Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Let's Talk Blogfest

I had a hard time finding a scene from my WIP that's heavy on dialogue but doesn't give too much away or hasn't been posted on the blog yet. So I pulled this from my untitled NaNoWriMo project that fizzled out and died. This evolved from a really crappy short story I posted on the blog about a year ago. I think it'll be YA science fiction (maybe horror or dystopian) if I ever finish it. :)

And this is my first attempt at writing a teenage male protag, so if the narrator sounds too girly, I would love to hear your thoughts.


“Dude, are you crying again?” I laughed. “You are such a girl.”

“So what if I am?” Devan’s back stiffened and his gaze darkened, but those were definitely tears.

Kid needs to toughen up. I shook my head as he stormed out of the room and turned my attention to Emery. “What do you want for dinner?” I held up a dented can of chicken noodle soup and a can of beans. “We got a wide selection here.”

“You're so mean!” Her tiny hands balled into tight fists, and her nose wrinkled as she glared up at me.

“What’s your problem?” I jerked my head toward the bedroom. “You got a crush on the little girl in there.”

She stomped out after Devan, screaming as she went. “Boys are so stupid! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!”

Whatever. I dropped into the chair next to the fireplace and used my knife to pry the top off the soup can. If they didn’t want to make any of the decisions, that was fine with me. Though I could've used some help figuring out what to do next. We were sitting ducks in this house. If we wanted to survive, we needed to find more people, whether Devan agreed to go with us or not.

“Michael?” Emery tugged on my sleeve, pulling me from my thoughts. “I'm sorry. I don’t hate you. Promise.” She sniffled and wrapped her arms around my neck.

“I know, kid. It’s okay.” I pulled her onto my lap and hugged her. “How’s your boyfriend doing in there? He suck it up yet?”

“You should be nicer to Devan. There might be stuff you don’t know about him that you’ll feel bad about later.”

“What kind of stuff?” I set her down next to me, holding her shoulders. “You can’t be keeping secrets from me. Did he do something to you?” If that creep laid one finger on my little sister…

“No.” Her eyes widened. “Don’t be mad. He didn’t do anything real bad.”

“What do you mean, he didn't do anything real bad?” I jumped up, my chair scraping across the floor, and threw open the bedroom door. “What the hell’d you do to—”

Devan stood in front of the dresser mirror with his shirt off. Tight, white bandages covered most of his torso.

My jaw clenched. “When were you going to tell me, you little cretin? When’d you get bit? Yesterday? Was it before we got here?” I pounded my fist against the wall, cracking the drywall. “You could turn on us at any minute and you don’t have the decency to warn us?”

He just stared, his mouth hanging open.

“Emery and I are leaving first thing tomorrow.” I jabbed my finger in his direction. “Without you.”

Emery flinched as the door slammed shut behind me, echoing through the small house. She curled up in a ball on the couch, her bottom lip trembling. I grabbed the shotgun and paced in front of the fireplace. Don’t know where we’re going, but we gotta get out of here before idiot boy in there turns into one of them.


Thanks for reading! All honest thoughts are welcome. :) Be sure to check out the other posts here.


  1. Oh, this has a great idea behind it! And I bet he is a girl! Wondering what "turn into one of them" refers to.

    I enjoyed this and think you should keep mulling the idea over.

    I thought it sounded like a boy. One track minded and totally oblivious to the obvious. (sorry to any guys reading this)

  2. Great job, Abby! I liked Charity's idea--that maybe he's a she binding the old breasts. I didn't think of that when I read it, but I like it!

    And he sounded convincing to me!

  3. This is great. Nicely done. Kudos to you writing from a male POV. I really like the relationship between him and his sister. Of course the ending made me want to read on.
    Great job!

  4. Great conversation! My brother's name is Devin, spelled a little different. It's a great name :)

  5. I enjoyed this scene! The dialog was strong and believable. I was thinking the same thing Charity and Summer said -- bet he's a she!

  6. Zombies? Something like zombies? I hope so, since I'm a sucker for any and all things zombie related. I can't help myself.

    I was a touch confused whether Devan was a boy or girl. Partly because of the name spelling and partly because of how Michael reacted around him/her.

    Nevertheless, you have a great and intriguing start of something here. I think it's well worth you revisiting it in the future.

  7. oooh is it zombies? I hope it's zombies.
    I didn't feel that the voice was too femenine or girly at all. It read very much to me of a teen boy so no worries there.
    i had the same problem as you. all my heavy dialogue scenes in my WIP are scenes where BIG THINGS ARE REVEALED so i didn't want to post them.
    Good job! loved the dialogue

  8. I thought the voice sounded authentic but that the scene needs to slow down a little. The emotions change too quickly. The little sister appears, suddenly so angry then just as suddenly isn't angry a few lines later--give her time for her emotion to build and release. A few sentences inserted would do the trick. You've got a great start on which to build though. Interesting characters and situation.

  9. Kids alone against the Big Bad is always a great tension builder so you've got a good start. I was confused at first as to who was who--it may have been the line "you got a crush on the little girl in there" that got me mixed up since I was just meeting the characters. I'm intrigued and want to know what's going to happen. And I like Michael's take-charge attitude. He's tough and protective.

  10. Interesting scene. Thanks for sharing! (The narrator might be a little girly. But if you just play up the mocking tone a bit, I think you can get the reader over that and make it clear that your narrator is a boy.)

  11. I loved this! Now I want to read more, I want to know what he's going to turn into! Great job :)

  12. I can see the femininity but not so much that it can't be helped. I agree with the suggestion about mocking a bit more. But other than that I totally got it was a boy.

    Love the excerpt though - you should definitely revisit it!

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

  13. He sounded natural to me : a too young man trying to be a man and not knowing quite how to pull it off in time to keep his sister and he from being killed.

    Great job, Roland

  14. I didn't think it sounded girlie. :) I ♥ writing guy/boy dialogue and POV because it's such a different mindset then writing a girl. And you definitely got me interested in what was going to happen!

    Thanks for participating!

  15. Gender conflicts? Life-death scenarios.

    Zombies? Where did zombies come in?

    Interesting blurb.

    - Eric

  16. I agree with Charity :) And I think you should keep expanding on this one.

    You did good with the dialogue.

  17. Is it zombies??? I LOVE Zombies!

    This was great, I think your MC definitely sounds male. I would love to read more!

  18. I like the excerpt, but I agree with Laurel that the girl may change emotions too quickly...or maybe more time passed between the hate you scene and when she came back and I didn't catch it. The MC sounded authentically dude-like.

    Good job!

  19. Oh, that's exciting. I definitely want to read more. I thought he sounded like a teenage boy. Good job!

  20. Abby! You need to finish this. It's great. So much angst and tension. Plus you leave us guessing with this snippet and wanting to know more.

    Finish it!

    As a side note, look at you--almost at 200 followers. Congrats!

  21. I thought zombies, too. I'm currently writing a zombie book, so I'm basically obsessed right now with anything I can get my hands on.

    I didn't have any problem with the protag's voice. He sounds like a younger teenager though...13 or 14. I don't know if that was the goal. However, Emery's voice seems very mature for the age range I think you're going for. I'd concentrate on her before trying to change the protag.

  22. I didn't think your protag sounded too girly, but I agree with Charity. The other character definitely sounded like one! And are you writing about zombies? Fab! :)

  23. The voice was fine. Now I'm curious, too, about the bites or lack thereof, and what they would lead to. My first assumption is zombies, of course, and that's bad enough. Good read.

  24. I loved this! I seriously wanted to keep reading to see what happens next. You've nailed three characters in such a short period of time. Really great!

  25. Oh, I loved this! Nice voice, good tension, excellent pace. I'm hooked -- and this really isn't my favorite genre.

  26. I liked the scene and didn't think the boy sounded girly. Well done. Definitely want to read more...

  27. Nice one, definitely not girly. I think its actually more fun as a female to write from a guys perspective. Makes you think about every word.

  28. I like the zombie angle. And I like the thought that Devin might really be a girl.

    Great dialogue, especially the little sister. She really showed her age. :-D

  29. I really, really liked this. You did a wonderful job with the male protagonist, he's not too girly at all, and I love how protective he is of his little sister. Nice post!

  30. Wow! This fizzled? Sounds like you just need to do some writerly brainstorming with writerly friends. I really loved this. Like loved, loved.

  31. My mind is reeling. I want to know what he's turning into. Great job. Keep working on this one.

  32. Ohh. I really want to know more about this. I'm imagining something rather post-apocalyptic and it intrigues me.

    I agree that you nailed the voice of a teenage boy!

  33. I really like this excerpt, and I think you got the voice just right. There's some good tension here too. Stay on the same path and I'm sure it'll come out great. Nice job.

  34. Me likes! I didn't read anything off about the gender...but I do agree that the girl did cool off rather quickly! Nice job!! :)

  35. Love the voice here, which really seems to be one of your strengths! I guess all your "research" (by which I mean, "motherhood") has payed off. ;)

  36. He want's to sound tough, in control, but he is scare witless, on the edge, running from "them" and anything connected with "them".

    Great stuff!

  37. Hi Abby! I loved your little story line here and the dialogue between them!!!
    I have an award waitin for ya!! :D

  38. ...one of THEM! I like it!

    I don't think your protag sounds girly - it did not occur to me in reading but I LOVE the idea about Devan hiding boobies. Zombies meets Mulan?

    I had to re-read the first couple of lines to make sure I was keeping the people straight, but from there it was clear. The pace is great, and the snide comments are perfect to me. Tough kid trying to sound like a man.

    I agree with another comment that the sister leaves angry and then pops back in quite soon with the apology. Not a deal breaker because it is real, but perhaps it needs some more lead-in there.

    I wish the line where the sister alludes to the unknown thing happening with Devan was less obvious, more mysterious, and sounded "younger".

    Hope this is helpful... I think this is a good piece and you've got me hooked.

    Great Stuff!

  39. Too late to comment, but well, still catching up !

    This is the first am reading from male POV and it feels good :)

    The few dialogues hooked me in and I want to know what's going to happen !

    Great work :)