Monday, August 20, 2018

Talkin' Heads #3

TITLE: The Blue Jay
GENRE: MG Fantasy

Liz and her brother Kyle have been pulled into her imaginary world. In this scene they're talking to a mysterious stranger who is explaining how they got there.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Kyle said, “parallel worlds, as in plural?”
The old man chuckled. “Yes, Kyle. Your sister wasn’t the first person to have her stories come to life, and I dare say she won’t be the last. There are many worlds existing side by side. They, and the people in them, are as real as you are, but they were born from fairy tales.”
I sat back, my mind reeling. Other worlds? For the second time in the last couple of days everything I knew came crashing down. First, my imaginary world had risen into existence around me, cutting me off from everything familiar, and melding my brain with a character I had made up. Now, apparently, that was somehow normal.
“You mean—” my voice squeaked out of existence. I cleared my throat. “You mean other people have...done this? Who?”
The old man looked thoughtful. “That is not for me to say,” he said finally, “I think I must respect their privacy in this instance.”
He saw the look of devastation on my face and smiled. “But I will say this. Some of them are famous, while other are largely unknown, and some even younger than you. Some entertain the world with their stories, and for others the stories have never left their own private thoughts. There are a few who have entered and explored their worlds, as you have, but most live out their whole lives, never knowing that an entire universe owes them its existence.”


  1. I love the first line in this, though I'd like to see some movement with Kyle like he puts up his hands to hold back the truth. When I started reading, I thought we were going to hear more from Kyle, but then we switch to "I" and I'm not sure who that is. Kyle's sister the old man mentioned, maybe? The old man's voice is formal and I think that's your intention as some type of mentor, so that's good. I had to reread squeaking out of existence to get its meaning. And, if I was your MC I'd be pretty annoyed with the old man's roundabout explanations! Thanks for nothing, old man! :)

  2. I find the voice here a little mature for MG. It might be okay if it's Upper MG, but if this is supposed to be the POV of a 10yo, some of the diction is too mature.

    Other than that, watch the telling. "My mind reeling"/"He looked thoughtful"/"he said finally"--> these are all telling rather than showing.

    Finally, she can't know that he sees the look of devastation on her face (honestly, neither can she without a mirror). She can only know that he looks at her and smiles.

    Good luck!

  3. I thought the dialogue worked fine in that it accomplishes what it's meant to do. What I'd question is that we are told the alternate world is his sister's creation, imagined by her, and then Kyle goes on as if he created the world. I also wonder if Liz is even there. They talk as if she isn't. If she is, perhaps give her a line or two. And why does 'who else might have done this' matter? Wouldn't the stronger questions be how and why did it happen, and how do they return to their own world?

    Sounds like a fun story.

  4. This is a tough scene to get right. You want, and need, to inform the reader without sounding didactic. I don't understand why the old man says it's not his place to tell Kyle and his sister about others who have created fantasy worlds that have to come to life - or why their privacy has to be protected - at least with published authors. It feels like some specificity would help the scene. If he could say (for instance) Jules Verne, Kyle and his sister could respond. I know this is only 250 words so you may have very good reasons but as is, the exchange sounds vague.

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