Monday, August 20, 2018

Talkin' Heads #7

TITLE: Dream Keeper
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Jade has been tasked with keeping an eye on Ash, the new student in the College. They cross paths on the stairwell.

I studied him carefully. “I’m perfectly aware there are Renegades out there who flout the rules and create an imbalance in the dreamworld.”
Ash’s face froze into an incredulous expression that lasted for several seconds. “That’s what they’ve told you?”
“It’s common knowledge.”
“Common inside these walls, maybe.”
I pressed my mouth together, dislike for this boy weaving through my stomach. “Well, as long as you’re here, you might want to make an effort to fit in.”
Ash raised an eyebrow. “All I need is to find the Master tower.”
“Because my brother’s a Master, and I want to see him.”
His brother?
“You can’t see him.” I laced my words with as much patience as I could muster. “The Master students are cloistered. We only see them in passing.”
“You can’t be serious.”
“You should know this,” I said. “If he’s been here all this time, surely you’ve visited him each year.”
“No, I haven’t.” Ash blew out a stream of air. “I’ll have to see for myself.”
I bristled. “You think I’m lying?”
“No.” His voice was strangely gentle. “I think you’re convinced that everything’s normal here, but it’s not.”
Who did this boy think he was? “What’s your brother’s name?”
I stared. “You’re Darion’s brother?”
“You know him?”
“Yes. But you won’t be able to see him; he’s already moved to Masters.”
Ash smiled. “I’m sure I’ll find a way.”  He started down the stairs.
“You can’t make your own rules,” I called after him.
Then I set my teeth and followed him.


  1. There's a definite difference in the two voices in this dialogue -- that's very well done. So well done, in fact, that I think some of the beats between aren't necessary (patience/bristling/stream of air). When the words give off the feelings so well, it's not really necessary to further explain them.

    As far as the story line goes, I can see Jade getting pulled along with Ash's goal, whether she wants to be or not. So that also works well for me.

  2. I like the back and forth here, but I think you need a lot more internal thought. The small amount you have is not adding much and is making this feel a little whiplashy. If you're going to make the switch from outside voice to inside voice, do it when your character has time to actually think for more than two seconds.

    Aside from that, I don't understand how dislike (or any emotion, for that matter) "weaves" through a stomach. Is the dislike dodging other emotions in the stomach?

    Oh, and remove the ly adverbs outside of dialogue. Those are always a No.

    Good luck!

  3. I liked the dialogue in this scene, but I found the physical descriptions distracting. The long face freeze, her pressing her mouth together, dislike weaving through her stomach, setting her teeth. They just seemed a bit over the top and pulled me out of the story. I know you're trying to show not tell, but I would have rather heard her internal reactions to the conversation.

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