Talk, Talk, Talk

04 December 2008

This dialogue exercise involves writing something that is made up entirely of dialogue, but in short story form (not more than 350 words). The use of a play format (e.g. JOHN: Good morning...) or speech modifiers (e.g. ... said John, John said...) is not allowed. The story should reveal something about the characters, the setting and the conflict/plot only through dialogue. Here's what I did:

(350 words)


“You’re stepping on my foot, kid.”


“Give me that light.”

“How come you know so much about this stuff? I thought you were just one of them old geezers rotting away back there.”

“That’s because you’re dumb, that’s why. Hand me the wrench.”

“Here. You’re nothing like no regular plumber, ain’t you? Stinkin’ Joe couldn’t do half the things you’re doin’ right there.”

“I’m no plumber. You don’t learn these things from the plumbing academy, that’s for sure. Only one place in the world where you learn things like these.”

“And what place is that?”

“The army, kid. The United States friggin’ Army.”

“Figures. Wait—if you’re this war hero, how come you’re serving ten to twenty here?”

“Pilasters’. Philadelphia. Ring a bell?”

“Holy shit! The 1959 break-in! You’re one of them saggy bottom boys! Too bad, Miller gave all of you that big old stab in the back. But you’re my hero, man! Grew up wantin’ to be one of the Philly gang!”

“Will you shut up? You’re just another dumb kid from South Central who happens to have quick hands. I know your story and I’m sick of hearing it. But I can’t get this done without an extra pair of hands. Now, for God’s sake, shut your mouth, get in here and help me pry open this goddamn thing!”

“Okay, okay, I’m on it.”

“Stand there and hold that. Now when I say so, you pull as hard as you can, you understand me?”


“Good. Let me just get this out of the way. Ready, kid?”




“It’s moving. Pull harder!”

“Jesus, it’s stinkin’ here!”

“Shut up and pull!”

“I’m pullin’, old man.”

“That’s it, that’s it, kid. Careful, slowly now. Let go, let go!”

“That thing’s heavy.”

“Got that right, kid. You see that? That’s our ticket outta here. We’ll inflate the raft right there and the tide will take care of the rest.”

“Old man?”

“It’s a cloudy night, that should give us some cover in the darkness.”

“Old man, need to tell you somethin’.”


“I forgot the raft.”


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