Sunday, April 10, 2011

April Writer's Challenge- Dialog

So I had a comment on my last piece, the writing challenge prologue for my friend Eric's blog, from another writer/blogger ( ) I was surfing over at her blog and noticed she had an April writer's challenge to do a dialog piece. She had a very touching and image-provoking piece up as her entry, a list of email entries, and I immediately know exactly who/what to do for a dialog piece. The submission guidelines are simple, a dialog back and forth of any kind with JUST dialog, no tags, no asides, no descriptions. The goal is to create two or more distinct characters just through dialog. It's actually a goal I've played with for some time, and argued over with creative writing teachers as I tend to keep up with dialog better than they perceive the average reader does. Which is to say I rarely feel tag lines such as (s)he said, so-and-so replied etc are necessary. I tend to make the introduction at the beginning and assume my reader can keep up with the back and forth of conversation. I do, however, tend to like motion or action asides and tonal descriptions like 'he leaned against the wall' or 'she said with pity in her voice', so trying to find a scene where just the dialog would be sufficient to portray the depth of emotion of the scene was somewhat difficult. But a situation from book three of Tiger came to mind as uniquely appropriate. I'm resisting the urge to explain the situation as, well, that would kind of circumvent the point of the exercise, so, hopefully, the dialog is more or less up to the challenge ;) .... here you go!

"Tiger, you shouldn't be standing there. That window exposes you to a hundred rooftops."
"I've lost a husband and a child in the last week Richard, an assassin's arrow is not my primary concern."
"You don't have the luxury of being just a mother or wife, you know that. The nation lost it's Prince Consort and one of it's princes, it needs it's Empress. Come away."
"I can see the city square from here. It's where they hung him."
"He's not there. The servants have his body Tiger; they are readying him for burial."
"I know. I've already been to see him, and I saw the marks on his neck. He was still alive when they hung him this morning."
"I inspected the body. The noose broke his neck. It was a clean death."
"Clean death? Richard, he wasn't a man grown to care of such things, nor a warrior to expect such. He was a child of five, there is no such things as a 'clean death' for one so young."
"Come away from the window Tiger."
"Why? The Grey Wolf doesn't need an assassin's arrow; they've destroyed me. With one fell swoop they widowed me and placed me in an impossible position. They judge me as a mother for letting him die, or they judge me as a ruler for saving his life. 'One must never trade two lives for one'. I had no choice, but my people will fault me all the same, and who can blame them? What kind of mother won't move the world to save the life of her child?"
"They won't fault you. They too have lost children and loved ones to this fight. You share their pain, and so they will follow wherever you would lead."
"Tell that to my nobles, already they plot."
"They're nobles, that's what they do. You knew this war was unpopular when you started it. Too many have made their fortunes in the grey market to appreciate your attack against it."
"Thank you Richard, 'I told you so' was exactly what I needed to hear right now."
"That's not what I meant and you know it. I lost a son and a grandson as well."
"I know. I'm sorry. It's not your fault."
"Thank you, it's the first time you've said it."
"You were watching over Lily, and my husband should have been more than capable. It's too much Richard. The economy struggles, the nobles grumble, the people bleed, and that tiny body. I didn't need to see him hung to see it in my mind. I can see him swinging there, right there on the announcement post of the square."
"Another reason to come away from the window. He's gone Tiger. And you withdrawing your blockade would not have stopped it. It may have delayed it, but you know he was dead as soon as they took him, one way or another."
"No, I don't. I could have withdrawn. The Grey Wolf has returned prisoners of war in the past, has honored ransoms and seen captives home. All I had to do,"
"Was break one of the most sacred rules of your throne and throw away your honor as a ruler. Your people need you. They need their Empress, not a broken mother. There will be time to weep, Tiger; there will be time to grieve; you will have a chance to mourn, but right now you must put on your mantle as ruler and go to your people. Right now their grief will have to be enough for you."
"It's not as easy as you make it sound."
"Easy? I've lost a wife and a daughter in service to you, and now I've lost a son and a grandson as well. Life is never easy, but it's still your choice to follow through or to give up. And you've been through too much to give up on your obligations. Come, your people await your words. Stir them to righteous anger instead of depressed grief. Your family's blood has wet the ground, but you can still win this war."
"I have no righteous anger right now Richard."
"Find it. You have other children Tiger, would you forsake your duty and force the mantle of leadership upon Lily while she is yet so young? And in the midst of a war? Stop this maudlin and pull yourself together."
"Ever the poet,"
"No, you're right, I know that, brutal as always, but correct. Bring me my formal attire, I will need the trappings of my rank about me to manage. But I shall."
"Your servants await with it in the outer room, my Empress."
"I hate it when you do that Richard. Go, be with my children, give them what comfort you can. I shall have to be enough for my people this day."
"You will be Tiger."


Blogger Sonia M said...

Very srong voices! I was able to get a very clear vision of the story with only dialogue. If it's alright with you, I'll link to this post in the comments section of my April Challenge post. Thank you so much for posting!

8:36 AM  
Blogger Sonia M said...

ooops...missed a "t" in strong. *blushing*

8:36 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Wilson said...

I love this! Great job painting a nice clear picture!

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Conuly said...

I'm not sure if you saw my reply to your comment over at FRK, but just so you know, it's not against the law in ANY state to drive barefoot or to enter stores barefoot - although in the latter case, individual stores are well within their rights to say you can't do it.

The fiction that it IS against the law is just that - a myth.

7:33 AM  

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