Wednesday, February 24, 2010

10 Talkin' Heads

TITLE: Wilder Times
EMOTION: depth of relationship

Intro: Kat’s best friend, Jackson, won a chance to write the treatment
for a music video, but the contest didn’t stipulate which recording
artist he would get to work with. Jackson recently met the recording
artist, but he has yet to divulge the name of the artist to Kat.

“That’s who it is, isn’t it?” She could hear the uncertainty
in her voice. She didn’t want it to be there. She wanted to be so…in
your face Jack! You can’t elude me!

Jackson looked around the cafeteria. “We can’t talk about it right now.”
She squinted at him and then looked around the cafeteria as well.
Were there spies here…from another record label? Were they dying to
know what little video the infamous Jackson Scott was concocting?
“Jackson, enough! Stop playing games. Tell me already. I deserve to

He set down his sandwich and turned his bedpost knees into her. His
face was serious. “I will tell you. But I can’t right now. Wait until
after school. Now drop it.”

Whoa. He was way serious. She didn’t know if she had ever heard him
sound so firm before. But…she wasn’t done probing. “Why? Why can’t you
tell me right now?”

“Too many people around.”

“And last night? Why didn’t you tell me then?”

“Because I wanted to tell you in person.”

“But you’re not.”

He gave a big sigh. “Later Kat. Got that? I. Will. Tell. You. Later.”

She was giving him that glare of death again; this time he saw it.
And he didn’t die. He didn’t even choke on his sandwich. He finally
looked away, back down to his food, and then he smiled. How dare he!
He was enjoying this.


  1. I like this. The dialogue feels natural and I'm getting a strong sense of frustration from Kat. I'm not really getting 'depth of relationship', though.

  2. I really like the dialogue. You get a great sense of their relationship through their interaction. However, I do have some concerns with the language around it.

    Now stop me if I am completely out of touch, but could someone please explain "bedpost knees"? And how do they fit into a cafeteria?

    And second, I have serious passive voice radar, and it went off like crazy in the last paragraph.

    "She was giving him that glare of death again", you can change it to "She gave him that glare of death again."

    "He was enjoying this." to "He enjoyed this." You could also jazz up the sentence by saying something like "He enjoyed dangling his secret in front of her like..." or whatever. Maybe just elaborate on "this" to add some pow to the sentence.

  3. “I will tell you. But I can’t right now." I would combine these two sentences.

    I agree with Rachel about the last sentences. I'd like to see you mix it up a little. It's too much "He".

    Bedpost knees didn't work for me either.

    Other than those minor things, good set up and believable dialogue. I felt the tension.

  4. I think your dialogue great but the internal thoughts could use some tightening and that's distracting me from your dialogue.

    You might tighten the beginning like this, for example:

    "That's who it is, isn't it?" She knew she sounded uncertain. She didn't want to. She wanted to be... in your face, Jack! You can't elude me!

    I didn't know what bedpost knees were either. And this bit of dialogue didn't make sense to me.

    "But you're not."

    Did you mean, "But you are now." ?

    Watch out for that passive voice at the end.

    Change to:

    "She gave him the glare of death again; this time he saw it."

    It's hard reading out of context, but I find myself wondering what her motivation is to know so bad, enough to keep pushing him. Is it just banter? If so, I think that could add depth to the relationship. If it's something else, I'm not sure you've achieved it because Kat doesn't seem to trust that he's going to tell her.

  5. The dialogue does flow naturally, and comes off as real, but it doesn't seem to be doing what you'd like it to - show depth in the relationship.

    If Kat knew him really well and they had any depth in the relationship, she wouldn't have kept bugging him. She would have understood and waited, even if it was killing her to find out.

    And if Jackson knew her really well and had any depth in the relationship, he would have found a way to tell her, even though he didn't really want to then and there.

    If it's just teasing on his part, then it works fine, but it doesn't show, or add, depth to their relationship (IMO).

  6. The dialogue is very realistic, but I'm a little skeptical of the setup. It sounds as if he's required to keep the information about the video confidential, and if that's the case, why wouldn't he just mention straight out that he can't say something where anybody could possibly overhear? Overall, though, this is pretty well written.

  7. I liked this one. I could tell they had a good friendship - they both knew how to push each other's buttons without seriously offending each other (she kept pressing to know his secret and he enjoyed not telling her).

    I also understood why you split "I will tell you. But I can't right now" into two sentences. It indicates a pause in the middle. If that wasn't your intention, then take the advice of the other commenter and make it one sentence.

    I'm sorry to say, however, that I also don't really get the bedpost knees.

    I just grinned at the end when he started to smile, however. :)

  8. I feel like you're trying a little too hard, here. There are several places you could condense two sentences of dialogue into one, which would be more realistic as people tend to either babble or use as few words as possible to get a point across. See if you can take a few words from the longer sentences, just to play with it.

    Hope that helps,