Wednesday, February 24, 2010

15 Talkin' Heads

TITLE: The Be-Attitude Project: Downside Up
GENRE: Christian YA
DIALOGUE EMOTION: Heated conflict

Josie just watched Heather humiliate one of Heather's "friends" and can't take her bratty behavior anymore.

“Grossy Josie,” she spat, “How dare you interfere in my business. Jillian and all the others just keep coming back for more so I don’t think they’re bothered by it. And even if they are, I really couldn't care less.” A chill ran up my spine; she was too calm.

Then, like a flipped switch, Heather's mouth broadened into an almost-sinister smile when she said, “But the fact that it raises your hackles is really funny to me—just precious, actually!”

“I'm so glad I can entertain you, Heather,” I shot. “Are you so convinced that the universe revolves around you that rest of us give a rat's behind what you think?” Okay, I was stooping low there, but emotion had overtaken me.

“There obviously are a lot of people who DO give a rat's behind what I think. . . Jillian's the latest example, but all my friends care very deeply what I think.”

For a split second I could see I’d touched a nerve—like a hint of vulnerability was showing. It was almost like she too knew that her friends weren't “real” friends.

“No, they care about getting on your good side so that they don't have to feel the Wrath of Heather! The stinky part is that they still do! Do you even know what true friendship looks like?”

I heard the smack before a hard sting on my cheek registered and my head swung violently to the side.

Heather Jacobs had slapped my face in front of God and everyone!


  1. The dialogue is good and does convey a heated conflict.

    The first paragraph seems contradictory to me: spat and how dare you make me think Heather is angry, but then I am told she was too calm.

    Otherwise, I think the scene is good and the dialogue fits the conflict. Good job.

  2. I like Josie's personality, and how she's even judging herself while she's telling Heather off. It makes her very likeable.

    "Grossy Josie" made me instantly think of the movie "Never Been Kissed," but that might be just me.

    And "Jillian's the latest example..." didn't sound very natural. I knew a lot of mean girls in school, but none of them ever admitted to anything, and that included talking about their friends in this way.

    Really liked this, though!

  3. "raises your hackles" doesn't sound like something a teenager would say.

    The dialogue is a bit stilted. Sentences are too long and too grammatically correct for a heated conflict.

    I don't get the sense of urgency that comes with an argument and my gut doesn't clinch with anxiety. It's almost Victorian in its delivery--except for the Grossy Josie part. :-)

    LOVE the title!! Very clever.

  4. The dialogue feels too structured for a couple arguing teenagers. Having them talk in shorter, choppier sentences would ratchet up the tension for the reader. A little tightening in the non-dialogue parts would help too.

    For example: 'Like a flipped switch, Heather's mouth broadened into a sinister smile. "The fact...'

    The second to last sentence, about Josie's stinging cheek, is quite good. I think it also was the best at showing conflict, not just because of the actual slap, but because it was so tightly written.

    I like the title too!