Wednesday, February 24, 2010

43 Talkin' Heads

TITLE: Golden
GENRE: YA Magical Realism
EMOTION: Ego/frustration

Ian and Joss have a love/hate relationship; he loves to give her reasons to hate him, but it's still true his bad boy nature gets him into places she can't, and Joss needs his contacts if she wants to find the criminal plotting against her family, so she handles it, albeit without much grace.

(begins with Joss):

“There must be somewhere they give narcissistic pig lessons because I can’t believe you come by it naturally, you James Dean wannabe. You’re here because you’ve got something to trade so shut up and tell me what you want in return this time.”

He ignored my demand and knelt on one knee, unlacing first his right combat boot and then the left.

“What, have you got a slip of paper with names or numbers hidden in your heel?”

He toed each boot off and threw them both onto my bed by the laces. They thumped still by my crossed knees. “Nope. Dance floors don’t take to inch-deep treads like you’d think, and I’m not letting you out of our deal just because you’re afraid of scuffing the wood.”

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but my room doesn’t actually have a built in pole or strobe lights, so whatever fantasies you’re rockin’ in that sick-puppy head of yours should probably come to a speedy end.”

“Yes, the obvious need for a pole does come to mind if I wanted to shove a few singles down the waistband of your Bobbie Brooks, but thankfully ballroom doesn’t require one. Not that a pole wouldn’t spice things up, but I think we can work with what we’ve got. Which reminds me . . .” He offered his right hand, his left flicking a spark over his shoulder at the music player, starting a waltz from one of my favorite old school fantasy flicks.


  1. The dialogue is very good and gives a good sense of Ian's over-confidence and Joss's annoyance. Ian's choice of a ballroom dance from one of her favorite flicks makes me want to read more to find out his true character. Great job.

  2. I like the characters. They both have lots of attitude. I might change the James Dean reference to a more recent actor as I don't know how many of today's teens know who he is. You also might tone down the slang a bit--just a little here and there. That way it would read easier.

  3. I like the story line and the descriptions. It seems to be leading into an excellent scene.

    My problem is with the dialogue. It isn’t quite realistic. People do not talk that way, too many words, and complete sentences. Try short sentences. Fragmented sentences. Stops. Starts. Um. Uh.

    These sentences are technically great, clever, and the frustration/ego is apparent. But when people argue they don’t sound like this with good grammar and speeches.

    And they are never clever.

  4. I like the slang. I think it works well. I agree with breaking your sentences up. I could feel the emotion you wree conveying. I struggled with "They thumped still by my crossed knees." but maybe that's just me. Good dialogue flow!

  5. This gives me a good sense of each character's personalities and I like them both. The dialogue is a bit stilted simply because of the grammatically correct sentences, but there is a lot of attitude shown.

    Was James Dean a narcissistic pig? I had no idea. I agree that you might use a more recent actor.

    Shoot! I want to dance with this guy.

    Good job

  6. Oh yeah--maybe a disco ball instead of strobe lights. For some reason strobe lights make me thing of police cars. Could just be me though. :-)

  7. I think with dialogue the main object is to get a good fast quick pace - or deliberately slow if that's what you are trying to do... as long as it's deliberate and you are using it as a device. But I generally think hiding dialogue in a paragraph kind of doesn't do either. Example:

    Why not do this instead.. to keep the flow which is a pity because what they are saying is okay.

    ("NOPE" He toed each boot off and threw (TOSSED?) them ONTO THE BED. (THEY LANDED BESIDE MY KNEES.)( both onto my bed by the laces. They thumped still by my crossed knees. “Nope. (NEXT PART OF SPEECH STARTS HERE)Dance floors don’t take to inch-deep treads like you’d think, and I’m not letting you out of our deal just because you’re afraid of scuffing the wood.”

    I think you really have too much minor detail. Picking boots by laces is hard. Crossed knees. It's a detail I don't need. Kind of venturing into show not tell category.

    And it detracts from what they are saying. And that's very relevant to a comment on dialogue.

  8. I did get a sense of the frustration and ego that you're talking about here, but I felt like both of the characters said so much and yet I have no idea what they're talking about at all. I don't get the whole dance floor thing in reference to why he's there. This could be because it's just a snippet though.

    It feels more like an opportunity to showcase the two characters snappy personalities than it is to get information across.

    I think you have a good handle on creating interesting, personality filled characters, and your plot sounds interesting, but like someone else said, it doesn't sound like real dialogue. People, especially frustrated people in search of information don't say big mouthfuls of stuff, they're too impatient. I'd expect her to cut him off and demand answers.