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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dialogue Crit #1

I'm only going to crit the dialogue here, because what you put in between the dialogue and how you tag it is a whole different can of worms.Yellow highlighter points out word repetition, something you want to generally avoid... though in dialogue, people do it more than they should. That pesky reality getting in the way again!

Title: Faerie Wings
Genre: YA/NA contemporary fantasy

People danced through an endless garden. They drifted through large French doors in and out of the real garden and back to dance some more. Chandeliers bathed the room in soft yellow to match the lanterns outside. The dimmer lighting subdued the swirl of colors. Instead of the warm sweaty air I associated with dances, a cool floral breeze drifted through the room.

“What magic is at work here?” I had to lean close to Carter so he could hear me.

“Can you guess?”

“The breeze?”

“Good. Who wants to dance in the heat? You can see that most people have calmed their colors as well.”


Most people like to keep their emotions to themselves when dancing in public.”

“Not where I come from.” I warmed when Carter placed his hand on my back and led me onto the dance floor.
“I don’t dance. Please, can’t we sit somewhere instead?”

“Dancing will make it impossible for your admirers to talk to you. Isn’t that what you want? And anyway, this is what they want. To see us together, happy and in love.” If it's important to Carter to give the audience what they want (a question of his character), he can entice her into wanting that too or he can give her a solid reason why it will harm her if she doesn't -- carrot or stick. Right now, and in light of her response, this comes across as a mishmash of mild carrot and mild stick. Maybe it needs re-phrasing. Maybe he responds to her response with something more definite.

Heat rushed to my face, “But we’re not in love, and I really can’t dance."

I dug my heels in and we stopped moving forward.

“Mo Run, please. Trust me. You’ll find dancing here easier than on the human side.” Again, not much of a carrot. If this keeps up, he's going to come across as less than motivated. OTOH, her motivations are decently clear. Thumbs up.

“I doubt that.” Didn’t he realize it was impossible to dance when you’ve never heard the music before? I mean, it wasn’t bad. In fact I liked it, but you would never hear it in a club. The music had definite Celtic undertones with some rocking drums thrown in. The problem lie in the fact it couldn’t make up its mind about tempo. Some of the instruments filled the air with lyrical ballads while others played something more like a jig.

The couples in the room didn’t seem to mind. They all danced in their own way. Some rushed around the room spinning with legs and arms flying in intricate patterns. Others danced close and slow.

“What is this? Pick your own tune?”

“You’re smarter than you look. Character call: patronizing tone. Let’s start with something slower?” Carter reached for me and pulled me into dance position.

“It’s really pick your own tune?”

“Yes. Right now there are,” he paused and cocked his head to the side, “four different songs playing.”

“I’ve gone crazy.” Relevance? How does her being crazy influence the music? Though if is this a phrase she uses often, leave it.

“Trust me for one night. Let go of all your fears and give in to your imagination.” Character call: semi-canned phrases.

Carter stood so close, his eyes boring into mine. I could feel his warm hand on my back, just above the scars. His other hand squeezed mine and I wanted to let go like he asked. I really did, but his fingers were sliding down toward my waist. They paused, then moved again tracing one of the lines down my back. His brow crinkled and I stepped away from his hold.

“Mo run?”

His eyes were so deep. Bottomless pools of concern. He hadn’t bargained on me being damaged goods. Even if I wanted this life, I would never fit in. Not with these beautiful, perfect people and their swirling colors.


mshatch said...

I agree with your crit L. Good character calls!

Aldrea Alien said...

Hard to focus on the dialogue alone. Not sure I’m wired for that ...
I’ve read this over a couple of times and have to agree he’s not offering up much in the way of an incentive for her to dance. However, not knowing what comes before, I cannot be certain just how badly she wants to escape talking to these 'admirers' if the prospect of dancing badly in front of whoever (the admirers, I’m assuming) is worse to her.
I don’t think the “I’ve gone crazy.” really fits with the rest. It’s a little jarring, especially as the bits before make it sounds as if she’s been wherever she is for long enough to realise things aren’t all straightforward. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d find four songs playing at once very harsh on the ears.

For the record, I wouldn’t trust him. ^_^ I don’t tend to trust anyone who uses the phrase ‘trust me’ in RL, much less in a story, especially twice in such a short space.
And someone tell me it’s meant to be 'Mo Run' not 'Mo run'.

Aldrea Alien said...

Woo, I was not expecting it to look like a wall-o-text.

LD Masterson said...

I'm having trouble separating the action and tags from the dialogue. It seems they are and neeed to be woven together. Your crit comments, however, are good calls.

Aldrea Alien said...

Yes, that's the reason I had trouble too.

Charity Bradford said...

Yeah, sorry I couldn't find a big chunk of just dialogue for you.

I've loved all the comments and have to say L pegged Carter to a tee. For a big chunk of the book he doesn't know what he wants and gives off all kinds of mixed signals making him out to be a bit of a jerk.

And I totally agree about that canned line. This is first draft and I admit I resort to cliches and stock lines just to keep moving forward. It's now been marked for rewrite when the time comes.

Thanks everyone!

Charity Bradford said...

So is this a bad thing or good? Never sure. I do have sections of mostly dialogue without all the descriptions, but I felt the scene needed to play a part here.

Donna Hole said...

I liked the character and world building in the scene. The dialogue felt introductory, the characters to each other, the separate character plots, and the "place" as being other than human. Not knowing what led up to the scene, or how early in the novel this is, I am intrigued by the world and characters.

But, the dialogue was passive. Again, I almost feel that was intentional; a sort of feeling-each-other-out scene.