Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Call For Submissions: Talkin' Heads

It's been a long while since we've had a Talkin' Heads round.  Honestly, one of the weak spots I frequently notice in my editing work is dialogue.  It's important to write our characters' words in such a way that they sound natural--the way people really talk.  No paragraph-long chunks of text.  No overly-formal language (like forgetting to use contractions, which is how most of us speak).  And, for the love of everything chocolate, no coming up with seventy-eight different substitutions for the word said.

So here are the rules:
  • This critique round is for DIALOGUE-RICH PASSES ONLY.  As in, there should be ONLY A VERY LITTLE EXPOSITION, IF ANY.  (Beats and tags don't count as exposition.)
  • Submit a brief (1 to 2 sentences) lead-in, followed by your up-to-250-word excerpt.
  • PLEASE NOTE:  If your bit of dialogue is made up of fewer than 250 words, DON'T SEND MORE.  This exercise is about focusing on the believability and effectiveness of dialogue.  
  • All genres except erotica and erotic romance are welcomed.
  • Agented and unagented authors may submit.  (Just, if you're agented, make sure your agent doesn't mind.  Most won't.)
  • Please submit using THE WEB FORM.
  • The submission window will be open from 1 pm EST TODAY until 1pm EST TOMORROW, or until 30 entries have been received, whichever comes first. 
  • Entries will post on Thursday, January 14, for public critique.
  • Please format as below (including italics):
Drake has just proposed to Philemonia, not realizing that his words would unleash the ancient curse upon her--the uncontrollable urge to scalp any man who dares suggest marriage.

Drake backed away, wide-eyed.  "All I said was--"

"Your hair.  I need it."

"My--is this a joke?"

Philemonia reached for her dagger.  "I have to do this."

"Do what?" Drake hit the wall behind him and realized he was trapped.

"It's...not personal."  Philemonia's eyes glazed.  "It's...I need your hair."

"Look, if you don't like the ring, I'll take it back."

"I love the ring."

She'd snapped.  Clearly.  "Keep it, then. Just...put the dagger down."

"Don't fight this."  Philemonia raised the dagger.  "You want it as much as I do."


Questions below.  :-)


  1. Hahahaha.
    I love the example! :D

  2. I can't get it to work! the Preview button won't light up, but everything is in there!

    1. Went back and started over. All is well

    2. I was just going to tell you to try that. :)

  3. Can't press the preview button after I made my submissions. Did I do something wrong? How can I tell if my submission is there?

    1. Refresh the page and try again. There seems to be a small glitch that happens after you verify your email address.

    2. Yes, that worked. Thanks so much!

  4. I love the example. Thanks for a fun contest.