Want to Write Better Dialogue? Break the Rules

by Guest Blogger | 76 comments

This guest post is by Jeffrey Whitney. Jeffrey is a carpentry student who writes in his spare time. His novel in progress, about four families dark secrets who live in a mythical town in the midwest, is coming out soon. Thanks for writing with us today, Jeffrey!

Want to write good dialogue? Then you’ve got to break the rules.

write dialogue

Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões

When you and I talk, we sometimes break the rules of grammar. (I know, it’s a shock, but it’s true.) To write good dialogue, it’s not so much that we are breaking the rules, per se, it’s just that there are rules for dialogue that trump grammatical dogma.

Rules differ. “No white after Labor Day” probably doesn’t apply in Moldova. In fiction, the rules for action and exposition differ from the rules for dialogue. That’s because what we are trying to achieve is different depending on which side of the quote mark we’re are on.

The Purpose of Action and Exposition

The purposes of action and exposition are to lead the reader through the book with as little friction as possible. Our job is to make the reader forget they are reading, to convey impressions— the words are just the vehicle.

There are lots of rules to follow when writing, but let’s focus on a couple of the obvious rules that don’t necessarily apply to dialogue. I’ll pick two:

  • Proper sentence structure
  • The use of clichés

Sentence Structure

To begin with, you usually want your sentences to be sentences. You want your commas in the right places, you want your subjects and objects to agree, and you don’t want to dangle your participles, etc. You can use sentence fragments as long as you don’t overdo it; but you need to know the rules of grammar before you can break them effectively.


You want to avoid the use of cliché’s. Cliché’s are bad because they’re boring; they weigh down the thrill and freshness of the story. This doesn’t apply only to words. If the reader can tell what’s going to happen, why should they read the story?

The Good News For Rule Breakers

The good news for those of who don’t like rules, is that their jurisdiction ends the moment you insert a quotation mark. The quote is like the county line of grammar enforcement.

There are two main rules for dialogue, and they are simple.

  • It must be readable.
  • It must be authentic.

As long as you don’t overdo the apostrophes, the first rule is easy. None of this: “’Eer! What a ‘ewe fink ‘ur doin’ on de master’s prop’ty?’” If the reader has to run through the line four times just to understand what you’ve written, then you’ve just knocked them out of the air and reminded them that they’re reading a story.

The second rule of dialogue is where the fun begins. Sentences like, “He got fired,” and, “I left cause I didn’t like her,” might make a grammarian cringe, but they are exempt, because that’s how some people talk. People use clichés like “black is the new pink” or “I am so over what's-his-face” all the time. Your job is to make sure that the dialogue doesn’t sound off-key. If the dialogue feels stilted, it’s like watching a B-Movie actor, and your readers will want to change the channel.

How to Write Authentic Dialogue

Listen to how people talk. Write down blotches of conversations that you overhear. If you need to, picture a character as someone you know. Your character doesn’t have to look like this person, or have the same experiences, but you can make ‘Ted’ sound just like your Uncle Dave.

Do you break the rules, using cliches and bad sentence structure, when you write dialogue?


Write a scene where two people are talking. Don’t describe them, but make them different from each other. Perhaps, one is educated and the other isn’t. One is old and one is young. Use only dialogue to tell us who they are, and break the rules of grammar as long as the dialogue sounds real and is readable. If you want, you can make one or both of the people sound like somebody you know.

Write for fifteen minutes and post what you write in the comments section.

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  1. Heather Marsten

    For my rough draft Memoir – Tell Me What He Did – conversation with Therapist and me.:

    I settle back in my chair and stare at my hands. I don’t even know how to begin.

    Dr. Hilliard says, “Something seems to be bothering you. Want to talk about it?”

    “I guess. I have a feeling you’re going to hate me though.”

    He laughs. “Now you know me better than that.”

    “I … I … you know, I’ve been going to CAW for months and the people there are really
    sweet. I’m still going.”

    Dr. Hilliard quietly waits.

    “Some of the people have been really nice to me, more than nice. You know they love me
    and their love helped me decide to live and not die.” Oh help. “I started getting close to some of them, real close, you know like sex with some of the guys.” I look down, mortified. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

    “Has sex brought up some tough memories? Has someone done anything to hurt you?”

    “No, nothing like that. Well, memories yes. I thought having lots of sex would kind of blunt the memories, but it doesn’t.”

    “I’m not surprised. Until you deal with your past, memories will sometimes be triggered
    and cause you emotional pain.”

    “That’s not what I want to hear.”

    “I’m sorry. Wish I could tell you otherwise. So, what’s going on?” He leans back in his chair.

    “Tiny asked me to marry him.”

    “Tiny? Refresh my memory.”

    “He’s the Friar Tuck guy, the one who told me I wasn’t a virgin.”

    “So, what did you say?”

    “I accepted.” I hold my breath waiting for the tirade.

    “Does your Mom know?”

    “No. That’s the beauty of this. She’s gone for three weeks. When she comes back, she’ll be given a choice to come to the wedding or not. But she can’t stop me. I’m eighteen.”

    “Isn’t this kind of sudden? Has he been hinting at marriage for some time?”

    “No. I know it’s fast, but why wait?”

    “I’m not condemning your decision. I want to understand and make sure you’re thinking
    about this before jumping into something that might cause you harm.”

    “Tiny’s nice.”

    “I’m sure he is. There are some things to consider though. What about college?”

    “I have a scholarship and Tiny says there’s no problem with me going.”

    “How well do you know him? Tell me more about Tiny.”

    “What’s to tell? He’s in the priesthood of CAW. He’s known Tim for years and years. His
    family is Catholic, so they don’t like CAW or what Tiny’s doing. I guess they wouldn’t like me either because I’m not Catholic. But that doesn’t matter, I’m not marrying them, I’m marrying him.”

    “What does he do for a living?”

    “Sorts mail at the main post office.”

    Dr. Hilliard makes a few notes. “How long have you known him?”

    “Four months.”

    “Why the rush to marry?”

    “Got to get out of that house. This is as good a way as any.”

    “There are other options to get out of there like finding a few roommates and sharing an apartment. You could live in a dorm.”

    “My scholarship doesn’t provide for a dorm. I can’t stand living with her any longer.”

    “I know this is sounding judgmental, but I have to ask all these questions because I care what happens to you. I wonder, are you marrying Tiny because you love him or is it a way to escape from your mom?”

    I weigh the answer to his tough question. “Both. Right now, more to get away from Mom,
    but I like Tiny and I love him.”

    “Why not wait until you’re sure about him before you commit to marriage?”

    “I can’t do that.”


    “He asked me. No one else ever will. If I don’t marry him now, I might lose him. I couldn’t live with myself if that happened.” Oops, shouldn’t have said that.

    “Do you really think no one else could love you enough to marry you?”

    “Why should they? I’m ruined. Tiny knows I’m ruined and he still loves me.”


    “You know, not a virgin. No one loves someone who isn’t a virgin.”

    “That’s what your mom told you. But you’re spending time with a group of people who
    don’t seem to care about that. You told me there’s a lot of free love going on at CAW, so obviously your being a virgin or not isn’t an issue with these friends.”

    “But Tiny’s the only one who asked me to marry him. I’m going to do it. Please don’t
    hate me.”

    “I don’t hate you, but I am concerned. Sometimes it’s better to slow down on making a
    major decision and look at all the facts.”

    “The only fact I care about is getting away from Mom.”

    “I’ve found it’s better to make a choice of going toward something, not getting away.”

    “But I like Tiny.”

    “I’m sure you do. I’d like to meet him. Any chance he could come to a session with you?”

    “I’ll ask. Are you going to stop seeing me if I marry him?”

    “No. We’ll still talk. I’ve got permission to work with you until you turn nineteen. Any chance you can wait a few months to decide about this marriage?”

    • EndlessExposition

      Wow. This is great. The language is simple and gets to the point, but there’s still emotional complexity behind what is said and solid characterization. Based off of this excerpt, I’d definitely read your memoir.

    • Heather Marsten

      Thank you. Hope one day I will get it published. 😀 Still editing it.

    • Teo Jansen

      I like it because is very authentical, specially the therapist. The key question for me was “Why the rush to marry?”, and that’s the way they ask things because the answer you are looking for is inside of you. This is a great scene, I can feel the conflict between them in a very dinamic dialogue. Keep the good work!

    • Lisa

      This is really interesting and authentic dialogue. It makes me want to read more! Well done.

    • Cristi

      I’m on the other end Heather. I am a therapist and have been in therapy. As I was reading I was wondering what emotions you were feeling as he talked to you. How did it feel when he said he was not being judgmental yet, he was? How scared were you to ask him what you needed to know?. One of things I have found in writing my own memoir is because it’s me I want to separate myself from the emotion. It’s painful this disclosure of what’s inside of you. I was wondering are you struggling with some thing similar. I kept wanting more from you as I read. I wanted to know how you felt, what were you thinking? The dialogue it’s self pulled me in. I wanted to know did you marry him? What happened with your mom?

    • Heather Marsten

      Cristi – thank you for this stellar critique = You are right, it does need more emotion portrayed. Had you read the sections before and after the dialogue, you would have seen more of what I’m feeling. Yes, I did marry him – marriage lasted three years, we left friends. Later in the narrative Dr. Hilliard will point out that Tiny was the spitting image of my father, less a scar my father had. The next chapter is my confrontation with my mom – her biggest concern was losing Social Security and my part-time job income. Oh, she was also concerned if I was pregnant or a virgin which was ironic because in an earlier therapy session, Dr. Hilliard pointed out that there was no way she was ignorant of my father’s sexual relations with me – the bedsheets would have told the story. – lots of other things too. I appreciate you taking the time to let me know that you want more. I will edit and add that information.

    • Avril

      Well I have many years of therapy under my belt and you have nailed it on dialogue. I think you chose the brief dialogue very wisely, conveying much information and emotion in a short time. I can feel the jagged, jumbled emotions.

    • Heather Marsten

      Thank you – you’re right. In my memoir I’ve been with this therapist over a year, and our relationship grew over time. In earlier dialogues with him I spent a lot of time debating if I could trust him or not. In my life I’ve had a few good therapists and he was one of them.

    • Jeffrey Whitney

      Very good dialogue. Very genuine. You drop right into the story within the first one or two exchanges.

    • Joao Reis

      For me it felt like I were there watching the dialogue going on… Wish I could learn to write in a rapportive way like this.

    • Heather Marsten

      Thank you – I bet the more you write, the better your dialogue will get – years ago when I first started my memoir, my dialogue was stilted. Editing and revisions and comments from friends who have read what I’ve written have helped me to write better.

  2. Joao Reis

    Oh my. Here we go. Rough copy, zero reviewing:

    – Alright then, my young. Is there anything more you’d like to ask me before you leave ?

    – Yes. In fact, I really hate the way you dodge me when I try to talk about my father.

    – And ?

    – See ? I hadn’t even asked something and I’m already getting mad at you !

    – Young man, are you pretty sure is that what you want ? – Finisterra stares me straight. Oh, oh…

    – Stop answering me with questions ! – my voice went a tone up, unwillingly. I regret what I did right on spot.

    – I am hard headed, not deaf. I do recommend that you expand you calm. Will be of no use to touch delicate issues drowned on emotions.

    – Sorry. I mean it. Forgive me. It’s just maddening to cope with the fact that my father’s name is a taboo. Dont know how long can I stnad to take a quite normal day to day life, sprinkled here and there by this ghost. It’s just insane ! I do my chores, help others, mind my own business and life shines brightly. But insanity takes seat instantly after my father is mentioned.

    – Are you sure it isn’t a bit obssessive ?

    – My wish. Wait ! You’re answering me with questions again !

    – Clever boy – he said, and burst in one of his loud laughs. As I remained grumpy, he talked again:

    – Don’t get too hard on me, lad. Neither on you. Didn’t you told me right now that life shines ? Your life and you are so tiddy, right hair, right clothes, perfect shaving, what a drag ! Why in heavens would you want to bring this same imprisonment inside your mind ?

    • Heather Marsten

      When you clean it up it will be an interesting story. I like the last sentence of the imprisonment inside your mind.

    • Joao Reis

      thanks for your kindness. Finisterra has been haunting inside my mind for a couple of decades. Maybe it’s time to take him and the young Jogglaud Coligny for a stroll…

  3. Steve Thomas

    Do they refer to “a full Cleveland” in Moldova? I’ve never heard it called that on Ogio….

  4. Shawnte W.

    “I..um..I did it because I did. That’s why. But that doesn’t
    mean that I don’t get to go, right? Cause you promised and we shouldn’t break
    our promises. That’s just not right.” I placed my hands in my lap and calmly
    looked at her.

    “Why do you think I would allow you to attend after what you
    just did?” I watched her squirm uncomfortably in her chair as a small smile
    lifted the corners of my mouth. “Cause it wasn’t even my fault. If she hadn’t
    of pushed me then it would never broke.” Her deep blue eyes began to fill with
    tears and I had to fight my instinct to tell her it was all right.

    “If you had not taken it outside it would never have gotten
    broke. You know better than to take it outside, right?” I kept my voice steady
    and stern making sure not to sound too harsh. The truth was I hated that glass,
    it was so ugly and I was glad it was gone.

    “I really want to go though. Can’t we not tell him I did it?”
    Her voice quivered to match her tears. “not telling him would be the same as
    lying wouldn’t it?” I gently probed hoping that she would make the connection

    “Lying is bad and if I lie I won’t have any friends. Alright
    you can tell him, I will let you.”

    I chuckled softly to myself. “I think it would mean more to
    him if you told him.”

    • Heather Marsten

      I like the tension – makes me wonder if she will tell him. Not sure how old the protagonists are = if it is a young child, the vocabulary may need to be simplified. If it’s a teenager, it would work.

    • Joy

      This line made me smile:
      The truth was I hated that glass, it was so ugly and I was glad it was gone.
      It added a nice touch of humor. 🙂

  5. Bunk

    “We only have a short time left” Said Sara. “Before we die?” Asked Cora. “Before we see what’s on the other side of this earthly veil” Replied Sara. We looked at the TV screen replaying the imminent meteor strike analysis endlessly. “Three days…” Said Sara softly. “Perhaps we can recover your memory by then so you can have a little bit of home before the fall” She continued encouragingly. “I would like that then I could rest in peace” Replied Cora. “I want to have really lived at least a few hours before the fall” She continued. “At least I knew you as a friend if nothing else is found” She finished. I smiled at her and hugged her around the shoulders. “If we find peace on the other side it won’t be so bad after all” I added. Her eyes lit up at that. “I think we will” She responded. We both looked up with bittersweet eyes at the starlit sky.

    • Teo Jansen

      Nice work, straight to the point between the characters

    • Bunk


  6. Teo Jansen

    “Hello. To the airport please”

    A brown skin guy enters to the taxi in a dark street. The driver responds to the order. The taximeter is running.

    “How was the ciry?”, says the driver, looking at his passenger threw the mirror.

    “Oh, the ciTy, you mean?” the driver nods, the passenger keep talking. “It was great. A tickety-boo visit”.

    “Ok… ok..” silence for a few kilometers, the night keep the streets with low traffic. “A succesfull working visit, am I right? In my country we say it “todo bem””

    “Oh! Are you Brazilian?”

    “Yes, sir. I am”.

    The passenger nods. More silence in the next minutes.

    “Where are you from?” says the driver.

    “I am from England”

    “Oh! A long flight to come back home, eh?”

    “Yes… In deed a long way back”, the passenger looks at the window. He sighs, looks to his cell phone and check for a picture of a beautiful blonde woman.

    “Are you a business man?”

    “No… I am a doctor. I was here sharing a… a project with a big company”. The passenger looks at the cell phone. “I hope the company to say yes”.

    Silence… There was a sign in the road: Airport. Next exit.

    “But you are a young doctor. You are like 29, right?”

    “No. I’m 40”, the passenger laughs for the first time in the ride.

    “Oh…” says the driver. “Are you vegetarian?”

    The passenger laughs at loud.

    The phone rings. The screen shows the picture of the beautiful blonde woman. The phone keeps ringing.

    “Are you going to answer?”

    “I don’t need to. Take the next U turn. The company said yes”.

    The passenger smiles.


    PS: This was inspired in a conversation of a friend with a taxi driver. I gave the most of the part, but the age question was real!

    • Heather Marsten

      Thank you for critiquing my dialogue. It’s good to take note of dialogue you overhear. It can be worked into your stories. Interesting dialogue, and I like how you used a few foreign words. Unless it’s deliberate, some of the grammar could use editing. For example, the passenger would laugh out loud. Am curious what would happen with the doctor’s job offer.

    • Teo Jansen

      Thanks to you for the feedback! The grammar is something I’m working on it (English is my second language) and I’m gladd you like the little story.

      And I’m happy to help with your dialogue! I like to help here, as well it helps me to improve myself. Cheers!

    • Avril

      Teo I think you have the pacing right. Conversations with taxi drivers are always a little random and disjointed, and yet right to the point. Very believable. I can tell English is not your first language. Not important. You are an excellent communicator and storyteller.

    • Teo Jansen

      Oh Avril, thanks for your kind words! Really motivates me to keep it going, and these exercises are part of my improvement. Thanks as well for the feedback! Taxi talk are very interesting and have a lot to explore about it. Cheers!

  7. Avril

    This is the beginning of a short story I’m working on, “Another Man’s Hell”.

    As Yvonne fixed her hair and makeup for “date night” with Preston, she tried to remember the last time she really looked forward to one of their rare evenings alone. She assumed he also lacked enthusiasm, as he hadn’t initiated a night out in over a year. As she fumbled with her mascara, he walked through the room, and paused. In the mirror, she saw him looking her rear view up and down, and this made her very aware of how her dress hugged her belly a little too tightly.

    Preston continued to assess her from the back, then asked in a monotone, “You’re wearing that”? Feeling the sting, yet committed to her plan for a controversy-free break, Yvonne tossed off a light, airy laugh, as if Preston had just dazzled her with a witty remark. She turned around and smiled at him, trying to remember how she felt earlier in their marriage, when they were happy.

    Self-conscious about the changes in her body after giving birth to three children, Yvonne stood a little straighter, stretching the extra forty pounds as tall as possible. She had decided the extra weight brought an undeniable benefit, as her original 36B chest was now a swanky 38DD. Thrusting her shoulders back, she continued to smile at her husband. He just glared at her, “Why are you wearing your ass on your chest?”

    As her smile faded and turned upside down, he walked to the hall. He looked over his shoulder on his way out the door. “When I married you, you were really pretty. You looked like a Barbie Doll.” Yvonne took deep breath, and shouted, “You used to be my Prince Charming!” In the hall, Preston rolled his eyes and took out his phone. He made no effort to conceal the call to his girlfriend. “Yeah, this’ll take an hour, hour-an-a-half max. The old lady’ll hit the buffet, guzzle a bottle a wine, and be down for the count. I’ll dump her ass back here and meet you at Sluggo’s Corner by nine.”

    In the bedroom, Yvonne also did not conceal her conversation. She prayed, loudly, for strength and support during her difficult time. She prayed for her marriage, her husband, her children. She beseeched the Lord to hear her prayer, and offer her relief from a life that had gone all wrong. “Lord, I am grateful to you for this beautiful home and my three healthy children. Please Lord, give me the strength to battle the curse of cruelty in this marriage.”

    Religion had been a difficult issue for them even before they married. Yvonne, along with her parents and sister, had always been enthusiastic members of their congregation. Until recently, she had never doubted that she would win over her stridently atheist husband.

    “For Chrissakes you nut bag, will you stop babbling to yourself in there!” Preston stomped back into the room. “Get your lard ass out to the car! I’m leaving in five minutes, whether you’re there or not!” Preston paced down the hall to the kitchen, to find his car keys. Grabbing a beer and sitting at the counter, he thought about divorce. He knew the real problem in their marriage, that Yvonne had never known, was that he had never loved her, not even at the start.

    When Preston and Yvonne met, she was a beautiful, tall, slender blonde with a classic California tan. He did not feel that he connected with her on any other than a physical level. As for Yvonne, she fell in love with Preston quickly, and pushed hard for commitment, marriage and family. Preston finally agreed, thinking he would be crazy not to. She was gorgeous, real arm candy, and everyone noticed her. Once married, she took on the roles of wife and mother with selfless dedication. Everyone told him he was a very lucky man.

    She did everything to make his life easy, and he was willing to continue comfortably this way, until he met Kat, a hard-bodied beauty at the gym. Once he’d fallen for Kat, everything at home felt intolerable. He certainly had no patience for his once spectacular wife. He spent his days trying to work up the nerve to tell Yvonne he wanted a divorce.

    As he finished his beer, Yvonne came through the kitchen, in baggy jeans and a sweatshirt. His mood lifting quickly, he asked, “We’re not going out?” Yvonne’s face was blank, and she said simply, “Drop me off at my sister’s house. You can do as you please, with whomever you please. Janice will give me a ride home.” Elated, Preston jumped up and almost tripped as he did a little jig on his way out the door.

    In the car, Yvonne told him, “I’m not going to argue with you anymore. I’m not going to take your verbal abuse and neglect anymore, and I am not putting up with you running around with your slut anymore. We are getting a divorce.” Preston was relieved to hear this, but he resented her tone, which he thought was smug.

    “Oh, Miss-Holier-Than-Thou, I thought good Christians don’t get divorced.”

    “Good Christians don’t live with sinners, and they don’t let weak fathers raise their children.”

    “Why don’t you wake up? There is no God, and no Heaven. We are here to enjoy life on earth, and that’s it. That’s all that matters. If we’re not happy here, we need to fix that, and that is our responsibility.”

    Yvonne, exhausted, only said, “Preston, I will always pray for your soul.”

    “Oh ok, you converted me. I believe in God. Hey, I’ll say a prayer too. I pray right now that you get hit by a truck”! He turned and grinned maliciously at the side of her head. Sitting in the passenger seat, she refused to turn toward him, and did not answer.

    As he turned back to face forward, the inside of their little Subaru was filled by bright flashing lights, as if a disco ball was descending from the roof. Both of them looked at the other in confusion. The lights grew brighter and brighter, several colors swirling rapidly. Now that they were no longer yelling, they also heard a very loud noise, like a whine.

    Yvonne was now fully turned toward Preston, so she never saw it. Preston, looking over her shoulder, saw a red smiley face getting bigger and bigger, until it completely filled Yvonne’s window. The loud whine was extremely painful to his ears now, and then more noise engulfed them. Yvonne’s eyes widened in shock as the car seemed to conduct a loud grinding noise, emanating from the road under them. Yvonne, pinned to the red smiley face, was pushed into Preston as their car exploded.

    The driver of sixty-five thousand pounds of steel, traveling at 50 mph, had crashed into the Subaru that pulled in front of his fire truck, en route to a wild fire in the nearby canyon. Nothing remained of Preston or Yvonne.

    • Heather Marsten

      Interesting story line – the dialogue about God was well done. I’d like to see more of the story told in dialogue. What happened with the kids? Were they left at home or with a babysitter? I liked how you slowed the action down at the collision.

    • Avril

      Heather thank you for the feedback. The kids are not part of the story, now I see by mentioning them in the beginning, I cause the reader to focus on their well-being. Will work on that.

    • Heather Marsten

      Don’t forget, this was probably a snippet of your story. If people had read what went on before, maybe the situation for the children wouldn’t have been an issue – for example if the reader knows they are grown and out of the home or in college away from the home or something like that.

    • Shawnte W.

      Intriguing dialogue. Great job!

    • Teo Jansen

      Ouch! What an ending. Avril, this is a great story and I want to read more. The dialogue is pretty good and the tension can be feel it through it. Maybe you can try a little more of subtext to elevate even more the tension and conflict. Keep it going! Can’t wait to read the full “Another’s man Hell”

  8. Chloee

    ” How are you lately Lilly?” I asked pushing my glasses up on my nose.
    She wrinkled her brow at me.
    “Don’t do that.” She crossed her arms.
    “What am I doing?” I ask.
    “The typical shrink thing.”
    “And what would that be?” I raised my eyebrow.
    “The “how are you doing”, “you can tell me anything but if I think you have to go to the nut house I’ll send you”, and my personal favorite “how does that make you feel”? That thing.” She blew a piece of her black hair out of her face.
    I chuckled lightly.
    “Alright I won’t do any of the topical shrink stuff if you answer me truthfully.”
    She looked at me. Seeing if I was trustworthy. Testing the waters.
    “Good see we’re already making progress.”
    “So what do you want to know?”
    “When did you think you were depressed?”
    “When I was 10.”
    “Wow that’s pretty young I mean you could have just some hormone issues why did you think you were depressed.”
    She shrug her shoulders.
    “When you don’t even want to get out of bed each morning and have to force yourself to eat and debate if you’ll get dress it’s sinks in.”
    “Okay well I don’t think that’s depression but-”
    She cut’s me off.
    “And when you cry yourself to sleep every night praying to god he’ll stop making you feel this way and when your family begs you to tell them what ‘a wrong but you smile and wave telling them your fine when your slowly dying inside I think that’s depression.”
    Her voice had risen and when she finished it was at bellowing level and she stood up.
    I took my glasses of and rubbed my face.
    “I’ll see what we can do for you in the mean time why don’t you tell me what else has made you feel this way.”
    She sat back down slowly.
    “There’s been things in my life that ‘a has affected me slowly fawning at the back of my mind I try to push them back but sometimes one of them finds it’s way and haunts me.”
    I wrote that down.
    “Like what?”
    “Death,Money Troubles, Fear, Losing Things.”
    “Would you like to talk about any of it?”
    “No .”
    I sighed.
    “Okay what do you want to talk about.”
    “I don’t cry.”
    I looked at her. Her face was set in a Stoney expression much to hard for a 15 year old but her eyes filled with worry and regret pleading to let everything go.
    “Why don’t you cry?”
    “I have to be the strong one I can ‘t let people see me as a crybaby weakling.”
    Her voice cracked.
    “Your not weak your just human and have emotions.”
    “Those emotions could get me hurt.”
    I leaned in closer.
    “You can cry in front of me I won’t tell.”
    She glanced at the office door. Her eyes filled with tears.
    “I can’t let you see me.”
    I held her hands.
    “It’s fine go ahead.”
    “You can’t tell anyone.”
    Her eyes overflowed and streams of tears fell down her face. I hugged her and I could feel her tense up and finally relax she buried her face in my shoulder and I shushed her like a newborn baby.
    “It’s all fine.”
    “I know.”

    • Heather Marsten

      There are some good issues in this dialogue, some themes that could be developed. Might want to remove some of the action so the dialogue doesn’t get lost and flows smoothly. If the therapist point of view is used, he/she wouldn’t be able to know what his patient was thinking. Example – seeing if I was trustworthy. He would say something like, The way she looked at me makes me think she’s deciding if I’m trustworthy. Does that make sense.

    • Avril

      Good depiction of a young lady trying to be grown up and tough enough

    • Cristi

      I liked it. At times it was confusing about who was who. Maybe if you made the narrator be a separate character who would be telling the story. That way you could talk about each character’s thoughts, and it would be clear it was the narrator’s point of view.

  9. Carol Kanthan

    Here’s my two bits. Carol Kanthan
    Dog Stew

    Tobit leaned forward. ‘You thief. Put my kid down.”

    Anna held on to the kid. “It’s
    mine. And I’m not a thief.”

    “It’s not yours.”

    “Rembrandt said I could keep
    it when he’s finished painting us.”

    “You harpy, it’s mine. I
    brought it from home.’

    “You’re a rude old man. And
    quit waving that cane around.”

    “What are you going to do
    with my kid?”

    “Make kid stew.”

    “You wouldn’t dare.”

    “Watch me. I’ll invite you
    home for kid stew. It’s nice with potatoes.”

    “I want a bag of gold coins
    for it.”

    “I don’t have any gold coins.”

    “Well, give me my kid.” Anna
    held the kid against her. ‘It’s mine now.’

    “Then give me that dog in exchange
    for the kid.”

    “What are you going to do
    with the dog?”

    “Make dog and vegetable stew,
    of course.”

    She pointed her finger at
    him. “Put it down. You can’t cook my son’s dog.”

    “Well, you want to eat my

    “Here take your rotten kid.
    It’s most likely too tough to eat, anyway.”

    “Thank you, Anna. I knew
    you’d see reason.”

    • Sidney G Fox

      I had to reread it to work out who was saying what but laughed both times. Great exchange. 🙂

    • Heather Marsten

      Makings for a good child’s story. The dialogue made me smile. One thing to consider might be to write some of the dialogue in incomplete sentences. Like “Knew you’d see reason.” –

  10. Shababa

    Hi! Is there any posts for comprehension here? 🙂

  11. Jeffrey Whitney

    “Kyle, please look at me.”
    He looked at her, his eyes like little pieces of glass in his head.
    She sighed, put her head in her hand a moment.
    “It’s—I’m trying to understand, OK?”
    “What do you want me to say?”
    Her jaw clamped, flexing the little muscles in her neck.
    “I am just trying to understand why you took the money
    down there, when I told you expressly not to. How could you do that?”
    “I just did it.”
    “No, you need to tell me more than that. You need to tell me why you took it with you. What were you there to buy?”
    “I never said I was buying nothing. You said that.”
    “It was three hundred and fifty dollars, Kyle. You didn’t just bring it along to buy a coke. What did you bring it for?”
    “I was gonna buy a bike,” he said.
    “A bicycle?”
    Kyle rolled his eyes. “A dirt bike, ok? There was this guy Dave who Dustin knew. Dustin said this dude was selling a used dirt bike and I went down there to buy it.”
    Her mouth worked a moment before she spoke.
    “Why wouldn’t you—Jesus! Why wouldn’t you come to me? Why would you go down with some kid to buy something from someone you didn’t know?”
    “Cause you wouldn’t have let me get it. I wanted to do something on my own, OK?”
    “Well, you certainly did something. You lost all that money you worked so hard for.”
    “Yeah, I know.”
    She sat, staring at the table top, shaking her head. The sound of the clock marked the time between them as they both sat, saying nothing.

    • Sidney G Fox

      Great dialogue and I really like the interjections with description – her head in her hand is so telling, and the last sentence is brilliant – that time of saying nothing often says so much more than words!

    • Cristi

      Me too Jeffrey. I thought like Sidney it was a great scene with dialogue.

    • Jeffrey Whitney

      Thank you. It’s nice to get some feedback. I know both of these characters really well because they’re both from the book I’m writing.

    • Joy

      Well done! It’s conversational and easy to read and also intriguing.

    • Heather Marsten

      Good dialogue – ouch with the line “Well you certainly did something. You lost all that money you worked so hard for.” I could just feel how that comment would sting.

  12. Sidney G Fox

    “I remember the first time I saw you.”
    “Yeah. I was sitting in my car watching you wax your board.”
    “Yeah. Do you know what attracted me to you?”
    “The way my bum wobbled as I waxed my board?”
    “Ha. No – but that was good too. It was the way you laughed every time you tried to paddle into a wave and got blown back off it and spray thrown up in your face.”
    “Could you hear me laughing”
    “No, but I could see you laughing. Then you were sitting out the back watching the seagulls above and you looked like the most picture-perfect peaceful image I’ve ever seen.”
    “I was stretching my neck.”
    “You do remember, then?”
    “What did you notice about me?”
    “You were the only other person in the water.”
    “That’s rubbish.”
    “I didn’t resent you for intruding on my solitary dawnie.”
    “The highest compliment…”
    “The back of your wetsuit was unzipped. You looked a bit of a tool.”
    “Bitch. I didn’t realise till I got out. I hoped you hadn’t noticed.”
    “It was pretty hard not to notice.”
    “You could’ve told me.”
    “Would’ve spoiled my fun.”
    “Bitch. The next time I saw you was on the beach.”
    “A couple of days later. You were sitting with a pair of tweezers plucking your feet.”
    “Oh yeah.”

    Three months later.
    “I remember the first time I saw you.”
    “Do you?”
    “Yeah. You were sitting on a rock like a gargoyle.”
    “Was I?”
    “Yeah. You were crying.”
    “Where were you?”
    “I was watching wading birds from the cliff above.”
    “Ah.. no.. I’ve got muddled up… it might’ve been… err… another day.”
    “So when did you see me sitting on a rock?”
    “I can’t remember. It might’ve been after we met. Yeah, I think it was. I’m not sure.”
    “Hmm. You want another beer?”
    “Nah, thanks, I’m err, nah.. err.. I wouldn’t mind a coffee, though?”
    “Where was I sitting on a rock?”
    “I can’t remember. I’ll get the drinks.”

    • Jeffrey Whitney

      I liked it. You conveyed a lot just with dialogue. You have a good ear for it. Also, I liked that some of your sentences weren’t full sentences. People definitely talk like that.

    • Sidney G Fox

      Thank you 🙂 Was it clear that she’s confused by or suspicious of his change of story?

    • Lisa

      Yes. I felt a bit nervous reading it – wary of him. Am I right to be? It is good writing.

    • Sidney G Fox

      Ah thanks, that’s what I was hoping for. Definitely right to be wary, he’s usually a clever one but he really can’t handle his beer.

  13. Cristi

    This is also from my memoir trying to convey information through dialogue. Most of my readers will not know what a sweat or ceremony is.

    Marcie, my best friend, my little sister Dorothy, and I stopped at our local Common Cents store to gas up the truck known as the beast.

    Marcie laughingly said
    “Dorothy, Make sure you go to the bathroom. This is the last bathroom until
    Sharps Corner.”

    Dorothy spends most of her time wound up as a humming bird. Her imaginary wings began vibrating even more when she asked “How do we go to the bathroom?”

    Marcie says “You have to use the outhouse or go to the bathroom outside”

    Dorothy has a habit of placing her fingers across her mouth when she begins to get anxious.
    Looking at her I wanted to laugh because there were many more things on this
    trip where she would be hiding behind her fingers.

    I told Dorothy, “Get something to eat too for the ride home. The one store they have will be closed when we leave the ceremony.”

    Dorothy says “You are scaring me”

    I told her, “It will be fine.”

    We all climb back into the Beast for the ride to Pine Ridge. The truck is a giant box traveling down the highway. It takes all my concentration to drive through Rapid City until I can get to the back roads. Marcie with her wicked sense of humor is sitting in
    the front seat facing Dorothy. Dorothy is sitting in the extended seat due to
    her small size. Dorothy is petite, and small in stature, with huge anxiety. She literally vibrates all the time.

    I was concentrating on driving my tan and white beast while Marcie and Dorothy discussed the upcoming ceremony.

    “What is it like this
    ceremony? Dorothy says as she grips the seat in front of her peering into
    Marcie’s eyes.

    “The sweat is a cleansing prayer ceremony which takes place in total darkness.”

    “I’m I’m afraid of the dark.” Dorothy murmurs. “Can I get out
    if I want?”

    “The round has to be completed before the helpers lift the military tarp which
    covers the door to the sweat.” Marcie said.

    “A round” “what do you mean?”
    her voice quivering behind her hands.

    Marcie is trying not to laugh at how scared Dorothy. She was
    definitely taking Dorothy outside of her comfort zone.

    “What?” Dorothy
    stammers. “What is in the sweat?”

    Dorothy is fidgeting in
    her seat leaning forward. Her body vibrating with anxiety.

    “White lava rocks are
    placed inside a triangle of wood where they will burn until the ceremony
    begins” Marcie says. “Then the rocks are placed inside the sweat in the circle
    which has been dug out six inches deep into the dirt.” “The lava rocks are carried into the circle
    on a pitch fork” Marcie says “We put on our long skirts, t-shirts, and take our
    towels with us into the sweat”

    Dorothy squirms in her

    She says “Cristi, I don’t
    think I can do this”

    “Sure you can.” I say to
    her. “Men sit on one side of the sweat, and the women sit on the other
    side.” “Marcie and I will make sure you
    are between us the whole time.”

    “I don’t know, Cristi.”
    “I am claustrophobic” Dorothy says. “I
    am afraid I will have a panic attack in there.”

    “You will be fine” I say
    to her.

    What am I supposed to
    do?” asked Dorothy anxiously.

    “Follow what we do”
    Marcie says. “The helpers will give the Interpreter a bucket of water for the
    sweat. Water is placed on the rocks to create steam.” “As the steam rises the drums begin to beat,
    and the people begin to sing.”

    “Is it hot in there?”
    Dorothy asks.

    In the front seat
    concentrating on driving I can feel the air around me move with the anxiety
    Dorothy is creating. I feel myself
    getting angry knowing that she will not make it into the sweat. Yet, I try to
    hide the anger for I don’t want her to know how angry I will be if she does not

    Marcie answers, “That is
    what the towel is for. You place it over your head and breathe through the

    is thinking to herself “This girl is not going to make it.”

    Marcie leans forward and
    says “It depends on when the Interpreter decides it’s over.” “The spirits tell
    him when to open the door”

    • Heather Marsten

      Makes me want to go to a sweat – I liked how you conveyed the information in a natural dialogue. Several times you mention vibrating with anxiety – might want to find a few other ways to describe those emotions. So – did she not make it into the sweat? Am curious what else the interpreter does. Well done.

    • Cristi

      On the other side of the field the gate is down to the side of the road. We drive across the grates, thunk, thunk, thunk, and turn right down another dirt road. Below us we can see a green dome with an open door with a fire throwing smoke into the air.
      Opposite of the green dome is another green dome with the door open. Three fourths of the area is surrounded by trees on all sides. The fourth side is lined up with car hoods providing protection from observers to the area. Native American men can be seen moving
      around the sweat and fire.

      “What is the
      green dome?” asks Dorothy.

      “It’s the sweat”
      Marcie says.

      “OOOOO” Dorothy says.

      I drive the truck down the gully to park
      near the sweat. All three of us got out of the truck and walked to the sweat.
      Chairs, benches, and wood surround the area for seating. As I
      came to the sweat I hugged my friends and cried. It felt so good to be home.

      I introduced my sister, Dorothy to the
      Interpreter. The Interpreter is a quiet man with an area of authority and
      mysticism around him.

      The Interpreter shakes Dorothy’s hand.
      Dorothy looks down, and tries to hide behind Marcie and me. He welcomes
      Dorothy. He tells her she is welcome to join us in the sweat.

      As the sweat
      became more crowded with people I didn’t know. We returned to the Beast to change our clothes into the ankle length skirts and t-shirts. One of the best things about the Beast is the bench seats made changing into sweat clothes easier than changing
      our clothes in the outhouse.

      After changing I stayed in the truck until the sweat began.
      I wanted to be invisible in my pain. My anxiety was rising right along
      with Dorothy’s.

      The call came
      for us to go to the sweat. “Women first,” was shouted by a helper. Family, oldest to youngest enters the left side of the sweat. As promised Dorothy is sitting between me and Marcie. After the
      women are settled the men enter from the left side of the sweat. The men sit youngest to oldest being near the door.

      I can hear Dorothy’s shallow breathing next to me. She whispers to herself “I can’t do this.” “I can’t do this.” Anger is rising in me. I knew she was going to back out. I wanted her to share in the beauty and peace of the ceremony. She had finally agreed to come
      to be a part of it. She was giving up before it had begun.

      The Interpreter calls for the door to be shut. “Shut the Door” The helpers begin to cover the door with the heavy tarp and blankets.
      The light from outside slowly diminishes. With the tarp halfway down the door, Dorothy yells, “I have to get out” “I have to get out” On her hands and knees she is crawling across tangled sweating arms and legs of the other participants.
      Frantically she works her way across the other people in the sweat. The helpers lift the tarp back up to let her out. She shoots out the opening, and keeps on running.

      After the sweat door is closed the heat begins
      to build, the drums beat, and the singing begins. In prayer I asked, Tunkasila, the Great Spirit also known as God; “How come they took Chris? I began to
      sob uncontrollably. The fears I had kept
      inside that I had not shared with anyone were active in my mind. Did I cause this? This way of life that had
      soothed my soul for so many years did it cause God to take my son from me? Was I a bad person? How come me? Did my choice of friends, alternative spirituality cause this?

      After the first round the door is open to the west with a view of the setting sun. As the breeze rushes in cooling off my skin I pray for Tunkchilla to bring Christopher home to South Dakota where we can bury him. Halfway though my prayer I can no longer contain the sobbing. It is the next person’s turn to pray. In support of
      my prayers she sings a prayer song to help Christopher find his way home.

      Several more of the participants began to sing prayer songs
      to bring him home.

      The interpreter calls “Shut the Door.” The helpers lift the
      heavy tarp down to the ground, tucking it under to keep all the light out.

      More water is poured on the fire making steam rise in a
      fine gray mist distorting the images of the other people.

      I bury my head into my tear stained towel. The towel covers my head to muffle the sound of my sobs. In a fetal shape I am leaning into the side of the sweat. My heart is breaking. I can feel Christopher being torn from me. I cry out saying “I don’t want him to leave?” In the dark my world was spinning. Hanging on as tight as I can to Christopher’s spirit I fight the pulling away. I won’t let go. I won’t I cry. I am being lifted along with him into the spirit world. “I can’t let him go!” I cried. “I can’t.” The message back to me was” If you want to go, you have to die?” The message from the spirit world was clear. The choice was mine. I could continue to hold onto Christopher, which would take me into the spirit world with him or I could live. I began to panic, thinking” I was going to
      die!” I could not let go of Chris, but that meant I would have to die. My thoughts turn to my husband who was heartbroken over the loss of our son. My younger son, who instantly became an only child when his brother died how could he handle another loss? How would
      they survive if I decided to go with Christopher? It was clear Christopher was
      not going to be able to stay with me. As I sat there with my heart racing and
      my breathing labored, I had to make a choice. I chose to let him go without me.
      I laid my head between the comforting presence of my best friend and the canvas
      of the sweat crying inconsolably. While I was sobbing I had to reassure myself
      “I was not going to die” I reassured
      myself, “you are okay” over, and over again to the end of the round.
      I was in a panic to get out even before the door opened. I tried to walk to get
      out. My weak legs would not work, and I fell on the cold wet ground. I crawled
      out of the sweat for about three feet to a dirty piece of carpet. I lay on the
      ground, and cried. Heartbroken unaware of the world around me I was stuck in my
      pain. Unaware of the passing of time I sobbed.
      Gradually the sobbing decreased. As I became aware of my surroundings I
      hear my sister call my name “Cristi”.
      “Your face is white” she hesitantly says. Later my sister tells me I
      looked at her, and my eyes are glazed over. Sitting up I became aware of the
      breeze lightly brushing my skin cooling it from the heat of the sweat. Facing
      the west the sun is setting throwing its red and gold colors towards the
      heavens. Watching the falling sun through the trees I am lost in my own
      thoughts. It is indescribable how it
      felt to sit there, and know Chris had gone to the spirit world. I felt like
      half of me had been ripped away. There was a space in me that would be empty
      until I died. As my breathing calmed,
      and my heart stopped racing, the interpreter told me I needed to finish the
      sweat. My legs were weak and trembling as I crawl back to the sweat. I realized
      20 minute at least had pasted while I was sobbing on the carpet. Entering the
      warm darkness of the sweat was comforting. The darkness wrapped me in its’ warm
      embrace while the voices rose to the heavens. It was calming, and soothing
      almost like the first two rounds never happened. A sense of peace floods my
      body. He was home in the spirit world,
      and not wandering the earth trying to find his way home.

      The Interpreter announces Christopher was escorted into the
      spirit world by a grandfather and a grandmother.

      After the Interpreter’s announcement Christopher was now in
      the spirit world, the sweat door was closed.
      The heat builds once more. The rocks are fire red sending reflections on
      to the faces around the fire. The drumming begins carrying the voices singing
      up into the heavens.

    • Heather Marsten

      This is very powerful – I can feel the pain and the not wanting to let go of her son. I was pulled deeply into this story. There is one question I had though – it was said that you could not leave the sweat until after the whole ceremony was over, but half-way you crawled out onto the carpet for 20 minutes. It made me stop and think as I was reading about the former passage where the sweat had to be completed. I am sorry that Dorothy chickens out.

  14. Tracey

    I’m still working on dialogue. It’s a rough draft. Nothing special. Here is my poorly done practice.

    ” Oh lord,” the girl mumbled to herself.
    There was a long pause as the two trapped strangers thought to themselves.
    ” No signal here,” he said to no one in particular.
    Sweat was prickling down her forehead.
    ” Um…excuse me, um, huh, can…never-mind.”
    “What was it?”
    ” Can…it’s stupid, but can you break down the wall…I mean you look..what am I saying,” she fretted. ” What to we do?! ”
    ” Wait and wait and then when all hope is lost, wait some more,” he said.
    The guy looked at the girl and said, ” I never thought this would happen to me. But I guess while we wait, we can introduce ourselves. Name’s Clinton. Yours?”
    ” I’m…Bea.”
    ” Nice to meet you, Bea. What brings you here to station 11?”
    ” Cool.”
    After a moment’s silence, Clinton spoke, ” So, you like British people.” He pointed to her shirt that had a British flag.
    ” Oh, ha, no, my friend had a tea party today. She made us dress up.” Her tight shoulders released a bit.
    ” Makes sense. Actually, my father’s from the UK. So, I’m part British.”
    ” I’m envious.”
    ” Don’t be. “

    • Joy

      Cool! I liked how you showed the change in mood from nervous to relaxed. Keep up the practice! 🙂

    • Tracey

      Thank you. I’m just starting to work on dialogue.

    • Heather Marsten

      The second part of the dialogue sounded natural. The first part might use more work. People always think to themselves. If there are two trapped, and he says no signal – to no one in particular – there’s only one person he could be speaking to, his fellow trapped person. I liked the line “Wait and wait and then when all hope is lost, wait some more.” Made me smile.

    • Tracey

      Thanks for the advice. I’ll keep that in mind! 🙂

  15. Joy

    “No way!”
    “Come on, Kari, you’re a great writer.”
    “No, I’m not. I don’t even really know how to write. I just say random things and–No! No way!”
    “That’s what I love about your writing. It’s so real and down-to-earth. They’ll love it too.”
    “But it’s terrifying! I hate reading things I’ve written even in front of my family. I could never read anything in front of a whole group!”
    “I was scared at first too, but everyone’s really nice. Trust me. Besides, sometimes it’s easier to read stuff in front of total strangers.”
    “I suppose.”
    “Does that mean you’ll come?”
    “I guess so. But only one time. No promises after that!”

    • Heather Marsten

      Nice showing of the fear of reading in front of others. Would love to see if Kari does read.

    • Joy

      Thanks, Heather! In my mind she does. 🙂

  16. Lisa

    ‘I’ve got a secret.’


    ‘I have.’


    ‘So…you’re gonna like it.’

    ‘No I’m not…’


    ‘Go on then..what?…I said, what?…Wha-a-at?’ (laughs)

    ‘Okay…I know where Mrs McKenzie lives.’

    ‘You do not!’

    ‘I do. I followed her
    home from school.’


    ‘Er, I dunno…Wednesday, after P.E.’

    ‘You’re a dick! What
    did you do that for?’

    ‘Aren’t you curious?’

    ‘Curious to know what?’

    ‘To know what I found out about Mrs McKenzie.’

    ‘No..she’s an old bat, lives with a bunch of cats in an old

    ‘Right on two counts….BUT…’

    ‘You are a Wanker.’

    ‘Don’t you want to know?
    I bet you want to know? Look at
    you, you’re dying to know what I saw.’

    ‘What did you see?’

    ‘Ha! I knew it.’

    ‘What did you see, you tosser?’

    ‘Mrs McKenzie has a dark secret.’

    ‘You are a dick.’

    ‘God! I might start
    getting offended in a minute! For your
    information, this will interest you very much…but if you like, I won’t tell
    it. If you prefer not to know…’

    ‘Know WHAT? You total and utter wanker.’

    ‘Come with me and I’ll show you.’

    ‘What, now?’

    ‘Why not?’

    ‘Look, I don’t give a shit.
    Just tell me! I don’t want to go
    anywhere with you!’

    ‘But you have to see it…it’s not the same if I just tell
    you…Look what have you got to do now?
    You’re waiting for a bus, you’ll get on it, you’ll go home and watch
    Neighbours and eat jam on toast, whatever…when instead, you could be finding
    out something very exciting.’

    ‘Oh God, alright then!
    But don’t tell anyone I came with you.
    I hope no-one sees me walking with a tosser like you.’


    ‘So why are you so obsessed with Mrs McKenzie anyway?’

    ‘I told you – Mrs McKenzie has a dark secret and I have
    always known there was something up with that old bitch, don’t tell me how, I
    just knew it. But wait ‘til you see…Fuck,
    you’re not gonna believe it.’

    • Sidney G Fox

      What’s Mrs McKenzie’s dark secret? I need to know!
      Love the banter and pace of this. I’m imagining either 2 young boys or a boy and girl, and I really need to know the secret!

    • Lisa

      Thank you! You’re right – it’s a boy talking to a girl…and as for the secret…I’d better keep writing to find out! 😉

    • Joao Reis

      I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for writers like you. If you let us know Mrs McKenzie’s dark secret, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

    • Lisa

      🙂 haha!

  17. KellieSioras

    Just a brief selection from about the most interesting conversations out of one of my older stories..

    “…If I hadn’t scratched it away, I’d show you it.” Perry looked at the
    spot where he had been drawing.

    “I don’t think I would have wanted to see it.” Fallyn said quietly,
    tears welling up in her eyes. “What do I do? Should I tell him? Would it be

    “Leave it to me. I can talk to him, and I should easily be able to find
    out if he feels the same way about you. Though to be honest, I think I already
    know the answer to that.” Perry said.

    “Really?” Fallyn asked. “Can you tell me?”

    “Oh, here he comes. Wipe away those tears, and pretend I never said
    anything about you two.” Perry said quickly.

  18. Guyanne Lillie

    Hi, this is dialog from my current WIP.
    “Cadie, I’ve found something,” Lucy whispers through the phone, “its glowing and growling. It’s a crazy glowing, growling bag thingy. I don’t know what’s happening; can you come over? I need you. Brody is on his way. Please.”
    “Well, I don’t know. It’s getting late. I . . . what? What do you mean? A glowing thingy? Did you say it growled at you? What . . . ” Cadie’s voice trails off as she hears her Mom tromping up the basements steps.
    “Please, Cadie. I’ll explain when you get here. You’re not going to believe it.”
    “Wait. What. What kind of glowing thing. What are you talking about? What do you mean a glowing, growling thing?
    “I found Lilli’s old diaries. The Queen hid them in the attic under the
    floor of all places.”
    “She did. She’s going to kill you.”
    “Yea, tell me about it. There’s a map hidden in the back of one them — and a key.
    “A key! And a map! Oh man, a map to where, what kind of key? What’s glowing, what’s growling? Is it alive? Lucy, tell me.” Cadie was on the verge of freaking out.
    “Shhh! Keep your voice down. For heaven sakes Cadie, you’ll wake the dead. Just hurry, please. I got to go. I hear someone coming. I think it’s Brody. I have to go. Hurry. And don’t tell your Mom about the journals. Just hurry.”

    • Joe Bunting

      Great rule breaking, Guyanne!

  19. Sam Beach

    “Well well. Jovan Harley. M’ chairs been waitin’ for you boy. I shined it up special, jes for your murderin’ black ass.”

    “You ‘tink you so right mon. You an’ dose like you, but you all is dead men.”

    “Do tell Jovan. Seems t’ me you’re the one ’bout to meet your maker.”

    “Ya, dat right mon. I gon’ meet Papa Legba an’ he gon’ send me back…he gon let me finish what it be I began. You got kill me only one time mon….I come back, kill you chillin, you babies, dey all MINE and den you not do nuttin ’bout me no more. So you go ‘head mon…you pull dat lever, you send me to Hell. I see you real soon, mon…real soon!”



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