's prompting came off repetitive to me and slowed the scene down.

    And I also didn't get 'Alinda came to Roen with a start.' And where Pol grips Roen's shoulder, you might change grips to a gentler word. He's trying to console her, and grips feels too harsh.