Wednesday, February 24, 2010

35 Talkin' Heads

TITLE: Finding Grace
GENRE: Women's Fiction
EMOTION: Awkward introduction

Grace is having dinner with old friends and meeting cute new boy, Tom, for the first time. Her friend Jeff embarrasses her by giving Tom too much information about a personal piece Grace wrote.

“So Grace,” Tom said turning to her, “What do you do?”

“Well, I’m a teacher. I work at a private school. Third graders.” Grace replied.

Jeff, who had been leaning over to try and join in on the conversation, said,
“That’s not all. Tell him what else you do”.

Grace forced a strained smile, “I also write for magazines and stuff”.

“You write? That’s so cool. What kind of things do you write about?” asked Tom.

“All kinds of stuff- some of it’s really funny.” Jeff interrupted.

She looked at him and hissed quietly “He was talking to me”.

Jeff ignored her. “Oh my God you should have read the last thing she wrote!” He said loudly and gained the attention of everyone else at the table.

“What was it?” said Meghan

“It was hilarious! Did you ever get that one published?” Jeff asked.

“Umm I don’t know which one you mean? The one about home schoolers?” Grace asked hopefully but knowing full well that wasn’t the one.

“No- that was boring. I mean that one about PMS- you know...” Jeff looked at her like she was an idiot.

“What was so funny about it?” Asked John.

“Nothing.” Grace said quickly. “Nothing funny about PMS. Besides”, she added, “I wasn’t really planning on submitting it. Jeff just read it for fun.”

Tom smiled warmly at her,
“Tell us about it” he prompted.

“That’s OK- I don’t really remember,” she said.


  1. I definitely think you have successfully conveyed the idea that Grace is embarrassed.

    There are a few things you need to tidy up, IMO. You should try to put your dialogue tag at the first break in a sentence so readers don't have to go the whole paragraph before they know who is speaking. For example,
    “Well," said Grace, "I’m a teacher. I work at a private school. Third graders.”

    When you have dialogue tags at the end, you always end the dialogue with a comma (unless it is a question) and never capitalize the tag. For example,

    “What was so funny about it?” asked John.

    Also, I would recommend that you move some of the tags to before the dialogue and try to use more descriptions and less tags. In 250 words, there probably shouldn't be more than 2 tags (you have 13).

    Last comment, you can only hiss a word with an S in it.

  2. "...Jeff, who had been leaning over to try and join in on the conversation, “That’s not all. Tell him what else you do”. ..."

    This is awkward - more tell than show - and punctuation problems galore. I see the same problems throughout this submission. The conversation or situation doesn’t seem believable to me.

  3. That was definitely an awkward introduction. Don't you hate it when friends offer to "set you up" and then won't butt out? :) You did a nice of getting across that Grace would have rather been anywhere else.

    Watch out for all those dialogue tags, though. You don't need all the "he said," "she interrupted," "he asked," etc. They interrupt the flow of the piece and chop up the conversation. Show us who is talking, don't tell us.

  4. I liked this. I found the text believable and I really felt for her. I can see this situation exactly in my head.

  5. I liked it too. The conversation sucked me right in, and I could feel the poor girl's embarrassment. Good job!

  6. Grace is clearly embarrassed. You can feel her tension. There are several grammatical areas that need cleaning up.

    For example: "Oh my God, you should..."

    ...Grace asked hopefully, but knew full well. . .

    "Nothing," Grace said quickly.

    Jeff sounds like a really helpful friend! :-)

  7. You did a good job conveying Grace's embarrassment.There are some grammatical errors that need to be fixed up and a bit too many dialogue tags. If you use 'hiss' as a dialogue tag, make sure there are a few 's's in the dialogue, or drop the tag all together. ;-)