Monday, February 20, 2006

Dialogue

“Take me hoooome country roooooads to the plaaace where I be-”

The off-key crooning reached her through the ageing bathroom door.

“Are you done?” she enquired tentatively.

“-looong! West Virginiaaa Moun-”

“Hey! Are you done?”

“Nope! Mountain Mamaaaa-”

“Well how long are you going to take?” She asked hopping from one foot to another.

“I just got in. Another 45 minutes maybe?”

“45 minutes? Look I really need to go”

“You always do this. Every fucking morning. What’s the point of waking up early-”

“I know. I know. I’m sorry but please just today” she whined placing her forehead against the door.

“Fine. But you’ve got to wait. I’m halfway through Greenspan’s interview on Econo-“

“I’m about to soil myself and you want to – look just get out! Get out! Get out! Get out!” she screamed not caring if the neighbours heard through the thin walls of the apartment.

“You know that attitude won’t help you.” Even though she couldn’t see him he raised his nose snootily as he said this.

“Fine. 5 minutes. I’ll be back”

“Hasta La-”

She stomped off not waiting for the rest of his taunting comeback.

“Ok. Keep walking. Take your mind off it. Don’t think about it. Dust something. Plump a cushion. What should I make for dinner? Maybe I should call Mom. Maybe I should pack my lunch. Maybe I should do the dishes. Maybe I should have married someone who could afford a flat with two bathrooms.” She muttered as retraced her steps back to the bathroom door. “Right. Time’s up!”

“You’ve been gone exactly 30 seconds… and all your screaming has frightened my bowels. I get another extra minute.”

“I hate you. After I go I’m leaving you.” She hissed as she rattled the doorknob.

“But after you go won’t you already be – gone?”

“Ha Ha! Smarty pants”

“Since you’ve been goooone”

“Kelly Clarkson? That’s it! You’ve had it” She screeched pummelling the door with both hands.

“Are you trying to break the door down? How very Jack Nicholson…the axe is in the airing cupboard. Heeeer’es Johhnie!”

His bellowing laugh shook her out of the demented door banging and she backed away.

“I’ll teach that lying, sneaky, smug, two face-”

“There. All yours.” The narrow passage reverberated with the whooshing of the noisy cistern and his voice.

“Ass hole.” She muttered kicking him as she entered the bathroom.

She sat down and sighed in relief as the anger flowed out.

“You there? I love you.”

“Me too”

THE ASSIGNMENT

STAGE 1
Two characters are 'talking'. Pretend it's a script, with no prose at all in between. Your characters are in conflict (that doesn't necessarily mean an argument.) Make the dialogue work very very hard. Consider the possibilities of irony, misunderstanding, humour, subtext, differing perspectives, contrast between voices... What is NOT said?

STAGE 2
IF you have time, go back and add only the most necessary prose in between the speaking parts:
-- to identify or locate characters (eg "she was still in her school uniform", "he was sitting on a pile of pumpkins", "they had reached the top floor where the view...", "It was 1789 and Paris was...")
-- to clarify important or unspoken action (eg "he dropped the gun", "her perfume reminded him of his stepmother", "the car didn't stop", "the chandeliers shook with the first roll of thunder"...)

STAGE 3
Please bring clear copies to class next week. Your work will be read out by others.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I dont see the misunderstanding and differing perspective parts.

Stage 2 of the assignment is supposed to have all those details??What about those?

Otherwise racy and entertaining!

Anonymous said...

The new format with the change in colour and design is gorgeous and veeeery cooooool!!

Because of B said...

i love the bg image!

Falstaff said...

Shoe-fiend: I don't know. I think the piece works reasonably well per se and I liked it, but I can't help thinking you're not doing justice to the first part of the assignment. I think it works well with the prose in between but if you were to make this into a script without the other stuff I'm not sure it would be anywhere near as effective. Specifically, I'm not sure that the teasing tone of the latter half quite comes through if you take out the prose - I think you may want to sharpen that tone - he could certainly have more fun at her expense, and that would make the dialogue do more of the work. Just a thought.

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Anon 1 - This was very much a first draft and your feedback will def. help

Anon 2 and Because of B - Thanks

Falstaff - You're right - I do need to make the dialogue strong enough so it works just as well without the inbetween prose. Thanks

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Not as good as the earlier ones. (Perhaps my sub-conscious resents your intrusion upon the most sacred moments of the morning)

J.A.P.

... said...

Ok, I don't want to comment on the creative writing part right now. I just wanted to know if you spied on me!! That WAS my life few years ago!! Fortunately - not anymore :-)

Minal said...

Neat Stuff. however I didn't see 'misunderstandings' anywhere.

But looks like you are doing really well at your creative writing class!

1$ Saint said...

superrrrrrrr....
wish i was taking these classes wid u...lolz..
i badly need em..
hugs..

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

J.A.P - So does my husband :)

Keya - If only everyone were as lucky as you!

Minal - Thanks. You're not the only one.. guess it needs some more work.

C not O - Thanks!

ammani said...

Hmm...
Somehow the funny lines and the clever comebacks seem scripted. And lack the natural flow of two people conversing at 7.00 am on an ordinary Wednesday morning. May be that's not the point. May be the point is that it has to be dramatic. Somehow, I cannot help thinking that this is not one of your best pieces.

Nessa said...

Well, I loved it! This was such a darling piece :)

Now this look, I've made up my mind.. It's damn neat :D

krishna rautela said...

hmm.. been a long time since i read any blogs... !! was worth coming back to it