Friday, January 28, 2011

Creative Writing Success

I absolutely guarantee you will become a better writer, immediately after executing this half hour exercise.

Write a 5 to ten page dialog involving only two characters. Do not use dialogue tags (he said, she said, he replied, etc.)

Try to evoke character and conflict and plot using dialog only.
Avoid long analog expositions
Use context, not explanations.

Here is an example of an exercise I created. I will use it in an upcoming short story.

“Why are you looking at me that way?”
“You know more than you’re telling us, don’t you?”
“Like what for example?”
“You know who did it.”
“I don’t know anything. “
“Then tell us, why did you run?”
“You came down the alley driving like crazy. You didn’t have any sirens on. How was I supposed to know you were cops?”
“You could have jumped out of the way if you thought you were in danger, but you didn’t. We chased you damn near two miles on feet, all the while screaming, police stop. But you didn’t stop did you?”
“What do you want from me?”
“Names. Addresses.”
“Like I said, two guys were running from the building when I got there. I didn’t see their faces.”

“And you didn’t have a conversation with them?”
“No. I don’t usually stop armed men and make friends with them.”
“Then why would someone testify that you did?”
“Who said that?”
“Did you?”
“Did I what?”
“Did you talk to the killers?”
“Someone saw you talking to those men in front of the library, yesterday.”
“Yesterday? Yes, I …I talked with two strangers ….at the….library, yesterday.”
“Why did you deny it?”
“I didn’t deny anything. Are you trying to tell me those strangers are the same men who killed those people tonight?”
“Who said someone was killed?”
“I heard gunshots. People often die from that you know?”
“How many shots did you hear?”
“Five. Six or more. No more than ten.”
“But probably more than five?”
“I thought you said the men were fleeing the building when you arrived.”
“They were.”
“But you heard shots. How much time exhausted between the time you heard the shots and the time you saw the fleeing men?”
“Where were you when you heard the shots?”
“Just around the corner. About ten feet away.”
“And then you approached the building?”
“You put yourself in harms way after you heard the gunshots?”
“I work there.”
“So, because you work there you decided to walk in the directions where you heard the shots.”
“You weren’t afraid.”
“I guess not.”
“You weren’t afraid of the bad guys, but you ran from us…the cops? Do you own a gun?”
“Let me guess. A nine millimeter. Silverplated?”
“Where is it?”
“It was stolen.”
“Did you file a police report?”
“What are you getting at?”
“I’m getting at two men. Men you know and met with yesterday. Men who killed tonight.”
“You’re not gonna plant this one me. I don’t know anything about it. I was simply going to work when the killing started.”
“What time do you normally report to work?”
“Seven forty five.”
“Seven forty five sharp over the past three years isn’t that right?”
“But you were late today. Why?”
“I stopped for donuts.”
“Any reason why we would find a nine millimeter silver-plated pistol ten feet from where we stopped you?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Any reason why your fingerprints should be on it?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Donuts. Where?”
“Where What?”
“Where’d you stop for donuts?”
“Krispy Crème.”
“Which one?”
“The one on Peachtree and tenth.”
“Will anyone remember you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you often stop there?”
“Why stop by this morning?”
“I was hungry.”
“Those men, the suspects stopped by Krispy Crème this morning, also. The clerk said there was a third man. Know who that might be?”
“I wanna see my lawyer.”
“You’ll need one

. Stand up and turn around. Put your hands behind your back.”