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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

#2 Dialogue Thinking of You

This in-depth critique is in two sections. The first is the original, critiqued in the usual fashion. The second section is how I would edit the dialogue.
**
Part I
Title: Thinking of You
Genre: NA Light Sci-Fi

“Carson, say hi to Relic.New paragraph. He made a slight gurgling sound that made me smile. “I guess Carson has been thinking of you too.”

            “What about you?” His voice seemed kind of soft. Think of it this way, his voice is either soft or it isn’t. Make up your mind:)I had a feeling we weren’t discussing just the code word anymore and I was scared of that. It’s understandable, don’t you think so?

            I swallowed, my next words had to be chosen carefully, something I wasn’t so good at. Words for others to use were lots easier. “Of course, I have. You’re helping me complete my mission, remember?” [You’re telling someone to remember? Wow, it must be bad.] I ground my teeth and forced myself not to punch myself in the face

            It was quiet on the other end, I probably hadn’t said what he wanted me too but at the same time I hadn’t hurt his feelings or given away any of mine. Not that I had any, did I? I cleared my throat awkwardly, “Is everything ready, do you think?”

Lots of internal conversation will slow the story.  Use internal sparingly.

            “Yeah, I applied for the time off, said it was for family. I should be there sometime tonight,” I could tell by his tone that he was trying to be cheerful, though he wasn’t really succeeding at it.

Dialogue needs less explaining.

            “Okay, I’ll be ready.” I sat back down on the cushioned window seat. If I ever settled down with a house of my own, I was definitely getting one of these. “It’s strange. It’s raining outside but the sun is shining.”

            I heard a little chuckle, “You know what Wayne says about that?”

            I smiled setting the phone between my ear and shoulder to mess with Carson’s hands. He laughed as I made them zoom and fly all over the place like tiny airplanes, “What?”

            His voice became deeper and slower as if he was trying to imitate the older man, “I like to think that somewhere a government bastard is crying while the rest of us laugh, smile, and are merry.”

            I sat up straight, almost dumping Carson on the floor, I quickly stood back up, rocking him gently, whispering sorrys. He whimpered a little bit, giving me a betrayed look. “What did you say?”

            “I said, I like to-”

            I interrupted, “No, I got that part. Hey, I have to go. Something important just came up.”

            I hung up the phone, not waiting for a good-bye and rushed to find Jamie in her bedroom.

***
Part II
Title: Thinking of You
Genre: NA Light Sci-Fi

“Carson, say hi to Relic.”
He made a gurgling sound that made me smile.
“I guess Carson has been thinking of you too.”
            “What about you?” His soft voice caught me by surprise. We weren’t discussing the code word any more.
            I swallowed and chose my next words carefully, something I wasn’t good at doing. Picking words for others to use were lots easier.
“Of course, I have. You’re helping me complete my mission, remember?” I ground my teeth. Later maybe I’d punch myself in the face for the stupid comment.
            It was quiet on the other end. I cleared my throat awkwardly. “Is everything ready, do you think?” I asked.
            “Yeah, I applied for the time off, said it was for family. I should be there sometime tonight.”
            “Okay, I’ll be ready.” I sat back down on the cushioned window seat. “That’s strange. It’s raining outside but the sun is shining.”
            I heard a little chuckle. “You know what Wayne says about that?”
            “What?”
            “I like to think,” he said in a deeper mature voice, “that somewhere a government bastard is crying while the rest of us laugh, smile, and are merry.”
            I sat up straight, almost dumping Carson on the floor. He whimpered a bit and gave me a betrayed look.
“What did you say?” I asked.
            “I said, I like to --”
            I interrupted. “No, I got that part. Hey, I have to go. Something important just came up.”
            I hung up the phone, not waiting for a good-bye and rushed to find Jamie in her bedroom.

6 comments:

Tara Tyler said...

it gets good at the end of the piece, i like how he triggers an action for her!

once i figured out who the characters are (which i would know before in the piece) Carson is a baby? or child? and Relic is on the phone with mc - it was easier to read

i like her awkwardness, she likes Relic & doesnt know it yet =) (dont even need "awkwardly" because you show it, or "i asked" in that line, either.)

Huntress did a great job w/crit. its much smoother & more intense w/less telling description.

i liked this scene, i seem to remember another part of this story a while back. it's interesting so i'd like to read more!

Halli Gomez said...

I agree that it was easier to read once I figured out the characters. If Relic is on the phone, the first line seemed a little awkward.

I like the lines and it flowed better after the revisions. Too many internal thoughts broke up the flow for me.

Great ending!

Huntress said...

The ending was great. I stopped crittering because it captured my attention!

I agree with Tara about wanting to see more. BTW, 'Relic' is an exCellent name. Super.

childrensbooksheal.com said...

Wow, enjoyed watching you edit this piece. There is so much more action and it flows so much better! I write PB, and haven't thought about how complex YA writing is. You're good.
Patricia Tilton

Cortney said...

Great critique, and good tension in the dialogue! I'm with everyone else, I want to know more. I just have a few other suggestions (if that's okay!!!)--

The word "made" is used twice in the second sentence, and I know agents frown on that.

Also, I had no idea she was on the phone until the end, and it jarred me a little. What about having her struggle and almost drop the phone when she keeps baby Carson from falling off her lap? That way we have the sense she's both holding the phone to her ear and a baby on her lap and it could add even more tension in the scene?

Nice work!!

mshatch said...

I assume this is taken way out of context hence our difficulty in determining who said what. If not, that should be made clear. I'm also not sure what Carson is which made it strange. Is he a baby? Anyway, I LOVE how whatever he said made her (?) jump up and...I wonder what she's going to do next? I wonder what's going to happen?

awesome ending to the scene. Excellent crit, imho.