Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Monday, January 25, 2010

Say What?

What do you do if you can’t decide between two story ideas for a writing workshop? Well, if you’re me, you write both of them, and then, after hours of deliberation (and a half-dozen commas in one sentence), pick which one to use. I opted for the story that I felt had more "literary merit." What does that mean? Well, dear readers, it means that I shall now regale you with the sillier, and possibly more entertaining, of the two. Enjoy.

“So, what’s the assignment?”

“Write a scene completely in dialogue.”

“That’s easy.”

“Without using speech tags.”

“What, you mean that he said, she said bullshit?”


“Piece of cake.”

“What do you mean, ‘piece of cake?’ It’s harder than you think.”

“No it’s not. Just have two characters talk back and forth. It’s so simple. I bet you won’t even have to give ‘em names.”

“I’m not gonna do that. I’m trying to challenge myself. It should have at least three characters.”

“Alright, put Melvin in. That’ll make three.”

“I’m not putting Melvin in my story.”

“Wait, why am I gonna be in his story?”

“Because, Melvin, he needs three characters. And you’re the most interesting character we know.”

“I’m not putting Melvin in my story.”

“Why not? Who’s better? You could have him spout some of his geekiest lines, while we make fun of his greasy hair. Or his orthopedic shoes.”

“What makes you think I’d ever write about us in the first place?”

“Can I be a warlock?”

“Because we’re awesome. Well, at least, I am. And with Melvin in there, you’ll seem pretty cool by comparison.”

“I think I’d make a really kick-ass warlock. I could have a goatee and carry a huge battle axe and control all the peasant women with my dark magicks.”

“I’m not writing about us. There should be an intriguing situation with compelling characters, which is definitely not us.”

“Well, it’s not you.”

“And I have to figure out how I’m going to insert little details about the setting and characters into the dialogue, to help set the scene. And also—hold on. Melvin, did you say ‘battle axe?’ Warlocks don’t carry battle axes.”

“But I’d be a really, really strong warlock. My mother was a witch, my father a troll.”

“Actually, I’ve met Melvin’s parents. That makes sense. But about the detail thing, that’s easy. I can, for instance, apologize for knocking your stupid girly drink to the floor...”


“...and then ask you to grab me another beer while you’re in the kitchen getting a roll of paper towels from behind that large pile of unwashed dishes.”

“That statement’s a little awkward.”

“Yeah, but it’d get the job done.”

“And that better not stain the carpet, that’s all I’m saying. The landlord will have a fit, and I’ll lose half my security deposit.”

“Aw, you poor baby. Then you’d better hurry back quickly; the red is spreading. And hey, are you sure you want to be a writer, if you can’t figure any of this stuff out on your own?”

“Maybe it’d be a magic battle axe, forged in the depths of Al Jamuhn by Gaarlok the Malevolent.”

“Are you still on that? He’s not putting you in his story. And for God’s sake, shut off that damn movie already. You’re barely watching it.”

“What, My Dinner with Andre? It’s a great movie. It’s got Wallace Shawn.”

“It sucks. All they’re doing is talking. They’re not doing anything.”

“Damn it, the stain’s not coming out.”

“I mean, one of them should pull a gun or something. Then we’d have some action.”

“See? You’ve just contradicted yourself. And you’re gonna owe me for this carpet.”

“What do you mean?”

“I can’t get the red out.”

“Not the damn carpet. The contradiction. When did I contradict myself?”

“Just now. Any story about us would be nothing but us sitting around talking, which you’ve just said is boring. Clearly, I have no choice but to choose another topic entirely.”

“What are you talking about? First off, no story can be boring if I’m in it. Secondly, there’s a difference between a story where nothing happens and a story about nothing. Seinfeld was about nothing, and it was the most popular show on TV for nine seasons.”

“Stop arguing for this. I’m not going to write a story where we do nothing but talk for two and a half pages.”

“But it’d be so easy. You wouldn’t even have to make anything up. Hell, you could even use this conversation.”

“This one? No way.”

“C’mon, it’d be fun.”

“Especially if I’m a warlock. With a battle axe.”

“Look, it’s not happening. That’s that. If you think it’s such a great idea, you do it.”

“I thought you’d never ask.”


  1. That is totally my new favorite story.

  2. "What" ...See, I CAN follow directions! :)

  3. Wow, Naomi, usually when you call something of mine your favorite story, it's because I've prattled on and on about something you find exceedingly boring, and your words are dripping with sarcasm. Yet, this time you seem sincere. So, the kitten card story drops down to #2, does it? Funny how both your new and old favorites are solely dialogue...

  4. Excellent work. Vaguely reminiscent of Summoner Geeks, although your dialogue is far better (but they do have Magic Missile!). I'd like to meet Melvin's parents next time they're in town.