Monday, January 28, 2013

Talkin' Heads #36

TITLE: Queen of Hearts
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Marion, a sixteen year old magician hired by a reporter, has returned to the theater she worked at to help him get subjects to interview. A friend questions her about her new job.

Miriam came up behind her. "Answer me."

"Answer what?"

"What're you doing for him? Is it--" she nodded meaningfully and raised her eyebrows.


"Then why didn't you tell him." She nodded at Franklin's back. "Who knows what he thinks now?"

"Because! It's embarrassing. Anyway, Miriam, I need your help."

She looked wary. "What?"

"I need to visit my family; I've got something for them."


"Well, I can't go in this!" She pointed to her dress.

"They don't know about this either?"

"Of course not, do you think my mother'd let me work for a man?"

"Not if she's smart. Well, I can't help you, you're too thin."

"Not that, I'll take my black dress I wore for my act. I just need you to keep my clothes in our dressing room and cover for me."

"Fine," Miriam said, "I'll do it. Be back soon, things are going to go absolutely bonkers if they know you're gone."


  1. This flowed really well. The only thing that gave me pause was the question without a question mark:

    "Then why didn't you tell him." She nodded at Franklin's back.

    Maybe if you don't want it to sound like a question, it could be added that "she stated it rather than asked." or something. Otherwise, I think adding a question mark makes this read more clearly.

  2. I agree the flow is good, but I had no idea what was going on. I didn't understand what Miriam is job (there seems to be two), who is Franklin, and what is so wrong about the dress she is wearing?
    Perhaps more context was need, but I feel that adding description around the text would also help.

  3. It does have a nice rhythm to it. The words spoken sound natural. The confusion comes with the reference to Franklin as I was unsure what to make of this. Also, unless the dress is described previously, there might need to be some hint as to why it is so inappropriate. But, nice tempo.

  4. Like Brienne, I felt lost through a lot of this passage. Why is the MC embarrassed? What is she wearing that she doesn't want her mother to see? Who is "they" in the last line, and why are "they" going to go bonkers?

    Nevertheless, the dialogue was really well paced, authentic, with just the right number of tags, which makes me trust that all of my questions would have been answered if I had read whatever comes before this.

    A couple of very minor criticisms: You never name your MC in this passage. Replacing one or two "shes" with her first name might help keep the speakers distinct. Also, if your MC is named Marion, having a friend named Miriam could be confusing. I wondered at first if "Marion" was a typo.

  5. Great "YA" voice and flow. I get that it's an excerpt and detail may be provided elsewhere. Still, the comments about the MC's dress need clarification -- an adjective here or there would probably do it.

    Also, why couldn't she work for a man? Is this some sort of matriarchial magic world? Wasn't sure how that ties in directly to this line of conversation.

    I came away very curious about who they are and why they''l be bonkers if the MC doesn't return soon -- although that did make me wonder how far away her family lives! All good reactions though, because I want to know more!