Monday, August 20, 2018

Talkin' Heads #13

TITLE: The Third Gift
GENRE: MG Fantasy

(no lead-in provided)

Ducking her head, and fending off the sun with a hand, she didn’t see the youngest member of the crew, Caleb, as he walked past her carrying a load of finished lumber. She tripped, and then raised her head just in time to hit the underside of a board. “Ahhh,” she said crossly.
The firm bonk tipped the long piece of lumber. Caleb lost his balance, caught himself, and looked back with a frown. When he saw Marisi the frown disappeared. “Oh, Miss. I, uh, I’m…”
“It’s okay.” Miss. Not Missy. She liked the way that sounded.
“Real, okay?” asked Mogul as he directed deck traffic.
“Yes.” She rubbed her head. “And, really, it was my fault.”
“Then both say, sorreee.” said Mogul.
Caleb ducked his head until he was staring straight at the teak decking, “Sorreee.”
But Mogul only shook his head. “Do again. Look at Missy Marisi when you say.” He pointed to his eyes. “Eyes window of the soul. How she see your soul, see your sorreee, if you don’t look at her?”
A red blush bloomed from his neck to the top of his ears. Caleb took a deep breath, raised his head, looked directly at Marisi and said, “Sorreeeee.”
She blinked in surprise. His eyes were so dark she always they thought they were brown. But they weren’t. They were as deep blue as the ocean’s depths. “S-s-s-sorreee,” she stammered back.
“All good. Now, done.” Mogul clapped his hands.


  1. This is a fun first meeting scene. The characters are engaging and interesting. I did feel like Mogul's dialogue was choppy and pulled me out of the story. I assume you're trying to represent an accent or broken English, but I would do some research. I've seen posts on various platforms about who to write dialogue mistakes for someone who is speaking a second language and I think that might be helpful here. Also, the description of Caleb's eyes seemed a little more YA than MG. Most kids don't think like that.

  2. This one is difficult because of Mogul's dialog (Asian, perhaps.) Red blush is redundant and the ocean's depths are really black not blue. I would just use 'ocean blue', or 'a deep, ocean blue'. But I think the scene works. It seems that there is going to be more interactions between Missy and Caleb and if that 's what you are going for here, then it's working.

  3. I think this has a lot potential, but I will echo the above. Writing in broken English is tricky in today's market. While you want to be authentic, you'll also want to be sensitive. Also, when read aloud it's quite noticeable how repetitive the word "sorry" becomes. So much so that I had to read it again in my head to gain context for the scene. Maybe substitute sorry with a synonym a couple of times. I know it changes what you were going for.

  4. So you're basically starting by saying that your POV character didn't see something that you then go onto describe. If she didn't see it, you can't tell us what happened. This is breaking the POV.

    Also, ly adverbs are a No outside of dialogue. You have to show us that she's cross in some other way.

    Good luck!