Friday, March 16, 2007

Dialogue F

From my current WIP, a dark paranormal - Soul Reavers: Tori

The moment she stepped onto the balcony, Tori moved away from Nikolai’s touch and rounded on him. "What has gotten into you?"

Nikolai stalked toward her like a panther, a wicked grin curving his lips up on one side. "Misha, we could be good together. You and I."

The railing pressed against her bottom and Tori cursed her involuntary retreat. "I'm not interested, Nikolai. You know that."

He stopped and shook his head. "Such a waste, Misha. You are too young to have given up on love."

Tori gave an unlady like [unladylike] snort and her muscles relaxed. Nikolai posed her no threat. "What you propose has nothing to do with love."

He lifted his hands in mock defeat. "Still, it could be fun. No?"

"I've chosen my path, Nikolai. There is no room for entanglements. Of any kind."

"And yet, you were in love. Once." [He knows this, she knows it, and this isn't about love anyway, so why say it? Oh, right, we don't know it. But we can infer it from his next line.]

Tori bristled. "I was young and naive."

Nikolai leaned close and purred in her ear. "You still pine for him, Misha. I can feel it."

As it always did when her temper flared, her skin grew hot and her fingertips burned. "Don't presume to know what I feel, Nikolai." She took several deep breaths and the soft glow that had already begun to infuse her skin, receded[,] along with the burn. "I may have thought I was in love. Once. But, one night changed all that. "I changed." And he left.

~Sandra Barkevich

Well done. Better that information be conveyed in dialogue than in a narrator's info-dump, but not if both people talking already know the info.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tori--

Using EE's recomendation, I'd reverse these two lines of dialogue:

Tori bristled. "I was young and naive."

Nikolai leaned close and purred in her ear. "You still pine for him, Misha. I can feel it."

In other words, have Nikolai tell her she still pines for him and then Tori says she was young and naive.

Good job overall though,


Sandra Barkevich said...

Thank you so much EE. I do have a question, and perhaps I should have set this scene up before submitting...

Does it make a difference that:

Nikolai has actually manipulated Tori to reveal this information out loud because he knows the hero, the one who left all those years ago, has followed them and is listening to the conversation from a hidden place? And, Nikolai, very mischievous half-demon that he is, has decided to try his hand at matchmaking? He is actually acting a bit out of character in this scene and it unnerves Tori. He doesn't usually try to seduce her.

Should I still make the changes you suggest, or does the context change this? Oh, and the reader knows the hero is listening, and that he’s been manipulated to do so by Nikolai’s actions in the previous scene.

Again, thank you so much for your review of my work. You are doing a fantastic thing for us.

Sandy :-)

Sandra Barkevich said...

anonymous 10:00 AM ~ ILS,

Thank you. I will switch those. It does make her reaction more powerful, I think.

I was very nervous about submitting my work here. I am so glad I did. I also have a query on the list. I am both excited and freaked out by that fact. LOL.

Sandy :-)

Evil Editor said...

It's now more reasonable for Nikolai to bring up the past love. On the other hand, "You still pine for him," implies it anyway. I'd still drop those two lines, but maybe have him speak rather than purr, assuming the ex-lover isn't close enough to hear purring.

If the idea is to give the hiding guy hope, you may want to bring back the lines about having been in love until one night changed all that, however.

Sandra Barkevich said...

Very cool, EE. Thank you very much! I am off to do some tightening.

Sandy :-)

whitemouse said...

This is really nice and tense. In the first few paragraphs, there were a few places where I thought the writing wasn't very smooth, but overall, this scene works really well. Good work!

Sandra Barkevich said...


Thank you. I probably should have also mentioned that this is an early Victorian piece (1845). Do you think the parts you felt weren't smooth are because you thought you were reading a contemporary?

Sandy :-)

McKoala said...

I didn't spot that this was Victorian. Tori seems a very contemporary name; and some of the dialogue seems equally contemporary. ('What has gotten into you?' 'I'm not interested').

writtenwyrdd said...

this is a case (for me) of knowing the situation making the scene work when it didn't before. I didn't like it without the context. To me it came across badly and didn't work at all. Knowing the context, however, I think it does work and I did like it. I really liked EE's cuts for it, though.

Sandra Barkevich said...

McKoala ~ This snippet is taken from further in the story where the reader already knows Tori is actually Victoria who has adopted an alter ego. (She’s more herself as Tori, though. Victoria is a spinster and the height of decorum in Society. Coveted but untouchable.) She isn't human either, which was a shock to her and very unwelcome, but she's made due. Yes, she does have a bit of a modern twist to her dialogue. But, that is also explained by her best friend, Lillian, a witch, who "sees" very, very far into the future...Ummm, this talent has no use for them in 1845, but Lillian likes and adopts some of the language and mannerisms of the modern day women she's "seen", and Tori has also picked up a few of these quirks. Lillian will have her own story too. She’s so much fun to write as she doesn’t always use the phrases she’s learned in the proper context. As odd as it seems, there is a motive to my madness here. LOL. This is a Dark Paranormal with some humor thrown in.

writtenwyrdd ~ Thank you. I agree with EE's cuts too. I am working on revisions now and will try to keep his advice in mind as I work on the rest of the story. This is a wonderful venue for helping serious writers.

Sandy :-)

Bernita said...

Why not call her "Toria?"

Sandra Barkevich said...


Hmmm.... not bad. I didn't call her Toria because, well, it just never occurred to me. LOL. I will have to think that through. I don't know if she'll agree to the name change though. But, I might be able to explain it. Adam, the hero, doesn't know her as anything but Victoria. He's been gone for 9 years and the last he'd seen of her was the eve of her 18th birthday and she was frail and sickly (as she'd been all her life). Things happened that night, though. And she is not the same woman he knew. In any aspect. I could see him not understanding Victoria going by such an odd name. Hmmmmm...the creative juices are flowing.

Thank you, Bernita!
Sandy :-)