Wednesday, February 24, 2010

49 Talkin' Heads

TITLE: Where's Virginia?
GENRE: Contemporary Romance/mystery/suspense
EMOTION: Enraged frustration. At him. At Virginia. At herself.

Her daffy friend Virginia is suddenly getting married on a short trip she
won on a radio program to Scottish Highlands. Daphne has arrived at Castle
Craig as she was instructed. But he has denied any marriage plans and
claims he has never heard of Virginia. Daphne is temporarily stranded in
this remote location, and he is a very reluctant host.

"Follow me." His voice was brine.

"I'll leave my bag on the porch."

"Sorry but you can't."

"More cannots!" You irritating piece of...


"But that's absurd. It's heavy and..."

"That door hasn't been opened in thirty years." His head tilted at the huge
front door.

She looked at the large wooden thing. Leadlight side windows filthy,
lacklustred and cobwebbed. "Must say it doesn't surprise me. The welcomes
here aren't exactly a thrill a minute."

She picked up the bag which was heavier than ever. It'd never roll through
the stones to wherever he was going to lead her.

"If you ask me I will carry it for you," he said most ungraciously.

"If you offered I'd say yes!" Her voice was snippier than she intended.
She wasn't snippy by nature but this guy sure was frustrating.

"Here." He handed her the dead birds. "Carry these."

"I hope that's the only thing you shoot around here." She eyed the wet
bundle and realized too late that there was blood on her gloves. Yew!!!
"Poor ducks."

"Actually, they're pheasant."

"Poor pheasants!"

"They're bred for killing."

"Poor pheasants!"


  1. I like Daphne. She's a hoot, and more than a bit snarky. A definite plus in my book.

    I picture Craig as very matter of fact, taciturn possibly, and maybe a bit snooty.

    Definitely some good dialogue if you pulled off my getting what I got from the talk they had. : )


  2. Some dialogue tags and a few more commas would help this to read more smoothly.

    Otherwise, I enjoyed this excerpt and thought it conveyed her annoyance very well.

    A minor thing: is she Scottish? She compares his voice to brine. If she's American or from some other country, would she use some other comparison?

  3. very snappy and snarky!I thought the dialog went well with the scene.

  4. Something about this dialogue does read foreign or from-another-time to me. I think the way you use the words "brine," "cannots" and "ungraciously" jarred with the "this guy sure was frustrating." It just seems like two different voices entirely?

    I also was taken aback by the number of exclamation points in this 250 word snippet. I recall reading somewhere (as a joke) that you are allowed two exclamation points per 100,000 words of fiction. I think the point is to use them sparingly. I counted eight in this snippet alone, and I don't think the use of them is justified anywhere here. In fact, I think your heroine would read snarkier without them, and I definitely think your male character could do without them here too.

    Just my $0.02.

  5. Charming! Bravo. I like these characters already.

    I wanted there to be more commas. If I were you I'd read it out loud and anytime you needed a breath, add a comma.
    Also, take out every exclamation mark except the one after Yew! This dialogue would convey the same thing without the exclamation marks.

  6. Clearly saw her frustration. Craig sounds like a good part for Colin Firth. Good dialogue. You show a lot about the characters in the exchange about asking him to carry the bags and her expectation that he should offer.

    Good job!

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

    She seems properly irritated with him and the situation. Although at the end of the piece the irritation turns into pity over the pheasants. It seems like one more barb could be thrown in here, something about the pheasants being lucky for not having to put up with the situation or something.

    Also, I don't understand why she can't leave the bag on the porch. Just because the door can't be opened doesn't mean that the bag must be moved. This could be a good place for him to give a barb back, that she'll have to walk back around the house later because the door hasn't been opened in 30 years or something like that.

  8. As an exclamation point happy rom com writer, I must agree with the others. In edits, remove all of them but the most necessary ones. Your tone comes across without them.

    I loved the voice here. And although I'm American, I LOVED the use of brine. Perfect. Nice job!

  9. I enjoyed this snippet although there were a couple of things I didn't get. The "brine" thing, for one. I understand what brine is and I went to the thesaurus to see if it could be used to describe a voice and I didn't think it could. Did you mean his voice was salty? Cool? Sarcastic? I wasn't sure.

    I also didn't understand the part about her bag "rolling through the stones". Did that mean the driveway was gravel?

    One more picky thing - "Her voice was snippier than she intended. She wasn't snippy by nature but this guy sure was frustrating."
    I think you don't really need to say "she wasn't snippy by nature". If you say "Her voice was snippier than she intended but this guy sure was frustrating." Your reader will pick it up.

    Very picky stuff - take what makes sense to you, of course. I liked the snippet and I would read more!

    Otherwise I liked the characters