• Hemingway Exercise

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Uncategorized     Comments 3 comments

    “Hey, Hun, do something about that noise, will ya. I can’t even hear myself think.”

    “There. Is that better?” The wife said and flung the egg timer out the kitchen window.

    “You didn’t have to do that.”

    “Out of sight, out of mind . . . right, Dear.”

    “Whatever. So, is dinner done? I’m starving.”

    “Well, we wouldn’t want your needs to go unsatisfied now would we?”

    The husband stared at his wife. She stood in the kitchen, staring back, and swirled the wine in her glass. When it sloshed over the rim down her hands, she didn’t bother to wipe it.

    “Uh, you feeling ok?” he said.

    She chucked her wine glass into the sink. Grabbed his fixed dinner plate and dropped it in front of him. The meat slid off the plate and clung to the edge of the china. “I am just peachy. Why do you ask?”

    “For one, you just threw my meat at me.”

    “Sorry. It slipped,” she said and plopped down the bowl of beets. The beet juice sloshed outside the protective circle of the bowl and stained the tablecloth scarlet.

    “Sure you’re all right?” 

    “I told you, I’m fine. Eat up before it gets cold.”

    She watched as he shoved a slab of meat into his mouth, sauce dripping down his chin. 

    “This is great. New recipe?”

    “It’s veal. I know how much you like those younger cuts of meat.”

    The husband started to choke, and coughed until his face turned red.

    “What’s the matter? Can’t you handle it?”

    She watched his eyes bulge from their sockets, and smiled.

    “Did you put peanuts in this?” He grabbed his neck and started to gasp for air. “I’m allergic to peanuts, you know that!”     

     “Oh I know everything . . . Dear.”

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    Ha! This is hilarious. It reminds me of “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl. Ever read it? It’s priceless.

    As for realistic dialogue, careful about making statements solely for the reader’s benefit. For example, “I’m allergic to peanuts, you know that!” If she knows it, why would he say it? Here’s a more natural way to approach it:

    “It’s a simple recipe, really. Salt, pepper, garlic. Peanuts.”

    Great job, Joanna.


    I don’t think I’ve ever read that Roald Dahl story. I will have to look for it.

    Thanks, I see what you mean. I had that last line, “Oh I know everything.” stuck in my head and couldn’t figure out how to make it work without the husband first asking, “Don’t you know?” OR “You know that.” lol But what you say makes sense. :-)

    It was a fun exercise. Thanks, guys!


    Always fun to read your work, and this one really tickled me. Finding the vehicle to carry off this assignment came hard for me, but like you, once started, it became enjoyable.

    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x