• Exercise 4 Conversation with a character

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    Conversation with a character

    “What is the problem?”  she asked.

    “I’m having trouble deciding where to go next.” I replied.

    “Are you talking about with me and the mess you have placed me in, or are you talking about yourself?”

    “And what is that suppose to mean?  I have several ways I can take you now that I’ve introduced you, your former husband Rick, your current love-of-life Tom, and that interesting man you met at the party Jack.  There are lots of possibilities for you.   And anyway, my life is not up for discussion.”

    “Oh yeah?  Well, it seems that the more complicated your life becomes, the more you make my life difficult.  Can’t you just figure out what it is you want to do and go for it?”

    “What do you mean by that crack?  I’m perfectly content with my life.  I can do what I want, when I want, with whomever I want and I don’t have to answer to anyone, especially to you.  And besides, we aren’t discussing me; I’m trying to determine what will make you the more interesting.”

    “I suppose that means by having me bed hop between three men, I’m interesting.  Not meaning to be literal here, but that just sucks.” 

    “I don’t have you bed-hopping.  At least not yet.  That is what I’m trying to figure out.  Maybe I should build the tension with a will she or won’t she?  Since you are trying to butt into my head, why don’t you make yourself useful and tell me what you think?”

    “There is a reason he is my ex-husband…. Don’t even go there.  Kill the bastard off…. Nastily if you could.  I don’t like the SOB and can’t understand what you ever thought I  saw in him.”

    “It was his money and the lifestyle he gave you.  And the fact he had those incredible eyes and hands.  What about this fellow Tom you are living with?   I need to give him more depth or make him more sympathetic.   I’m not sure how to do that just yet or which way to go.  Maybe if he lost his job or come down with an incurable disease.  Tom needs something because just being a nice guy totally devoted to you is not exciting.”

    “Well, I’m exciting so what more do you need.”

    “You need someone to focus on besides yourself.  The audience will be bored very quickly if you are always center stage.  And besides, there is the mystery man Jack from the party.  I’d like to add him to the mix, but I’m not sure how to do that just yet since everything between you and Tom is going so smoothly.”

    “How about having Tom find out on the same day that he has come down with some dread disease and, he loses his job and insurance so I’m the only one he has to turn to?  This way I can be the martyr and take care of him and when he gasps his last breath and tells me to be happy and go on with my life, I can turn to Jack for comfort and we will live happily ever after?”

    “Interesting but I think that storyline has been done before.  Thanks for the suggestion but go away for a while and let me be so I can figure out what to do for you.”

    “Well, at least you didn’t say ‘what to do to you’ “.

    “That’s coming.  Thanks for your input, now scram.”

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    Interesting, Lucy. I’m sure we’re all curious to know what it is you’re working on. Wouldn’t it be nice if our characters would actually “go away for awhile” when we ask? They do go away sometimes … but never when we want them to. You mention “audience” and “center stage.” Are you working on a play, or speaking metaphorically? “Tom needs something because just being a nice guy totally devoted to you is not exciting.” There is plenty to do with a character like Tom. Fiction is filled with Toms — seemingly dull people caught up in seemingly dull lives.… Read more »


    I took Susan’s advise and just sat down and put the above conversation together in about 45 minutes. Not intended as a story to go any further, just a creative stretch. I’m having enough trouble getting my life in order without messing around with others. Maybe someday….


    But messing around with others’ lives can be so therapeutic!

    (To clarify, I’m talking fictional lives here.)


    Justine, I couldn’t agree more!

    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x