Dialogue Sample for a First Meeting of Characters

This scene comes from one my students in my current dialogue class... my comments at end of post...

"Is this seat free?" his clipped British accent caught her attention. He motioned to the seat directly across from her.

"I'm sure it's not free. It's not mine, but it could probably be had for the price of fries," Georgia muttered.

This was really not what she had envisioned when she hid in the McDonalds. She hardly felt or looked her best. Bad boy laughed, and sat across from her.

"Your McDonald's chips are my weakness. Married?" he asked her.

It did not seem like the type to care. Georgia looked over to him thinking this was probably the oddest pickup she had ever had. Maybe she had gotten lucky and this one truly did not know who her family was and was actually interested in her. It would be a first.

"Not this week," she told him hesitantly. She still was unsure of his angle.

"American citizen?"

"Why and who wants to know?"

"Listen love I'm in a bit of a pickle. Seems like I gotten me a green card problem and I need to find me an American wife". He picked up her hand and looked deeply into her eyes.

"Sorry, I'm Chinese." So much for someone being interested in her as person.

"Oh I get it that’s your cheeky American sense of humor. Don’t you know who I am?" He seemed incredulous.

"Sorry, I have no idea who you are." She pressed her lips together and shook her head.

"I can offer you money. Lots of money, more money than you could ever use, love."

Wow, that probably would have worked on most. Poor Bad Boy had found the one person in the world that could have laughed at that.

"You just have to sign a pre-nuptial and stay married for 5 years. In that time I will give you two million up front and five hundred thousand for every year we stay married. For an additional five years after that, a further hundred thousand a year." Bad Boy had the naiveté to look smug.

"Very generous," Georgia said. She could wipe her nose with that much money and still not even dent what she was worth. "So who are you?"

"Miles Apocalypse. Of the Apocalypse Traders."

"How unfortunate. That can't be your real name."

"You have really never heard of the Apocalypse Traders?"

"I could Google you if it made you feel any better." Her father had always loved that saying considering he owned a large chunk of Google. "Is Miles at least your real first name?" Oddly she really did want to know.

He smiled. "Kozlowski, Miles Kozlowski." He extended his hand toward her.

"You thought Apocalypse was better last name than Kozlowski?"

She stood, hiding behind a big window sticker of Ronald McDonald she covertly watched the angry lawyers argue in front of her car. Miles came up behind her. He molded his muscled body against her back.

"I'm not sure if you realized this, but I am already standing in this spot." She threw him an icy smile over her shoulder.

The female character is very funny, a smart ass, very strong. Good dialogue here for her. You're clearly in her head. Some tweaks here and there would bring her words up a notch.

Mostly the tension between the two should rise. You've got to have chemistry on the first meeting of two romantic characters. And not "he smiled into her beautiful eyes" kind of chemistry. Here you have the makings of verbal jousting. That would arouse our interest in seeing them pair up.

Him, not as much. The accent/brit talk is fine, but the timing and lead up to his proposal seems sudden. You need to get in his shoes a little more, let him seduce us as he ramps up to the offer. Several of his lines are "throwaway" lines. They could be substituted with anything else and still not be unique. And even once his intention is made clear, he comes on way too fast with the information dump (the how and how much paragraph). Let tension build. So we are salivating to know what he's really after.

Also, you need to edit the narrative more. Besides the copyediting issues, I want you to look at lines that "tell" not show. And sometimes you point out what is obvious. This is common not just in early writers, but in early drafts, so don't feel bad about any of it. Writing is all in the REwriting. You have to massage the words to mature them. Every draft is a step forward in inches, so don't expect that you'll get it all perfect the first pass through.

Frankly, I think you have the making of a very interesting story because your characters are engaging. At this point I think you need more editing around your narrative to help you see alternative routes to conveying action, emotion, response and timing. But this is a great start.

Keep going!