Dialogue #4

"I don't think my boss wants to hear you're neutral," I countered, watching Caim's assistant strut away. Maria looked pissed as she stormed out of the restaurant. Good.

Po sighed, looking back toward the bustling kitchen. "I have fifteen workers to protect. I need to know we'll be safe."

"Caim couldn't guarantee you his protection?"

"I cannot say." His face was blank. Tight to the vest, our Li Po.

I leaned across the greasy counter, looking him in the eye. "Say Labal takes you in. What if Baal and Labal go to war? Are you neutral then? Even if Baal still owns your soul?"

He was doing some sort of calculation in his head. I couldn't imagine what it was, but he nodded, slowly at first, then two strong shakes of his jaw. A final decision. "If Labal takes us in, we will serve him to the death."

Jaye says:

You do a great job of distinguishing the speakers by their "voices." The narrator is direct and informal, while Po is enigmatic and formal-- "cannot" instead of "can't." You also make good use of action and description to break up the speaking parts and ramp up the tension, i.e. will Po agree? I honestly don't have much to quibble with because this is an excellent scene. Stacia?

Stacia says:

First, I really love the feel of this one! Very intriguing.
As Jaye says, I really can't find much to comment on here. I'm not crazy about having a character described as both "strutting" and "storming", as they're two different things. I also might go for "I leaned across the greasy counter to stare him right in the eyes" or "I planted my elbows on the greasy counter and pinned him with my eyes"--something that adds to the gritty, hard-boiled feel a bit more. But what's there isn't bad or wrong, it's just me trying to punch everything up. (And you might think my suggestions are terrible, which is just fine too. :-) )


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