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Monday, May 17, 2010

Have Fun With Dialogue

A good way to get into writing is to begin with dialogue. Without thinking about it much, start with a snippet of conversation and write as quickly as you can some dialogue between two people. Jot down whatever comes to mind. Let your imagination take you wherever it will. This is great for journaling or for getting over writer's block.

Here is a first draft sample of such a dialogue scene without any corrections or changes:

At the Farmer’s Market

“Are these melons fresh?”

“Just picked, ma’am.”

“Ripe, I mean. Are they ripe?”

“Matter of taste. Some prefer ‘em firm. Others don’t.”

“I want them for breakfast. Andrew likes them fresh and ripe.”

“Melons on top’ll do then, ma’am. Here, take this one.”

“Too small. And sort of green, isn’t it?”

“Take a good whiff, ma’am, and you’ll get an idea of the sweetness.”

“What about that other man’s melons? The man with the hat. His melons look bigger. And riper, too.”

“Henry’s got good melons. Mine are cheaper though.”

“Cheaper? Why cheaper? Is it because they’re smaller? Or not as fresh? What’s wrong with your melons?”

“Nothin’ wrong with my melons, ma’am. My melons are organic.”

“What does that actually mean?”

“Small farm. No pesticides.”

“And that other man? The man with the hat? His are not organic? Is that what you’re saying?”

“No, ma’am. Henry’s got good melons. Mine are cheaper, that’s all.”

“And not as good, right?”

“Mine are better, ma’am. Here, let me cut one open for you. See? Smell. Perfect for breakfast. Have a taste.”

“I don’t like melon. It’s Andrew who wants melon for breakfast, not me.”

“He’ll like this melon, ma’am. Guaranteed.”

“But it’s all cut up. I can’t take a cut up melon back to Andrew. He’d have a fit, want to know if the knife was clean and how many hands have handled his fruit. No, thank you. I think I’ll get my melons over there with the man wearing the hat. The size is better, enough for more than one breakfast, don’t you think?”

“If that’s what you like, ma’am.”

“Are his organic?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Then how come your melons are cheaper? I thought organic cost more.”

“Just lowered my price an hour ago.”

“And why is that? What’s the catch?”

“Look, ma’am, I’ve been here since five a.m. and I’m tired. I’m ready to sell off what melons Ive got left and get back to the farm. I’ll sell you three for a dollar. How’s that for a bargain?”

“I don’t know. Something must be wrong with your melons if you’re selling them so cheap. How do I know they’re organic? And what are you doing? Why are you putting up a FREE sign?"

“I'm calling it a day.”

"Well, maybe I'll buy one. But you say they're free? Something must be wrong with these melons if you're giving them away. What's the catch?"

"No catch, ma'am. Perfectly good melons."

"I don't know. Well, maybe... such a bargain.. .on the other hand... but don't have any left! All these people just came over and took your melons right out from under my nose. Now that isn't fair. I've been here the whole time and ... well, what kind of business are ou running, anyway?"

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