Continuing with the theme of writing dialogue, today I want to have a go at writing snippets of conversation between two characters, using this to convey how they feel about each other.
In my novel, the protagonist is Annabella. There are two key male characters: Zikmund (who hates her) and Gorg (who she falls in love with). I will give these characters a topic and write them some dialogue to convey firstly hatred and then love – without stating the emotion explicitly. My topic will be the replacing of the town well with a monument and fountain.
You can try this yourself with your own characters. You can choose any topic – even the weather.
Z: I know it hasn’t been long since the accident, but did you hear the council have plans to change the well? They’re going to replace it with a fountain monument.
A: A monument to Martin? How can they think of making changes now, it’s too soon. Please, I don’t want to think about it, let’s take a walk.
Z: I’m sorry I’ve upset you, but it’ll be safer this way. I thought you’d be pleased. I don’t want to sadden you. Of course we’ll walk, anywhere you like.
A: The gardens are beautiful right now and quite secluded in some parts. I know of a spot amongst the climbing roses where we can kiss unnoticed.
Z: Seclusion and kissing – what more could I ask for. Give me two minutes to grab a handkerchief.
A: Oh, I’m so busy thinking about my own pleasures and totally forgot about your hay fever. Don’t worry, we’ll go elsewhere. Plus I don’t think you’d be much fun to kiss if you’re sneezing all over me!
Annabella and Zikmund: HATE
Z: Did you hear the council have plans to change the well? They plan to replace it with a fountain monument.
A: That will safeguard against any similar accidents.
Z: What, are you planning on driving more of your patients to kill themselves?
A: I had nothing to do with Martin’s death, but I should know better than to expect you to understand the complexities of human health.
Z: I understand enough to know a witch when I see one.
A: And I a bigot. I think we’re done here.
Annabella and Gorg (here represented as A and G): LOVE
G: I hear there are plans to change the well into a fountain. I know it hasn’t been long since Martin’s death, but I do think this will make the square safer.
A: You may be right. Poor Martin, I still can’t believe what happened. I don’t want to think about it, let’s take a walk.
G: Of course we’ll walk. How about the gardens, I know you love the flowers we planted by the lake. But you know Martin’s death wasn’t your fault, right?
A: I know that, not that it matters. I just wish he were still here. Perhaps the lake is not the best idea right now. Could show me you latest plantings?
G: Actually I’ve been working in the orchard. Let’s go there, it’s secluded enough that we can walk arm in arm and feed each other sweet fruits.
A: Mmm, sounds delicious!
G: The well is to be made into a fountain.
A: Why are you telling me this? Why are you even talking to me?
G: Thought you’d want to know, you were involved with Martin after all.
A: Do you have any idea how insensitive you are? And I wasn’t ‘involved’ with Martin. He was my patient.
G: And now he’s dead. Coincidence or just bad luck?
A: What do you think? Oh that’s right, you’re just a gardener, thinking is not really your thing, is it!
Ok, so I know it is brief and it was a very quick writing activity, but I found emotions leaning toward hatred are much easier to write! Have a go and let me know what you think. REMEMBER: as with all writing activities, the aim is to have a go without self-censoring or negatively judging your efforts. If you decide to use your snippets of dialogue, you can re-work and edit them later. Have fun!
Photo credit: heart
Photo credit: hate