Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Let's Talk

 I love dialogue! And the "let's talk" blogfest is perfect for a person like me.
Make sure to check out the other entries thanks to the awesome blogfest host: Fiction Groupie, the blogfest host blog

*** Side note: This is the last blogfest for the month and I'm going to focus on getting caught up in things other then writing while lowering my stress levels. But I might post a couple times at least. So, no worries.

Dialogue is awesomeness and very fun. I used to take part in a contest on writing.com where a prompt would be posted and the item had to be dialogue but nothing else. No dialogue tags either. Just the quoted words. It was great. Here is a link to my favorite one Psychology Speaks . The prompt was to write about a doctor/psychologist/psychiatrist's most difficult patient. It's fun, or so I think.

Background for the scene: Noah is the hero, main character. But the villain, Valk, has his father, brother and boyfriend captive. So, at this point in the novel he is sort of working for the villain, under his control. And SS stands for "Superhero Society". It's not the most creative but I think the SS symbol is cool and those words fit. It's a government linked agency of mutants that don't have to wear the identification bands. The Suits have no control over them. Noah's family works for SS but he refused to become a part of the organization.

Excerpt from Standing Ground

Valk raised an eyebrow but didn't pry further. Instead, he let go of Noah and turned his own chair so he could face him. "Can I ask you something personal?"

He didn't know what to make of the whole situation. This was the weirdest Valk had ever acted and there had to be a reason behind it. He decided to play along for awhile to at least see where he was trying to go with the conversation. "Depends."

"In the past, did your father ever talk to you about anything important?"

"Like what?"

"I mean," Valk placed on hand on the table near them and crossed his leg over his knee as he sat back a bit on the chair. "Okay. I've said a lot of crap about your dad to make you mad but let's put that aside for now. You have to know that your father isn't intelligent. He's more brawn than brains."

Noah didn't speak or even acknowledge the truth in the statements. Instead, he sat and listened.

Valk crossed his arms, still keeping his eyes trained on Noah. “Let me guess. I bet your father never could help with any homework. He never talked to you about your mutation, what it means, or anything like that. In fact, I’ll even wager he never gave you the parental sex talk.”

“Yeah. So?”

“Doesn't that bother you? That your father could never help you or at least talk to you about anything when you needed him.”

Noah stared at him, blinking a few times. The conversation didn’t make sense and he hated feeling like he didn’t know what was going on. “I don’t see your point. Even if it did bother me, what does it matter now?”

“Do you want to talk to me?”

This almost got a laugh out of Noah... almost. The conversation had gone from weird to super awkward. “You want to talk to me about sex?”

Valk did laugh. “No. From what I can tell, you figured that one out yourself. I was thinking we should have a discussion about your mutation.”

“I’m pretty sure I've got that one figured out too.”

"Sure you have some things figured out, like exploding melons. But there are things you need to know but don't."

A twinge shot through Noah's arm as he pushed his hand into his knee. Now at least he knew the fruit incident was the reason for the summer melon on the table. Valk had to have access to the SS school records for him to know about it. At last, he had to bite. "What is it? This is getting weird so why don't you tell me what you want to say instead of talking around it."

"Okay, then. Straight to the point." Valk adjusted his shirt and sat up even more in the chair. "How long do you think SS is going to let you be out on your own, or even the government? Do you really think you will be able to live without being controlled and used?"

It was not the direction he had expected, in the slightest. "What do you mean?"

"Come on, Noah. Don't be so naive." He uncrossed his legs and settled down, putting a hand on each knee as he focused even more on Noah, if that was possible. "You are too strong for them to allow free reign. The government and SS can't afford to have someone like you left uncontrolled. They haven't used force yet, but there were plans set up. You were running out of time."


stu said...

I like the villain's dialogue, though I think I might have liked to see slightly more from the hero in response, just to create more of a back and forth rhythm in the conversation.

Christine Danek said...

Interesting. I want to more about the mutation. Great job!

Tessa Conte said...

hmmm intriguing...now I want to know more! What's going on here, exactly? What SS are they speaking about? What mutation?

Lots of questions left over (that's a good thing)!

Iapetus999 said...

The convo seems almost too casual. What's at stake here? I'd like to know what they want from each other.
The conversation didn’t make sense and he hated feeling like he didn’t know what was going on

Dawn Embers said...

Thanks everyone for the comments.

Stu- Glad you like the villains part. It's a bit odd of a conversation for a villain but that's part of the fun.

Christine - Noah's mutation has to do with the manipulation/creation of energy/electricity. :-)

Tessa - Thanks. It's hard to tell at this point cause it's near the end of the novel. In general those things are answered throughout the book, at least in theory.

Iapetus - True, it is very casual. I almost went with the chapter before it after Noah gets in a fight (punching and what not) with one of the guards but this one was funny to me. So, it got posted instead.

Dawn Embers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Hi Dawn! You've got an interesting premise described, before the excerpt begins. The complicated relationships will be fun to write out. The dialog in this scene was less emotional than I'd expect. Typically, an adult insulting a younger man/boy's father would raise the boy's hackles, even if the boy's relationship with his dad were strained. Of course, I'm reading this totally out of context and there's plenty I don't know about the character dynamics. Still, I think adding a volley of emotional punches may serve this scene.

Best of luck with the project!

Jojomama said...

ooohhhh! Intriguing. Good job showing your characters and building tension.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, and I love the villain's characterization. I would think Noah might be a little more...I don't know, upset or something if this guy has his family. I love the premise here though! Nice job.

Dawn Embers said...

Yay, more comments.

Nicole - Very true. It's hard to tell just reading this because the things that happened in the 29 chapters before it are unknown.

Shalleemcarthur - Glad you like the premise.

I don't have too much emotional punch in this because there are only so many scene of getting messed with the character can handle. Earlier in this section Valk pushed his buttons enough to get a punch in the face, so those incidents do occur. Just not this particular one.

jojomama - Thanks. :-)

Raquel Byrnes said...

I like the premise and the almost diabolical way that VAlk casually distances Noah from his family with his comments and then shows him how he needs him...he knows whats' going on, right...and Noah is clueless.

Oooh! Bad guy...good guy? I can't tell just yet and that is why Valk is so interesting to me. Great job.

Just Another Sarah said...

I'm interested in knowing whether Balk is bad or good, too...I like the scene you chose. Thanks for sharing!

Amalia T. said...

This is a really interesting scene--and your premise sounds great! One thing I would definitely cut is the line in your second paragraph:

He decided to play along for awhile to at least see where he was trying to go with the conversation.

Show us that in the dialogue, instead of stating it outright here. Let's see Noah playing with Valk right back-- like he does when he says "you want to talk to me about sex?"

I think there is a lot of room in this scene for some more depth and emotion between them. Valk is great--I'd just like to see Noah reciprocate a bit more!

Susan Fields said...

This is great...I want to know more! Sounds like serious trouble brewing, and I had to chuckle at the sex talk part. Great dialogue here, very nicely done!

Dawn Embers said...

Always fun when I get to post multiple times cause other people are commenting on my blog posts.

Raquel - hehe. Thanks. Yeah, he's a weird mix of bad guy with a bit of good.

Sarah - Well, technically he is the villain. But will have to read the book to see how bad/good he is.

Amalia - Good point. I have issues with showing that will be worked out in rewrite. I won't add a bunch of emotion in this particular scene but they have a variety of interaction for such.

Susan - Thanks. :-D

Eric W. Trant said...

Like the idea of an SS, and agree that the name has some cheese in it, but not the initials. The initials SS always strike fear.

Easy conversation to read, and as Andrew (Iap) put it, a bit casual. I feel like a lot is at stake and either the characters don't understand it, or they don't show it properly.

In other words, I doubt I'd lump math homework and sex ed into a discussion about my ability to boil the water inside a man's body, and how I'm likely to be killed for having such an ability.

Hardly seems as low-stakes as condoms and algebra.

Not sure it's the dialogue or the descriptives, though.

That said, it was a great read, easy to follow, CLEAR -- the most important point in writing -- and makes me miss Heroes, which means you hit emotion.

- Eric

Dawn Embers said...

Thanks Eric. Very true that they are different aspects and wouldn't often go together. He does know a fair amount about his own power, and tries to hide it for the most part.

The sex talk would have been awkward, I'm trying to imagine it now. His father is super strong but not bright, and Noah is not strong and gay. Though he wouldn't know that during the teen years (the father). hmmmm

Thanks everyone for all the comments.

Tara said...

I'm still loving this story. Glad to see anothr snip

No worries about the confusion/lack of emotion - I had comments about the same. BUt, I agree: the others don't know what came in the previous 18 chapters to gt them here.

I assumed this was how their relationship played out at this point, and I really loved Noah's casual attitude toward Valk. I use the same approach with my MC and a main antag, too. Her calm is what unnerves him - and gets her in a position to save herself ;)

Loved the dialogue, too.

Simon C. Larter said...

Oh, intriguing, good lady! I like how the dialogue coasts through awkward, then gets right to the point. We've got both Valk and the father's characters displayed without overexplaining. Also, minimal use of dialogue tags makes me happy.

Nicely done!

C R Ward said...

Very intriguing! I like the fact that Noah isn't fooled by Valk's pretense and wants to cut straight to the chase. I want to know more about the mutation and what's going to happen to Noah!

Dawn Embers said...

((Tara)) - Very true. This is a late chapter in the book and the chapters before it set up their dynamics.

Simon - :-D Yay. Glad I don't have too many tags.

C R - Great comment. That makes me happy that you're intrigued by it.

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Love your premise and enjoyed your excerpt. Thanks so much for participating in the fest!

Nishant said...

This is a really interesting scene--and your premise sounds great! One thing I would definitely cut is the line in your second paragraph:
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