Wednesday, February 24, 2010

37 Talkin' Heads

GENRE: Memoir
EMOTION: Looking to show best friend's doubt

I'm telling my best friend I just became engaged to a Chinese student I'd been tutoring in English. She's worried about my future.

Jean tore up the check and wrote to my mother, explaining she couldn’t attend the wedding and wouldn’t be able to buy the flowers. Deep down, I knew Jean put my best interests first. I didn’t hold it against her for not attending my wedding, although I felt disappointed she wouldn’t be with me on my big day.

When I first called her, the day after Liu proposed, I sensed Jean wouldn’t be happy.

“Are you sitting down?” I asked her.

“Yeah, why?”

“Well, Liu and I talked last night about personal things. And, well, he asked me to marry him.”

“What? You didn’t say yes, did you?”

“Actually, I did. I know it’s quick, but I really like him. Plus, we’re not going to get married until after graduation, so it’ll be another year and a half.”

“Susan, I don’t’ know about this. You don’t even know this guy. What if he just wants to marry you to get to the US?”

“Well.” My voice lowered a bit, even though I was in my office with the door closed. “He doesn’t want to live in the US.”

“Where does he want to live?” She seemed puzzled.


“Oh my god.” It came out as a whisper.

“He’s also talking about Singapore and knows a business man there who’d like to hire him. I’m hoping for that.”

“For your sake, Susan, I hope you go to Singapore, too.”


  1. Kudos! This is very well done. The only changes I would suggest would be to drop the "her" in "I asked her" and to put the descriptive text, "It came out as a whisper." before the dialogue. Readers like to know how they are hearing things BEFORE they hear them. Otherwise, they have to re-think the dialogue when they see the description.

  2. Jean's doubt came through loud and clear. Good job! Susan's hoping for understanding was also very nicely conveyed. Well done.

  3. This drew me right in and kept me. The dialogue and emotion felt right on. Good job.

    If Susan wants to be understood though, isn't there something she could say about her fiance to help Jean understand why she wants to marry him? She doesn't even say that she loves him. "I really like him" wouldn't have been enough to convince me to marry anyone. There has to be something more to him.

  4. Jean's doubt clearly shows. Although, if Liu and Susan aren't getting married for a year and a half why the big concern? There's plenty of time for them to get to know each other. So, even though I see Jean's doubt, I don't feel the need for it. Just my opinion though.

    Good job

  5. This dialogue is spot on. The doubt shows through clearly. The conversation felt very real and believable. Good job!

  6. The doubt is definitely expressed and the dialogue moves along, drawing me in and leaves me curious.

    It might be effective to add in a pause or a shocked silence. A hint here and there about the tone of voice might also add to this.