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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stuck in the Middle #3

Welcome another submission! We take this portion from late in the author's WIP.

Title: Sendek
Genre: Science Fantasy

Lead in: Landry just caught Talia drinking the sunsrise and it has sparked this conversation. Talia wonders again about Landry's blue eyes (most of their planet are brown eyed--like 99%) and asks when he was born.
My question: Is this too much in one "dump".

“When I visited Gneledar, to check your background, the midwife claimed that the first period is a time of highly concentrated magic. Do you think that’s possible?”
“I don’t know, but everyone I’ve met that was born during the first period has one thing in common—anomalous (would Talia use this word? It slowed me down to pronounce it) eye color. None of them hinted at anything else, but then again neither did I. What if everyone born during the first period has some secret talent similar to ours?”
Landry hesitated before answering. “I think it’s a stretch. If people born during the first period had magical abilities it would be common place. There would be people all over the place working magic and you wouldn’t have to search them out.”
“They’re hiding like I was.” Talia squeezed his hand tighter without realizing it.
“Think about it logically. Why have you hidden your talents?”
Talia frowned but didn’t give up. “Because when I talked about the dreams as a child everyone shunned me. By the age of five I was marked as the freak girl. Five. And it was the adults who taught their children that I was different. That’s where it started, but as I grew up I knew that scientists in the medical field would kill to be able to do what I can do. What kind of life would I have had led if everyone know knew about the sunsrise? (I understand your point here, it’s just tough to read. Needs smoothing out)
“Yes, but if everyone born in the first period had these talents, more people would know about the sunsrise. There would be others with healing talents. There would be no need to cut them up and study them because it would be common place. The best doctors available would be these gifted individuals.”
“But if magic has never been a way of life, maybe those with the abilities are afraid of themselves.” Talia pulled her hand from his and turned away. “I refuse to think I’m the only freak on Sendek.” (Poor Talia, she’s reaching. You do a great job making us feel for her. But I’d change one of the “freak”s)
Landry reached out and turned her face back toward him. “Hey, looks like I’m a freak too. I’m not saying you’re wrong. I’m just saying it doesn’t make sense.”

Not much to tweak that I can see. I think this is a great example of how to stealthily add back story – in a heated discussion. It’s not an “As you know, Bob” lecture. The dialog keeps the tempo moving and it doesn’t feel forced. Thanks for that peek into Talia’s story! She’s an interesting, spunky girl! I'd like to know more about her world.


Huntress said...

I agree with Tara. Good way to insert backstory, especially heated dialogue.

This is not too much dump, btw. Like Goldilocks, it is just right.

mshatch said...

I concur; it's not too much of an info dump. I actually like info within dialogue because it never feels like an info dump - assuming it's done right, of course :)