Wednesday, February 24, 2010

38 Talkin' Heads

GENRE: Dark Fantasy

Cassandra and her aunt, Korynn, are just about to depart from Silas’ home with the idea that he is indeed the man they’ve been searching for. However, Silas is not so willing to leave his family to join them.

“Thank you for your hospitality. We will be on our way.” Though her tone should have been gracious, it was not in the least.

“Cassandra, not until–”

“Korynn,” she interjected, “we will not waste any more time here.”

“We came all this way…”

“And we have yet to find him. This is but a small town in a vast land.”

Korynn appraised the young man. “You don’t believe it’s him?”

“No,” Cassandra affirmed, her white gaze sliding to Silas, “I do not.”

Silas cut in, “Who are you looking for exactly?”

Her stare grew cold. “Why do you wish to know?”

“Maybe I can help. I mean, I know all of the townspeople.”

Cassandra’s eyes tightened on the him. “You deny us help and then offer it?”

He was at a loss for words. There was something about how she asked her questions that tied his tongue, as if she’d been interrogating people all her life. And the look she gave him… It made it difficult to breathe. “What…I…”

“Cassandra, honestly now, this is not an execution,” Korynn reprimanded.

The brunette lifted her eyes from Silas, as if he were not even worthy of being seen through them. “If it is indeed him, then perhaps it should be.”

“Child, you don’t mean that.”

At last, her gaze returned to him. “I apologize.” And without another word, she left the room, not in a hurry or in an angry trudge, but at a normal, impassive pace.


  1. I had to read this a few times, not necessarily because it was unclear--but because it's right in the middle of a scene.

    I can read a lot about the characters through this dialogue. I think you did a great job at portraying Cassandra's curtness. And I instantly knew that Cassandra and Korynn have a sort of mentoring relationship.

    There are also some cool story questions in here.

  2. The dialogue conveys Cassandra's curtness, but not much else about her. I dont' get a true 'sense' of her, just a brief glimpse. Yeah, I know, middle of a scene and all that jazz. Personally, the dialogue should convey a bit more of a glimpse, especially if you have a fickle reader in a bookstore who picks up a book, flips to this exact page in your novel, reads the dialogue and thinks "nope, not interesting enough to buy".

    Still, there's enough outside info to make me curious enough. The dialogue just didn't draw me in enough.


  3. Who is the POV character here? Silas? I don't get much sense of any of the participants. I get the impression that the person they are looking for isn't going to like it when he's found.

    A few awkward phrases:

    Eyes tightened on him? What does that mean?

    An angry trudge?

    I do like the "as if he were not even worthy of being seen through them." that's really good.

  4. Let me start by saying that you definitely convey impatience. A couple of minor comments:
    -There are very few contractions used in this piece. It's odd for people to speak without using contractions. Plus, they are easier to read. You might want to consider some more.
    -You are using a lot of varied dialogue tags. This is an area of great debate, but a lot of editors will tell you to only use said.
    -"..." should not be used at the end of a line unless the person continues to speak (but we don't get to hear it). If they are cut off, you should use an emdash.

  5. As this is fantasy, I didn't mind Cassandra's formal style of speech. It differentiated her voice from the others and indicated to me she might be a priestess or something of that nature.

    Ditto Claire on the rest.

  6. The dialogue moves along at a good pace. It wouldn't hurt to describe a gesture here, a hint of an expression there, to add visuals and a little more tension beyond the conveyed impatience.

    I'd like to learn a little more about the POV character by the way he/she perceives the other speakers.