Red Writing Hood: Not Just Any Conversation

On Tuesday, the challenge was to write a conversation. But not just any conversation…Using surroundings, body language, visual cues and blocking, in addition to the spoken words, show who they are and what their relationship is without coming out and telling the reader!

All that, in 300 words or less.

The keys shifted loosely in the palm of her hand. The cold metal was somehow soothing to the touch. The other twirled the glass around and around. Cold, too, as the water from condensation dripped down. She jiggled the leg that was propped up a little on the stool, and looked absently at herself in the dimly lit mirror a few feet away.

“Can I get anything else for you?” Maggie asked while drying glasses and putting them away.

She glanced at her then gazed down into her drink. “No, thanks, I’m good.” She took a small sip. The television buzzed about the latest in sports at the local University. Her phone sat a few inches away and momentarily lit up. It was a text. From him, she knew it, but she ignored it. She could almost sense his impatience radiating from the inquiring message as it lit up the phone again. It had only been a few hours, but that was longer than usual since their last communication. She sighed. All she wanted was a few minutes of quiet.

“Did you hear about that scandal? God, it’s just horrible. I can’t believe they didn’t fire every single person connected to it. The assistant coach is still going to be on the sidelines for Saturday’s game,” Maggie tried to make conversation turning around, leaning back, and looking up at the television.

“Yeah,” she responded. She smiled briefly, and looked up at the television, too. Shifted a little to her left. “What a crazy week.” She looked back down at the glass.

“Everything ok?” Maggie asked again after checking on the other patrons. She paused. “Are you sure you don’t want a menu? Hang out for a bit? Talk?”

“No, Maggie, I’m fine,” she insisted. “Listen, I’m going to only be a few minutes. I’ve got to take off soon anyway.” Maggie’s eyes were full of concern, and maybe something else, but she avoided it and rummaged through her wallet. “Thanks, I’ll see you later.” She put down a couple of dollars for a tip. It was way too much for one drink but she took long steps towards the door.

5 thoughts on “Red Writing Hood: Not Just Any Conversation

  • November 11, 2011 at 11:37 am

    This was really good – it’s obvious she has a lot on her mind and drinking alone in a bar is never a sign that things are going well. I want to know more!

  • November 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    I really like this. Especially how, when we are wrapped up in ourselves and we’re trying to get out, and other people talk about other stuff that’s going on, we really can’t be bothered to listen. My only complaint is that the use of “she” for both characters through the majority of the piece meant I often couldn’t tell if something was happening to Maggie or the bar patron.

    Good stuff!

  • November 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Who is “he?” What do his messages say? The news must be covering the Penn State scandal.

    Well done!!

  • November 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    It definitely made me want to know what had her so preoccupied and who he is. You definitely piqued my interest.

  • November 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I get the feeling Maggie and the patron know one another, and I like her distraction and tension. That’s very clear. I agree with Venus, though, that the patron needs a name to distinguish your speakers from one other. It’s especially important when both are the same gender.

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