Monday, August 20, 2018

Talkin' Heads #9

TITLE: Curse Of Climate Change
GENRE: MG Contemporary Fantasy

(no lead-in provided)

Natalia continued kicking stones, feeling the warmth of the sun on her back. Miguel joined her kicking small stones. They both love playing soccer at school.
“You are quiet today,” Miguel said.
“I’m thinking about helping my mother today and doing homework,” she said. “And Diaro de Chiapas rejected my short story.”
“But last time the newspaper published your story about the coffee plantations in Chiapas,” Miguel said. “Just keep writing new stories.”
“I want to write a story about a special woman, but which one?”
“Maybe you can write about La Llorona,” Miguel suggested.
Natalia loved meeting ghosts, except one. She didn’t want to meet La Llorona. No way. That would bring nightmares and make Natalia crawl under bed.
 “Hmm,” Natalia said. “It’s scary to write about her. I want to write about someone brown and chubby like me. But, I’ll send my story about seeing ghosts to the newspaper.”
“Good luck. It’s amazing that you’ve seen ghosts. I didn’t see any. Do you still see them?”
“All. The. Time,” she replied. “But …”
“But what?” he asked.
“The ghosts talk to me but I don’t hear their voices. Their lips move and their mouths open, but no sound.”
“Do they hear you?”
“I think that they do,” Natalia replied. “When I talk to them, they talk back. Last time when my grandmother came, I put a paper and a pen on the table and asked her to write what she said. She tried and tried to pick up the pen, but could not.
“Ghosts are like clouds,” he said.
“My parents believe that I see ghosts. Papa said that it’s part of our Mexican culture.”


  1. This sounds like a fun premise. I love ghost stories in MG and there are not enough books out there that incorporate Mexican culture. I do think the dialogue here needs some work. There's a lot of repetition. In the beginning you already say Natalia is kicking stones, so in the next sentence you could just say that Miguel joined her. Then you have "today" two sentences in a row and "story" multiple times. There are also a few places where the wording is a little awkward, like where you say she loved meeting ghosts, except one. That makes it sound like she's met that ghost and didn't like the experience, but in the next sentence you say she hasn't met her. I think if you could reword those places, it would make it read smoother.

  2. I'd like to see something a bit more active in the opening scene - have Natalia really preoccupied with kicking the stones. Then maybe Miguel's kicked stone crosses the path of hers and that get her attention - pulls her out of feeling sad, or preoccupied. And then we find out her story was rejected.

    I like Miguel's encouragement.

    And I like the description of the ghosts. You set up an interesting premise for your ghost story. Natalia might react - a sharp in take of breath, when Miguel says La Llorona's name - so we know from something she does that Natalia's afraid of that ghost.

  3. I'm a little confused by "They both love playing soccer at school." Whose POV is this and what does it have to do with why they are kicking stones?

    Aside from that, I find it odd that she goes from being quiet to blurting out her secret on the next line. If she doesn't want to admit this, I would expect her to try a little harder to hide it. Also, I think this needs more internal thought from the POV character. You have a few lines but they sound more like narration that thought.

    Good luck!

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