Monday, November 4, 2019

Talkin' Heads #3

TITLE: Untitled
GENRE: YA Sci-fi Romance

Cerine belongs to a genetically engineered species of sea women, living in post-apocalyptic times. She, her mother, and a young woman are conversing in their underwater village.

Cerene swam up behind her mother, listening to the murmured exchanges between the women.
    “No snook today?” Raissa, a silver-haired woman asked.

    Her mother shook her head. “Not today, chéri.”

    Now in her year of training, Cerine knew the snook were difficult to catch. They were ever cautious about approaching bait, much more so than many of the other fish species they hunted.

    “But I know you enjoy kelp,” Alyse said, handing the woman a large bundle. Alyse’s other hand rested on her protruding belly.

    “When will your baby join us?” Cerine asked the young woman.

    “Mid-October.” Alyse smiled in that way expectant mothers so often did when speaking of their unborn child. “Her name will be Mae.”

    “It’s a lovely name,” Cerine said. “And I’m sure she’ll have your beautiful golden hair.”

    Alyse’s smiled broadened. “I hope so. My firstborn was a red-head, but you probably know that.” She nodded toward a group of younger girls playing catch-the-conch in the distance. Waving locks of auburn framed the face of Alyse’s daughter. Cerine remembered the girl, though she couldn’t recall her name off-hand.  

    “Isn’t it wonderful she’s having two?” Cerine’s mother interjected, handing another sea woman two cod. “I wish I could have, but. . .”

    Thérèse didn’t finish, but Cerine knew the story. The second embryo hadn’t taken and Queen Genevieve didn’t allow additional chances. Embryos were as precious as diamonds had once been on land. Probably more so. Without them, the sea women would cease to exist. Their small community would dwindle into nothingness, becoming merely an insignificant blip in the history of the earth.

    “Just a few more years, and it will be your turn,” Alyse reminded Cerine.

    Cerine tried produce the appropriate pleased expression, but her face wouldn’t cooperate.


  1. It's clear from this dialogue that you've done your worldbuilding work -- good for you!

    Something feels a bit distanced in this exchange, which I read several times. Sometimes it's simple things, like this:

    Raissa, a silver-haired woman asked.

    It might be better to use a beat instead of a tag there. For instance:

    Raissa's silver hair caught the morning light.

    It was also a bit hard to follow, as I wasn't quite sure who was who. You've interspersed some backstory, which is helpful, but I'm wondering if maybe it couldn't be trimmed a bit. Be careful not to over-write.

    There's lots of talk about hair, too. Is hair of special importance in this society? We learn about 3 characters' hair colors in the space of 250 words.

    And, finally, Cerine is our MC, and I'm not getting any emotion from her at all. Does her stomach drop when her mother mentions wishing she'd had another baby? Does the pregnant woman's smile warm or chill her? Lots of nuances to be had here, if you weave them in. I find myself wanting to be MUCH deeper inside Celine's head in this scene.

    Good work!

  2. In general, I thought the dialogue was smooth and realistic.

    But I, too, had a hard time keeping track of all the characters and their names and wish I had a better feel for who each one was and how they fit into the story.

    I would really like to know how Cerine feels during this exchange. Since this world is new to us, that would give us a better understanding of what’s important. For instance, does it matter there is no snook? Does she feel bad that her mother didn’t have a second child? Or is she glad to be the only one? There’s a hint at the end that Cerine would prefer not to be mother and that’s intriguing. It’s a fun concept and would love to see where it goes.

  3. I found it confusing to follow. I'm not even positive how many people are talking in this scene. I thought 3 but now I think 4? I think we need to be more anchored, here, more filtered through Cerine because I felt a bit lost. I like the sound of it all though, sounds interesting.

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