Wednesday, February 24, 2010

40 Talkin' Heads

TITLE: Eagle's Wings
GENRE: Inspirational Young Adult
EMOTION: Attraction/Reluctance

Marie (the main character) is a teen cyclist with a crush on Ryan and an allergy to church. Ryan and her friend, Cara, have been pushing her to come to more youth group events; Marie finds it particularly hard to say no to Ryan.

“Marie! How’s it going?”

“Pretty good.” I wrote off the heat in my face to the warm morning. “How was your break?”

“Not bad. My sister came home from college. I tried to get her to toss the football around with me, but…” he shrugged.

“You’re really into football, huh?”

He grinned. “No sport equals it! No offense, of course.”

“None taken.” Why was my stupid smile about a continent wide?

“How was Florida?” he asked. “Are you coming back to church anytime soon?”

“Florida stunk.” I stepped back to let another cyclist sign in.

“That happens sometimes, with the swamps,” Ryan deadpanned, his bright eyes giving him away.

Why did my face get redder every time I grinned?

“Did Cara send you the stuff about Splash Day?”

I smothered a laugh. “You didn’t tell me it was for the little kids!”

“Yeah, so we need a new name. But it’s loads of fun.”

I glanced at his eager expression and wrinkled my nose. “I’ve already been to church twice this month...”

“Splash Day doesn’t count as church.”

I smiled again. Maybe my face would pass through red into purple and I would look like I was choking. “I’ll think about it. I might be busy.”

With homework, snacking, and staring at the walls… but hey.

“Well, I’ve got to talk to Matt,” Ryan said, looking past me. “Come Wednesday, all right? That’s an order.”

I saluted without quite meeting his eyes. “Aye, aye.”


  1. This is cute and snappy. Good job!

  2. I don't totally get the attraction here. Aside from her face changing colour (which she can't possibly know unless she has a mirror) I just don't feel any tension. I think you need to beef up her physical reaction. Is she nervous? Are her hands sweating? Does she have butterflies in her stomach? Is she conscious of how close he is to her?

    One minor thing, there are exclamations points used in places where it doesn't sound like they should be yelling. I'd suggest you remove them.

  3. I had the same thought about the red face...she would know that it was getting hot, but without seeing it. she wouldn't know how red it was getting. But she could imagine...My face must look like... or my face felt as hot as....

    It's hard to say since this is only an excerpt, but I think I would like to see more about him...what is it exactly that is making her face hot? Is it his eyes? Is it his smile? Why does she have a hard time saying no to him?

    All in all, I think you did a good job. The dialog is realistic. I think you captured your emotion.

  4. The dialogue is great! I think you have a good handle on dialogue. If you want input on the entire excerpt...

    I'm okay with her face getting red. I get flustered really easily and I know mine gets hot and beet red. I even see people looking at my cheeks when it happens and I've become really self-conscious about it (which just perpetuates the whole thing). Maybe you could incorporate something like that? It would increase the awkwardness.

    I do think you should change redder to hotter or warmer in this one line, "Why did my face get redder every time I grinned."

    That said, there are plenty of other ways you could show the attraction. You might consider referencing her face just twice (to make the point that she's getting redder) but add a different physical attribute in place of mentioning her face a third time.

  5. I thought the dialogue was realistic (though the bit about splash day could have done with some background -- assuming if we'd read earlier, we would have it).

    Personally, I wanted a little more about the attraction than her just blushing in order to really feel that.

  6. You made it obvious that Marie feels attracted to Ryan with her face changing color, but as a reader, I didn't really feel it (if that makes any sense?). Maybe there should have been some other physical indications that the reader can relate to. For example, a change in pulse, or sweaty palms, or the butterflies in her stomach.

    Other than that, you were spot-on with her reluctance, and the dialogue as a whole was very smooth.

  7. Some of the dialogue didn't seem very believable to me as YA. Ryan seems a bit...old? He seems a little preachy, too. I'm not feeling much attraction from Marie, and I agree with the earlier posters that cheeks turning red is not something Marie would know about herself. Any other physical manifestation of embarrassment or attraction(stomach butterflies, weak knees, etc...) would work great in this piece.

  8. Be careful when you are describing the physical things from the POV of a protagonist. You can still have red faces, but people don't walk around 'waving my blond hair' etc., you get around that by saying things like thought processes... my face heated and I felt embarrassed and exposed... etc. Otherwish the dialogue is fine.

  9. I thought the dialogue was good here, particularly Ryan's. He sounded very much like a teenage boy. I didn't get the attraction from the dialogue though, only from her inner thoughts. The reluctance was clear.