An Adventure in Dialogue

I just had tons of fun.  Mwahahahaha!

No!  Come back!  That only sounded like an evil laugh!

As you may know, I follow Brandon Sanderson’s blog.  Earlier today, I read his latest post.  He gave a writing exercise: write between five and ten pages (or about 1,000 words) with two characters using only dialogue.  I don’t usually try prompts (I have enough of my own writing to do!), but this one intrigued me.  I needed a little convincing, but I decided to go for it.

An hour later, I had almost 900 words and a rough sketch of a scene from somewhere in the back of my brain.  It was a challenge, trying to convey through dialogue things normally included in descriptions.  And I cheated a little at the end – it’s more of a trialogue than a dialogue.  But I had fun – and that’s what counts in writing, right?

Read on, write your own dialogue story, and have fun!


“You wanted to see me, Father?”

“Yes.  Sit.”

“But–”

Sit, Ethan.”

“You needn’t lock me in a room to talk to me.”

“I do if you keep avoiding me.  Don’t deny it – every time I address you, you scamper off the first opportunity you get.”

“Not ev-”

“Look at me, Ethan!  Better.  Did Amy tell you why I wanted to see you?”

“You told her it was urgent.  She didn’t know more than that.”

“Do you know why I wanted you here?”

“I can guess.”

Look at me, Ethan!  Weak king you’ll make, never looking your subjects in the eye.  You have to be direct with them or they’ll walk all over you.  More than they do now, if that’s possible.”

“They do not-”

“Don’t be childish, Ethan!  They’ll pay lip service to you, but you’re too friendly with them.  They won’t respect you for being kind to them.  But I didn’t call you here for that.”

“Of course not.”

“Don’t talk back!  We can discuss your numerous shortcomings at some future time, but I wanted to keep this brief.”

“As you wish.”

“You have not done your duty, by me or the kingdom!”

“I disagree.”

“Of course!  Of course you disagree! If you didn’t, you would have followed my instructions years ago.  You waste all your time hunting, but never once think of settling down!  How old are you, boy?”

“Twenty-four.”

“Twenty-four years old, and a bachelor still!  I’ve arranged for eligible girls to visit, and you won’t even look at them!”

“Princess Ruby was hardly eligible.  She was engaged to Duke Alfred’s eldest son.  I don’t even know how you convinced her father to drag her here!”

“It’s all in how you approach people.  I made an offer he couldn’t refuse, and he responded quickly.  It’s better than that girl deserves, planning to marry below her station.”

“Princess Lily was no more eligible than Ruby – and Princess Elizabeth is a child!”

“That’s not the point!  I arranged for countless girls to come here, and you ignored them all!  I was hardly surprised that they didn’t care for you; a girl would only marry you to become queen someday, you good-for-naught!  Princesses already have titles!  I could have fixed that – nobody wants trouble with our cloth guilds, and some princesses like the hope of becoming queen.  But you refused them! Do you think to be more of a catch in your old age?  Bah!  You sicken me, boy.”

“Countless?  You’ve only invited, or blackmailed, princesses – not very eligible ones, either.  The entire Realm can’t have above fifteen, more than half of them younger than Amy!”

“Don’t you take that tone with me!”

“You look down on anyone who marries below his station – but there aren’t enough titles for that!  You can’t possibly think that for every prince or princess in the Realm, a counterpart exists to keep their station intact!  I say, if they married happily, they married well!”

“I will not be spoken to like that!”

“You will at least hear me out!  These visits from princesses must stop!  Invite all you want, but I won’t look at them!  Or don’t you know that forcing me to marry another wife would be unlawful?”

What did you say?

“You might want to sit down, Father, you don’t look well.  Here, take my seat.  Let me help you.  Would you like some water?”

“I don’t need your help!  Get your hands off me!  What did you say, about another wife?

“I said, Father, that I’m already married.  Happily married.  Have been for years, now.  It’s all perfectly legal.  You have a grandson.  Congratulations.”

“You – but – you -”

“You think I like hunting? Not nearly as much as you give me credit for.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have important business of my own to look after.”

“We’re not finished here, boy!”

“Yes, Father, we are.  We didn’t want to keep it a secret, and I hoped it wouldn’t come out like this, but I knew better than to hope for your blessing.”

“Don’t you walk away from me!  Where’d you get that key?”

“Goodbye, Father.”

“Ethan Marcusson, you come back here this instant! I won’t have you soiling the kingdom’s reputation with this kind of behaviour.  Don’t you close that door!  Wha – Where’s my key?

“Oh, there you are, Amy.  Eavesdropping again?  With a spare key, even.  I’m impressed.”

“Ethan, I just had to know what was going on!  Besides, I wasn’t going to let him keep you locked up – how was I to know you could pick his pocket?”

Amy, so help me, you will unlock this door and let me out this instant or –

“Time to pack, Amy.  Let’s get out of here.  I’m not leaving you with him.  Especially after this.

“Where are we going?”

“I’ll tell you once he can’t hear us.  Let’s go.”

“What about the guards?”

“Good idea.  Men?  Would you mind accompanying us?  I’d like to make sure we arrive safely to our destination.”

Guards!  Guards, seize him!  Hold him for treason!  Unlock this door, I command you! Guards?  Amy?  Ethan?  Let me out!


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