My first drafts end up being almost all dialog. I don’t know why but that’s what comes to me first — people talking in my head (and no, I’m not crazy!). Then I have to go back and layer in all the other information during revisions. Dialog is a fine start, but there’s setting, action, body language, interior monologues, plot, conflict, and so many other options to weave around the dialog.
So here’s this week’s writing challenge:
Take the following dialog and layer in all the other information that will show the reader who the two speakers are, what their relationship is, some clue as to time and/or place (where and when this happens), and why they are having this conversation. Think setting, 5 senses, who is the point of view character and what is he or she thinking and feeling as the conversation goes on, and what is the real conflict in this exchange? I’ll give you the dialog and an example, then it’s your job to run with it.
There’s a prize this week! Post your work in the comments and next Monday morning I’ll randomly choose a winner to recieve a copy of one of my books.
The dialog is:
“Seriously. It’s just not possible.”
“It’s possible. You’re just afraid.”
“And the problem with that is?”
“I’m sorry I can’t be a super hero like you.”
“No one can.”
Now here’s an example of embellishing:
“I can’t.” Kelly wiped the sweat off her upper lip with the back of her hand and looked down the shear clif face at the green sea water far below. She knew better than to accept a dare from her sister? This was crazy.
“Loser.” Sarah stepped forward, curling her toes over the rocky edge. Her exquisitely cut chestnut hair whipped about her face, the sneer that marred her classic features a familiar taunt to Kelly.
“Seriously. It’s just not possible.” Kelly shivered in spite of the tropical heat. No one could survive that drop.
“It’s possible. You’re just afraid.” Sarah turned her head to look Kelly in the eye. Anticipation swirled there, a surge of adrenaline clearly already coursing through Sarah’s veins. It was what Sarah lived for. It was what Kelly feared. She had to stop Sarah before she did something really stupid and killed herself.
“And the problem with that is?” She held her breath.
“No problem.” Sarah shook her head then looked out at the horizon. She raised her arms out to her side like a platform diver at the olympics.
Kelly’s fleshed crawled. She had to stop her. “You’re disappointed,” she said, making it a challenge, desperate to start an argument, anything that would draw Sarah back from the edge.
“Angry, really.” No emotion. Nothing, as if Sarah was empty of everything except the single moment before her.
Kelly reached out, putting a hand on her sister’s outstretched arm. “I’m sorry I can’t be a super hero like you.” Never has she spoken the truth more. She wanted to tell her to stop, to step away from the edge, to think this through, but she knew from long experience that Sarah would only race into madness even faster. She had to settle for the tried and true — she needed to make Sarah feel superior, give her a different sort of rush. It was the only way to stop her. She held her breath, waiting for a reaction.
Sarah smiled, then wrapped her hand around Kelly’s wrist. “No one can,” she whispered as she launched both of them over the precipice.
Okay, now see what you can do!