October 09, 2008

Creative Writing Week 1 – dialogue to prose

I realised that my dialogue came too close to mentioning the secret we were supposed to be writing about so I re-wrote the dialogue to be a bit more ‘subtle’. Comments would be much appreciated, particularly any pertaining to how easy the dialogue is to follow, and whether I've got too many or too few speech indicators (i.e Jo said, etc). Here goes!

Having finished the lemon meringue pie, Jo was licking her plate clean, tracing her finger through the remnants of yellow cream and sucking it from her fingertip. She had wondered whether she could warrant eating desert, considering the kit-kat she conceded to this morning, but resigned herself to an extra-long run tomorrow, when it would be bitterly cold and all the more suitable as punishment. She looked across the table at Katie, who was busy trying to hide her disgust as Jo ran her finger across her plate for the tenth time. Noticing Jo’s gaze, she turned away, pretending to study the little painted flowers on the teapot in front of her. It was Jo’s favourite cafe, not only because the cakes were so moist, but you got to drink from the sort of pretty little teacups which her mother never let her play with as a child. Satisfied that every last calorie had been accounted for, Jo looked up, and spat a little as she spoke,

“So at first I said to him, ‘Well There’s no way that’s going to happen’, but then he was saying ‘Uhh, yeah there is’ so I just told him to fuck off”. Katie hadn’t heard Jo, but didn’t want her to realise that she had been trying to find and excuse to leave, having already listened to this nonsense for an hour and a half. She sighed,


“I mean, you see what I’m getting at, right?”

“ Yeah”


“Oh yeah, Totally.”

Jo would know that she didn’t have anything on this afternoon, because she already told her that this morning on the phone. So it was going to have to be an emergency. Maybe her house had burnt down? No, too obvious. And besides, it would be a nightmare trying to create the evidence next time Jo came round.

“Yeah. There wasn’t much else I could do, you know?” Jo said, stirring another brown sugar cube into her already sickly sweet tea.

“Yeah, well...”

“Well what?”

Katie didn’t have a clue. Well what? Well, you’ve been jabbering at me for the last hour and a half and you haven’t even asked me what happened with Sam yesterday.

“Well.. nothing”, Katie lied, “Don’t worry about it”

Now Jo knew something was up. Katie was one of those annoying girls who never said what was bothering her. Her favourite phrase was ‘I’m fine’.

“No come on, what? What were you going to say?”

Katie considered feigning a celebrity sighting, (‘Oh my god, look over there! It’s Jude Law!), but then thought this was possibly a little immature, and besides, Jo would probably only be distracted for a second or two. She fumbled for a second, before concluding, “I was just going to say.. well, maybe you could have tried talking to him about it... you know...”

“Talking to him?” Scoffed Jo, “No, he was being just, so unreasonable. I mean, what do you do in that sort of situation?”

“Well you don’t tell him to fuck-off for starters”. Katie hadn’t intended to snap at Jo, but perhaps if she stopped being sympathetic Jo would lay off for a little while. It didn’t seem to have the desired effect.

“Uhh.. yes you do! He was totally going off on one. If I just sat there, taking all this shit from him...”

“Well that’s not what I said was it”

“Yeah it was”

“No, it wasn’t. I said you should have tried talking to him”. Katie wondered how much longer this could go on for. She pulled her bag from the chair next her on to her lap, and began fumbling for her mobile.

“Yeah, well, and then I said that wasn’t going to work, right?”. Jo was looking expectantly at Katie, but Katie was already absorbed in reading the three text messages Sam had just left her. The first apologised for shouting at her, the second retracted the apology, and the third apologised for being so terrible at apologising.

“Right, ok. Whatever Jo. Do what you want. It’s your life. Honestly, I don’t give a damn”

“What?” Jo slammed down her teacup, spilling sweet brown liquid into the saucer, “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”.

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