Wednesday, February 24, 2010

47 Talkin' Heads

GENRE: YA Fantasy

Melani has been hiding from her father as a street person. The street people told her to move on, and she did move—but not far enough. They come for her and her little boy in the middle of the night, and they laugh at her when they tell her what they're going to do with their bodies. She pulls away and runs into an old friend. He threatens the street people with a sword, but they don't seem to care.

“But the Ambroz will know,” Melani insisted. “He will tell the governor.”

“He never has before,” the woman said. “If there is an Ambroz, he will not care what happens to you.”

“Melani,” Enrikos said. “Do they know who you are?”

The street people froze. If they knew her name, she had to intimidate them, or they'd hand her to her father. She pulled the blanket away from Jaavan's face and held him up for them to see. She could hear the men whispering.

“Did you hear her name?”

“Did you see his face?”

“We are so dead.”

“Why else would a Grand Master defend her?”

“We didn't know,” the small man with the big voice protested.

“Do you think the governor will care whether or not you knew?” Enrikos asked.

They shook their heads and backed away.

“Wait,” Melani called. Do not think to turn me in for a reward. If word of what you have seen tonight reaches the governor, you will die. He will not pardon you for sharing information with him, not when he learns you would have killed his daughter and his heir. You cannot imagine his wrath. The man who sent my husband to the mines does not show mercy.”

Melani turned to face the woman. “He will not care what happens to you.”


  1. I like the lines coming from the crowd except the one "We are so dead." For some reason the "so" seems to modern and doesn't fit in with the style of the other voices.
    In Melani's last speech you need a quotation mark before "Do"--I would also try tightening her speech too. It seems a little wordy and I might end it would be more powerful if it ends with her threat that they might die.

  2. I like it, but I'd cut the last line of Enrikos' speach to just "Do you thing the govenor will care?"

  3. I agree with the previous two comments but want to add that the emotion of fear is accomplished through the dialog and actions of the characters.

  4. Fear comes through, but I'd suggest shortening Melani's long paragraph at the end. Even if the 'you cannot imagine his wrath' is cut, it would help keep the tension level higher and the scene flowing in a believable fashion.

    The 'we are so dead' line seems like something a present day teenager would say rather than a character in a fantasy story.

  5. There are a couple of places in the dialogue where I'm not sure who is speaking. Maybe your intent was to make it just a general "people from the crowd" are speaking.

    Also, in the paragraph where Melani is speaking, I wonder if some action on her part would add to her words.

    I am really interested in who, or what, the Ambroz is, what the child's face looks like, who the Grand Master is. You've left me with a lot of questions that really make me want to continue reading to find out what happens.

  6. I agree with all the comments above. I am always being accused of not enough tags and that people get confused. I tend not to get confused and like the conversation to flow fast and naturally.
    I'm not a paranormal fantasy person so I had to look at the dialogue and it seems just fine to me.
    Good luck :-)

  7. Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed reading this.

    I got that the street people were scared, but they didn't seem terrified enough to run away instead of continuing doing what they were doing.

    I hope this helps.

  8. The dialogue doesn't work for me. It does convey fear, but it's too stiff and too formal to sound like real people talking.

    Is this a world where nobody talks in contractions? You do have one "We didn't know,” so that can't be true.

    Real people, afraid and otherwise, use contractions and sentence fragments when they talk.

    Interesting story. Good luck.