Wednesday, February 24, 2010

46 Talkin' Heads

GENRE: YA Paranormal
EMOTION: Saddness/grief

Intro: Sixteen-year-old Zoe Daniels is just your average teenager--that is until she sort of dies, has her body hijacked by an evil spirit, and falls for Mason--the hot Soul Collector that comes to escort her to the afterlife. In this scene, Zoe is preparing to go back to her life, leaving Mason behind.

I took advantage of those last moments, the last time I'd feel his touch, smell his scent, and see his beautiful face.

"Tell me you love me," I said with urgency, needing to hear his voice speak those words, to ingrain them in my memory forever. "Tell me I'll remember. Tell me I'll still feel you when you come around. Tell me, Mason. Please." I sobbed into his chest.

"I love you," he said as he lifted my face to his, and pressed his lips to mine. "You'll remember. You'll feel me." His voice broke with the last sentence.

I knew he said it just for me. He didn't know any better than I did, but God I loved him for saying it. I touched my lips to his again, my sobs giving me no reprieve to kiss him the way I wanted. My tears intermingled with his as I gasped against him.

"Please, Zoe. Please," he begged, holding me so tight that if I'd had to breathe I wouldn't have been able to. "Please don't cry. I can't stand it when you cry."

But I couldn't stop, the tears kept coming and the gasps grew louder. "I-I-I can't-I can't-can't leave-"

He hugged me tighter. "Yes you can. You can, Zoe. You have to."

"No," I moaned.

He grabbed my face. "Yes."

I tried to wretch away, not wanting to hear it, but he held firm.

"Listen to me, Zoe. You can do this. We both can."


  1. I really like the part when he's squeezing he so tight that if she'd had to breathe she wouldn't have been able too--I guess this is because she's still dead at this point and not breathing. The final "Yes" that he says to her seems out of place. I might cut that line and the line following and go from her "No" to his "listen to me." It would be less melodramatic that way.

  2. I like this a lot. I think you nailed the emotions that you were going for. Emotional scenes can be really hard to write, but I can feel the devastation here and it's not too over the top.

  3. Erm, it's a bit, purple. I'm guessing this is straight from near the climax, but in isolation it reads a bit 'romance novel'.

    "gasped against him' is a little awkward, and you use gasp again two paragraphs down.

    Here am I talking about the description though in a contest about the dialogue, which is fine by the way.

  4. The dialogue is good; the emotion of grief is very clear. It is a bit overwritten, I think, with so many dramatic words like "reprieve" and "begged" and "moaned." (And I think you mean "wrench" rather than "wretch"?) But it's tricky to pull off the right balance with scenes of high emotion like this, and this comes pretty close. A bit of tweaking should make it fine.

  5. Good job with a very emotional scene. It sucked me right. Especially when she begged him to tell her he loved her.

    The one part I wanted to you change was the word "Moaned." It was out of place and pulled me out of the scene.

    Otherwise, thumbs up.

    ~CM (

  6. my feeling is the same as CM's sucked me in and I wanted to read more but some of the words were a tad awkward

  7. It's hard to jump into this and feel for the characters because it's such a short piece and we're dropped right in the middle. However, the words do convey the emotion you intended them to.

  8. This tugs at my heart--saying goodbye sucks--but I agree with some of the other critiquers. It is overwritten. I tripped on words like "moaned" and "wretch." These types of words also make the story feel less YA. With some cleaning up, this could be a really emotional scene.

    Best of luck!

  9. I definitely felt the emotion you were trying to protray. Good job!

  10. A quick question:

    Does Zoe fall in love with the Soul Collector or the evil spirit who's invaded her body?

    When Mason first speaks, it feels kind of automatic. I know he's answering her questions, but it almost feels like he's just saying it to say it, as a response to a command.

    I love how Mason's voice breaks "on the last sentence." I wonder if there is a way to show this in what he's actually saying.

    I certainly would like to finish reading this whole piece. It sounds fascinating!

  11. The dialogue is fine. Out of context of the story it is very abstract on how much to say other than it seems convincing.

    I found me wanting to edit little bits. Wrench is the word you want - wretched is more - 'this wretched Godforsaken place'

    But see this

    "Tell me you love me," I said with urgency, needing to hear his voice speak(ING) those words(FULLSTOP I WANTED TO), to ingrain (ENGRAVE) them in my memory forever. "Tell me I'll remember. Tell me I'll still feel you when you come around. Tell me, Mason. Please." I sobbed into his chest.

    Dialogue should move quickly. It's a wonderful tool for recharging a story and putting some electricity into the interchange between scenes and characters. So short sentences seem to me important as well during a dialogue exchange.

    It's very melodramatic but you will be the best judge of how it fits into your world here.

    Goodluck :-)

  12. I enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing.

    For the emotion that you are going for, I completely see the sadness/grief.

    The one thing that I don't get is this. If he is being brave and strong enough to try to get her to do what she should do, then how is he also crying enough for their tears to intermingle. He would have to be crying a lot for his tears to reach hers on his chest.

    I hope this helps.

  13. I thought your dialogue was strong - strong enough that you could make this passage stronger by cutting some of the description. Doing this would help cut down on the melodrama some of the others commented on. For example, you don't have to tell us she's speaking urgently when she says, "Tell me you love me." We also know she feels like she needs to hear the words (if she didn't feel that way, she wouldn't have asked). Instead it could just read like this:

    "Tell me you love me," I said. If I could just get him to say it, I could ingrain the words in my memory forever. "Tell me I'll remember..."

    The dialogue is good. Let it do the "talking" :)

  14. While I think it's a bit heavy-handed in the melodrama department, the dialogue is decent. There is quite a lot of gasping, too. I think it's the action following the dialogue that is throwing me here. The dialogue is doing it's job just fine...just find a way to keep the melodrama to a minimum in the non-dialogue parts.

  15. At first I thought this was a bit overwrought. But I think that was due mainly to one, the fact that I didn't have the benefit of reading the full story that lead up to this moment, and two, the description. I think the dialogue is good, it's realistic for what they're going through but there might be a bit too much description going on. It's some of the description that feels overwrought, like "my sobs giving me no reprieve to kiss him the way I wanted".

    The emotions are already there, your readers will feel it just by having read up to that point. Like others have said, let the dialogue speak for itself. Sounds like a cool story!