Wednesday, February 24, 2010

30 Talkin' Heads

GENRE: YA Christian Fiction
EMOTION: Deepening relationship

Will's parents and Hannah's sister all died in a car accident a few months ago. Will now lives in Hannah's basement, and just asked her to Homecoming. She said no, but they continued talking. Hannah asked Will to describe the accident that took her sister. Will refused at first and busied himself playing pool, so she started to leave.

“There was a lot of screaming.”

I stop. I’m only on the second stair. “I thought they all died on impact.”

He puts his cue in its cupboard. “They had time to scream before. And I was still alive after.” He quietly shuts the door to the cupboard and turns toward me.

I try to imagine him screaming. He yelled at the football game, but that was different. There was no desperation there.

“At first, I thought Rebecca was still alive. There was no question about my parents – there was blood everywhere – but Rebecca… Who would’ve thought a flashlight… Mom and Dad were the bloodiest. Dad, especially. It came out his mouth and all over –”


He does without another word. Somehow, I didn’t expect him to be able to. As he raises his eyes to me, I feel badly for not being able to listen more because I think he wants to tell me, and I ought to know. “When did Chandra ask you to stop?”

“At screaming.”

“…About Homecoming.”

He shakes his head. “I knew you’d say no.”

“But Connor – ”

“Even without Connor,” he says.

He’s right, so I can’t argue. I take another step up then stop. “So why’d you ask?”

“I wanted you to know.”

“You didn’t think it’d be awkward?”

“No.” He smiles and turns away. He starts walking toward his bedroom door. “And even if it was, I live in your basement. We’d get past it eventually.”


  1. They do come to an understanding. I get that more than a deepening, but perhaps those terms could be interchangable. I like his struggle to put words to the horror he experienced.

    Her need to make him stop comes through, too.

    I found the transition from that back to the homecoming conversation confusing. I had to reread the intro to understand that she paused then went back... Maybe if she shrugged or made some gesture to indicate it. :D Either way, it's a great job.

  2. Overall I really liked this. I think you got the deepening relationship part just right.

    But... I was also confused, from "When did Chandra ask you.." to "I knew you'd say no." Could be that I'm missing something because it's such a small snippet, but it did get a pretty wrinkly frown out of me!

    Was your query for this on Nathan Bransford's site? I really like the idea!

  3. This was great. Very believable dialogue. And I really felt the emotion: the horror of the accident, the bonding moment.

    Like the others, I didn't quite know what was going on in the middle section, but I suspect that was due to the drop in effect.

  4. I really liked this. It's very believable and I really felt for him - he's experienced something horrifc and no one will let him talk about it. I'd love to read more.

  5. This is super and makes me want to read more.

    I do have a little concern about the degree of the boy's detachment. It would help me to have a tiny bit of visual description of the boy to hang the dialogue on. I'm also having a hard time placing his age, despite the homecoming reference. The fifth paragraph sounds like it's coming from 2 different people -- one a teenager or older (There was no question about my parents – there was blood everywhere – but Rebecca… Who would’ve thought a flashlight…), the remainder (Mom and Dad were the bloodiest. Dad, especially. It came out his mouth and all over –”) sounds right for a younger kid -- the age where they relish gory description.

    Altogether, well done and intriguing. Hope to have the chance for an additional read.