Monday, May 10, 2010

Dialogue with Minimal Tags

This week's challenge is to post a scene from a WIP where the reader can follow the dialogue with minimal use of tags. Here's one I think qualifies:

Erin recognized the Latina girl immediately. Per said her name was Belina. She'd just turned seventeen. Her mother was dead, and her father’s employment at RISE was a pre-condition for her scholarship.
Up close, Belina was flawless--perpetually tanned skin, lashes that touched her cheeks, and plump, perfect lips. An overdose of mascara and powder did not quite conceal the dark circles under her doe-like eyes.
“I need to see Professor Dumont,” Belina said.
“He's not here.”
“Where is he?”
“To be honest, I don’t know.”
“Are you his cleaning lady?”
“I’m Erin Foster.”
“Aya, I remember. You work for Mr. George. He said you were exactly what he wanted. He always gets what he wants.”
“I'm an educational consultant, Belina. I work for a firm downtown.”
“What are you doing here?” The girl eyed her with surprising audacity.
Erin knew what she couldn’t say: I just spent the night. I’m looking for my clothes. I rejected his invitation to share his bed and now we’re just friends.
“I expect Professor Dumont back soon. Do you drink coffee? I was about to have some.”
They sat at opposite ends of Per’s small dining table. Belina heaped sugar into her coffee and stirred; her spoon ting-a-ting-ed against the inside of her mug like a drummer tapping a cymbal.
“How long has Professor Dumont been your teacher?”
“I am a senior. You do the math.”
“Do you like him? As a teacher, I mean.”
“All the girls think he’s hot. I tried to seduce him once, like that Monica girl and the President.” Her eyes darted around the room—anywhere but directly at Erin. “I thought you said he would be back soon.”
“Belina, are you in some sort of trouble?”
The front door flew open.
Per held a one-hour dry cleaning bag in one hand and the strap of a bike helmet in the other. “Erin, they took the wine stain from your…Belina, what are you doing here?”
The girl darted to him, flung her arms around his waist, and burst into tears, wailing about a baby and how he said she had to get rid of it.
Per dropped his parcels. “Belina. Tell me what the doctor said.


  1. Good job, Ana. I don't like using tags. I'd rather use action.

  2. Interesting scene, Ana. There's no difficulty here in knowing who is speaking.

  3. Nice job, Ana...this scene worked well.

    Very intriguing...lots going on...