Draft Fiction: A story in dialogue

I’ve challenged myself to write a short story using only dialogue. Colloquial, mundane dialogue, to describe a scenario or event.

The piece reads like a script, but without the added benefit of character names or stage direction, I’m instead using punctuation and format to indicate who’s speaking, when.

Overall, I enjoy the genderless approach to the dialogue. Without any further indication, we’re uncertain if our characters are two women, men or a mixed couple – we just know they’re friends. We hear mention of “Ladies first,” in a sarcastic tone and know one character is called Chris, a unisex name, all leaving room for interpretation either way.

However, by only relying on a reader’s comprehension of formatting – each line representing a character’s speech, a missed line representing that character’s silence – I think pure dialogue becomes a flawed narrative device when used at length, without any directional accompaniments.

Still, this particular story relies less on who’s saying what, when and instead the on overall plot the dialogue uncovers, so I think it still works as an isolated piece.

Let me know what you think @jordanjmcdowell.


“You go!”
“You can do one. You go!”
“Fuck you bitch. I’m getting my wine,”
“Ha, turn that off.”
“What?”
“The thing, turn the telly. Pause it.”
“Right”
“Don’t leave me here, you silly cow”
“I’m coming now! Hang on”
“What are we even doing here, this is daft?”
“I don’t even. This wine’s warm. I don’t even know now, but that film’s shit.”
“You picked it, your fault”
“What was that?”
“What?”
“Ha ha ha, nothing you daft cow”
“C’mon if we’re not going down”
“You’re the one who heard something”
“You said you did too”
“Mmm. Probably just the film scaring us”
“I thought you said it was shit?”
“It is, but it did the trick”
“Ha. Didn’t you get my wine?”
“Hold on”
“And my phone!”
“Lazy cow. Why am I even getting it?”
“Thanks darling!”
“Whatever. Here”
“Phone?”
“Here.”
“Cheers, I can use the torch”
“Isn’t there a light?”
“Broken.”
“Typical.”
“Useless.”
“It’s deeper than I thought.”
“Deeper?”
“Like, y’know, deep.”
“The cellar?”
“Yeah. It’s further down than I thought. The light doesn’t even reach.”
“Yeah,”
“Creepy.”
“Yeah.”
“Well. Are we watching this film then?”
“You said it was shit!”
“Better than standing here looking into the abscess with you”
“What? Hahaha, abscess?”
“What?”
“Abyss, you. Oh my god. I can’t even. You stupid cow.”
“Hahaha! Leave me alone”
“Abscess!”
“Leave me alone, I’m drunk and emotional!”
“An’ abscessy?”
“That’s not even a thing. I’ll abscess you in a minute”
“What the fuck?”
“What was that?”
“What?”
“Shh”
“Oh fuck off, changing the subject because you’re thick”
“Shh, seriously, put that light on. Use your phone.”
“What was it?”
“I don’t know”
“Can you hear it?”
“Not with you! Shut up a second”

“It was like a wail. But quiet.”
“The wind?”
“It’s not windy”
“Still”
“You’re confident all of a sudden”
“Ha”
“Go on then”
“What?”
“Go down!”
“No!”
“Go on”
“Shut up”
“I’ll go with you”
“Together?”
“Yeah”
“Put your torch on”
“Right. Ladies first.”
“Leave the wine here”

“Careful of the railing. It comes away at the wall a bit”
“Great”
“Shh”
“Careful,”
“Shh”
“Put your light over there”
“I swear to god if someone’s down here I’ll just wet me self”
“Hahaha! Shh!”
“Shh!”
“I need a wee”
“Shut up, keep going”
“I am!”
“Shh”
“Fuck”
“Shh!”
“It’s Jake”
“Turn it off! Put it on silent!”
“I am!”
“He’s never had good timing, has he?”
“Shut it”
“I still can’t see”

“Oh my god, Chris! Are you OK?”

“Chris!”
“Fuck”
“Oh my god, I said about the railing.”
“I’m OK”
“Are you hurt?”

“Here”
“Thanks”
“Are you OK”
“Yeah, fucking thing, I didn’t fall too far”
“You fell like a sack of shit. Ha!”
“Let’s go back up, this is stupid. Careful of that.”
“OK”
“Wait”
“What?”
“Shh”

“Oh my god”
“What?”
“Who’s that?”

END.

 

 

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