Monday, January 28, 2013

Talkin' Heads #21

TITLE: Chrysalis

William wants Ivy to like him and he's trying to talk to her as she loads the dishwasher after dinner:

“Yes. I know.” I waved a dismissive hand as I opened the dishwasher and began stacking plates.

“Why do you do that?” He grumbled.

“Do what?” I tossed silverware into the basket. They clanked over my words.

“Dismiss me.”

I bit my lower lip, squashing a tight smile of triumph.

“Do I?” I said, squirting dishwashing liquid into the compartment on the door, before closing it with a firm shove, and setting the timer.

He didn’t answer me. I twisted around to face him. He was resting against the refrigerator with his arms folded across his chest, his usual stance.

“I’d like us to be friends.” He said quietly.

“I don’t know if we’re capable of that.” I wiped my hands on a dish towel.

He glared at me. Those cool lime orbs sparked with ire. He was still intimidating, but I was getting used to him.

“I’m quite capable of many things.” He bit out.

“Are you saying I’m not?”

“I think you implied it.” His smile was frosty.

“You always twist everything I say!” I threw the towel on the counter, stalking toward him.

He tossed his head back, smacking it into the refrigerator. “You are so frustrating to talk to!”

We were standing nose to chest. I had to lean my head back to look him in the eye as I poked a finger in his rock hard pectoral. It was like stabbing stone.

“And you are impossible!”


  1. Good tension, but "Cool lime orbs" threw me. I want to know more....

  2. Overall, I think the exchange works well. I do think you are perhaps over-describing the action. Consider this:

    “Do I?” I said, squirting dishwashing liquid into the compartment on the door, before closing it with a firm shove, and setting the timer."

    Using action in place of attribution works well, but you don't have to describe what is obvious. Unless I am mistaken, what's really important here is the shove:

    “Do I?” I said, shoving the door shut and punching the control."

    The other details aren't telling--they don't do any work--and the ready will fill them in.

  3. The "cool lime orbs" and the "rock hard pectoral" are a bit over-written. The problem I had with the scene was that it was not clear to me if they were flirty or if she was being antagonistic. I went back and forth on that and I think one of the reasons was there was too much interior thought rather than just letting the words speak for themselves. If that were tightened up, I think the scene would have more impact.

  4. After that back and forth, I hope there's a kiss in the next line!

    There's lots of good energy in this scene. I agree with the commenters above that a few descriptions were overwritten, but on the whole it moved quickly.

    In the paragraph that begins "He glared at me," I think you could delete everything after the first sentence. "He glared at me. 'I'm quite capable of many things,' he bit out." It doesn't seem necessary for Ivy to say she's not intimidated by him, because nothing in her behavior suggests intimidation.

    Also, this is a very minor detail, but since there are only two characters in scene, you could get rid of pronouns in a few places. E.g., drop "me" from "He didn't answer me," drop "to face him" from "I twisted around to face him."