Thursday, January 14, 2016

Talkin' Heads #11

TITLE: The Great Blandings Scavenger Hunt
GENRE: MG - Adventure/Humor

Bertie, Humph, and Berties' dog Jeeves are contestants in a challenging scavenger hunt. When two classmates help them by throwing s bully off their trail, they decide to ask the girls to join their team.

“What was that all about?” said Humph. “Why’d you have to get all ‘I’m-the-boss-here’ to the girls?”

           “Humphrey, I don’t expect you to fathom my methods yet. Someday, probably in a year or two, you’ll understand how to talk to girls. You can't allow them to get the upper hand. Oh, it might start innocently enough, but before you know it, they’ll have you doing their homework and selling their Girl Scout cookies. Believe me, Humphrey, girls like to have the boys make the plans.”

            “Are you off your rocker?” said Humph. “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard come out of your mouth, and let me tell you, there’s a lot of competition for that honor. And you do realize, don’t you, that we are doing exactly what Valentina said we should do?”

            “It’s called diplomacy, my dear Humphrey. I only let Valentina think this was her idea,” I said.

            “You pumpkin head,” said Humph. “It was her idea! Let’s get this straight right now. You asked the girls to join our team as equals. I didn’t tell you to do that, even though I think it’s a good idea. And now you’re going to treat them like equal partners. They have as much input in this contest as we have. We’ll share everything with them: the clues, the objects, the plans, and the prize.”
            “All right! All right!” I said. “You don’t have to get all huffy about it. But don’t come crying to me when Abigayle has you doing her summer book reports.”


  1. I loved the voices at the beginning! The first-person speaker is unusually sophisticated for MG, but in this excerpt I think it works and is really funny. I did feel like the last line of dialogue didn't quite fit with the previous bits. You might want to take a look and make sure that your voice is even throughout.

    My one other note is that the first-person's (Bertie's?) internal logic isn't quite adding up for me. In his first line of dialogue, he says that they shouldn't let the girls get the upper hand or they'll be bossed around. Then he says, girls like boys to make plans. Those two statements don't quite connect. And while that may be how a real life argument happens, it's confusing here. You may need to cut out some extraneous statements to really hone in on the point of this scene.

  2. Oh, I really like the voice here, and I think it all works for me. I can't help but wonder what kind of dog Jeeve's is, that he's a part of the contestant list.

    I love quirky characters, and I think you've created two in Humph (how fun!) and Bertie. Would enjoy reading more of this.

  3. This was a really cute scene. I think the voice is great, so good job.

    Suggestions? I'd cut the dialogue tags a bit and use physical cues. Add some kind of action, internals instead of the he saids. Your dialogue is plain enough to see who is speaking once you set the first speaker. (Unless Jeeves is a talking dog.)

    Also, I'd drop a few of the Humphs.

    Personally, I'd leave out the equals. It looks like you're trying to teach a lesson on equality. Personally, I stop reading the minute an author starts teaching me a lesson in some social agenda. The point comes across well enough without it.