For this contest, the scene or story had to be dialogue-driven and show an instance of negotiation and/or persuasion. I selected a scene from THE SHADOW SCRIBE, my novel out in query-land. Here's the brief blurb:
Soon after Lara Ramsey moves into Heraldsgreen House, a Georgian house in the Scottish countryside, she starts talking in her sleep. Every night, Lara’s story is captured by the voice recognition software on her computer. Every morning, Lara wakes to read a new chapter about an artist who loses the woman he loves and tries to find love and inspiration once again. Stranger still, the style of language she uses is from two hundred years ago. Lara is beginning to think she’s crazy, her dream home is starting to scare her, and her skeptical husband, David, is never there. For the sake of her sanity and her marriage, she must find out what the story is and why she is telling it.
In this excerpt, an exhausted Lara meets with her friend Isobel and tells her of the strange goings on.
“Lara, has it occurred to you that there may be more to this?”
“There is a huge amount of energy in this world that most people are completely unaware of,” she said, pointing her biscuit at me.
“What do you mean by energy? Currents?”
“Sort of. Forces, like the life force, move through all of us. Some are more sensitive to it than others,” Isobel said with a meaning look. “Maybe you are channeling some of this energy as you sleep.”
“Channeling? Like a medium? Ghosts? Are you serious?”
Isobel shrugged. “You live in a really old house. Are you telling me you’ve never considered the possibility?”
I didn’t answer right away. “I guess I never really thought about it like that,” I said slowly. “I don’t think I believe in ghosts.”
“That doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.”
I was glad the waitress came to take our order because I needed a few minutes to think about what Isobel suggested. We were both silent until the she placed a basket of rolls on the table and left.
“Isobel, it can’t be ghosts.”
“I haven’t seen anything, or heard anything weird.”
“Other than the sleepwalking or telling a historical story while you are unconscious?” she asked patiently.
“Right, good point.”
“Look, I’m not saying that ghosts are strolling down the hallways of Heraldsgreen. I’m only suggesting that there may be some unresolved energy in the house.”
“David is going to think that is ridiculous,” I said, more to myself than to her. “He doesn’t believe in anything like that.”
“He’s a scientist. If it doesn’t have academic backing, he’s not interested.”
“Scientists drive me crazy,” Isobel snorted, tossing her long hair back over her shoulder. “They are always so sure what they know is true, right up until the next big discovery proves them totally wrong. Then they hold on to that theory as if it is the one true answer. Look, if he says anything, throw this at him: The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed, right?”
“If you say so.” Where did she come up with this stuff? It was pure Isobel. She probably had copies of Popular Science next to Reflexology Monthly.
“And we’ve proven the body has energy: brain waves, electrical activity in the heart, the energy we create by eating and drinking, the heat we give off and so on. David would have to admit to this, right?”
“So what happens to all the energy, the electricity we know about – and all the energy we don’t – when we die? Is it so hard to believe from a scientific perspective that the energy remains after the body passes on?”
“You make a good point.” Isobel blew me away. She was always like this, sometimes she seemed so flaky, yet she was so intelligent. Her brain just seemed to work a little bit differently.
“Just something you can use to get David on board. Tell him not to eliminate something just because he doesn’t understand it.”
Thanks, Laurel, both for running the contest and for giving me a lift when I really needed it!