Roni Griffin at *Fiction Groupie* is hosting a wonderful blogfest today focusing on dialogue. Now, I have to admit, dialogue is my personal Achilles' heel, so this is a great opportunity for me to get some great constructive criticism! So, here is my entry, and I welcome your comments. Be kind -- but be honest!
From my work in progress, A Novel Idea:
Jane was upstairs in her room when she heard a soft knock on the door.
"Mom, can I talk to you?" Jamie asked.
"Sure, hon, what is it?" Jamie handed her a piece of paper. It was a notice from school explaining that one of their students had died. It offered condolences to the family of the girl and grief counseling services for any of their students. Jane looked up from the note to see her daughter's face.
"Oh, honey, I'm so sorry. That's awful. Do you know who it was?"
"Yeah, Marsha Sampson. She was in my choir class."
"Did you know her very well?"
"Kind of. I mean, we just had the one class together, but I saw her every day."
"Did anybody say what happened?"
"Well, the teachers won't tell us anything, but everyone is saying she committed suicide." Jamie's brow furrowed. "She thought she didn't have any friends, but she did. She didn't sit by herself at lunch or anything. I don't know why she would kill herself, Mom."
Jane sat down on the edge of her bed and pulled Jamie down beside her. She put her arm around her daughter's shoulders.
"Honey, I'm sure there were things going on in her life that you didn't see. People kill themselves when they feel trapped, hopeless. When they can't see a way out. You know, there wasn't anything that you could have done."
Jamie buried her face in her mother's shoulder. There was a muffled, "Maybe."
Jane hugged her and for awhile they said nothing. Then Jamie pulled away from her mom and looked up at her. She tilted her head to the side and frowned.
"Mom?" she said in a small voice.
"Do you think Marsha went to hell? Some of the kids are saying she went to hell because she committed suicide."
Jane recoiled at the cruelty of children.
"Oh, I believe God is kinder than that," Jane said. "I like to think of Him waiting for her, taking her in His arms, and letting her cry on His shoulder. Her life must have already been hell if it was so bad she killed herself. That's probably enough."
Jamie's body relaxed, and she nodded her head.
"But..." Jane hesitated. "Well, I imagine Marsha can look at her life from a different perspective now. She can see things she couldn't when she was here. She can see that there would have been another way out, eventually. And maybe she can see all the good, happy things that were waiting for her -- people she hadn't met yet, things she would have done. I imagine that would be a kind of hell, too."
"She was really good at singing," Jamie said.
"I bet there were a lot of things she was good at. She just didn't know it yet."
Jamie leaned into her mom and let her head rest again on her shoulder. She drew in her breath with a shudder. Jane heard a sniffle. Ah, Jamie, poor Jamie, healer of bird's wings and welcomer of strays. Jane gently rubbed her back.
"It's just so sad," Jamie said.
"I know, honey. It is."
To participate in today's blogfest, visit Roni's blog here. (Roni, I would have added the button to my sidebar, but couldn't figure out how to do it. :( Sorry!)
"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)