August’s meeting continued with the skill of writing effective dialogue. We looked at how to suggest social standing, age, dialect, ethnicity and period through what characters said and how characters say it. It was agreed that too many dialect words made readers switch off but selecting your words and their arrangement in a sentence works. The occasional, understandable dialect word, a greeting in a different language or a word used during a particular time in history, all help to suggest a character’s background without telling it through long narrative sentences.
The task was to show a conversation between two people from different backgrounds.
Encounter between two people from different backgrounds.
‘I can’t believe what I’m seeing. It can’t be can it?’
‘Thought I’d drop by to check on you. Feeling any better?’
‘Well yes, a little. Still in a bit of pain and of course the bruising but I’m getting there. How did you know where to find me?’
‘Quite simple. The paramedics said they were taking you to Queen Charlotte’s and of course I knew your name because they asked for it.’
‘I’m really grateful to you for picking me up off the road. If another lorry had come around the corner I wouldn’t have stood a chance.’
‘Just second nature really. Did they trace the driver?’
‘Yes but only because a cctv camera caught the action.’
‘That’s good to hear. Got any other visitors today?’
‘No and I’m not expecting any. I live in Somerset and I was just up for the day for a meeting. My parents live in Scotland and I’m recently divorced.’
‘Sorry to hear that. You must be feeling pretty fed up.’
‘I am but your visit has brightened my day.’
‘Would you like me to come again tomorrow?’
‘If you’re sure it’s no trouble.’
‘Time for your meds Laura. Is this your boyfriend?’
© Julia Powell 2021
LADY Why don’t you look where you goin’? You better not ‘ave broken my i-phone boyo!
She picks up her phone.
PETER I’m terribly sorry. I didn’t mean to collide with you. I thought you’d seen me coming, and had realised I couldn’t avoid you because of the wall to my right, and the large lady to my left!
Lady’s not listening.
LADY You damn lucky my phone not broken!
She looks up. Mutual attraction is immediate! Her anger dissipates.
PETER Well I couldn’t have collided with a more beautiful woman! What gorgeous eyes you have!
LADY (laughing) You flatterer!You owe me dinner!
PETER Come to my club then. It’s almost 6pm. Pre dinner drinks and then some of the best food in London.
LADY What now?
PETER (emphatically) Yes!
LADY ‘But dey won’t let me into a men’s club! They’re not Welsh miners!
PETER (smiling) Tonight’s ladies’ night.
Peter puts his finger to her lips.
PETER That’s no problem. It will be an honour to walk in with such a gorgeous companion. And no-one will question the judgement of their new club Chairman when he’s walking in with Shirley Bassey on his arm!
200 words Bob Reader August 2021
A Ghostly Encounter.
The dying sun caught the grass near the Battle of Sedgemoor memorial making the green turn red.
‘Beautiful, ain’t it?’ said a man’s voice behind her.
‘Gosh, you made me jump.’ Rubbing her dog’s head to quieten her sudden whining, Anne went on, ’But you’re right. It’s magnificent. Almost, as if the blood were flowing again.’
‘I’s like to come here, at this time of year. Pay my respects. So many killed.’ He bowed his head.
Anne was reluctant to break the silence, but Rosie’s whimpering had increased, ‘Quiet, girl.’
‘Lovely dog that. What type?’
‘Rosie? She’s a cockapoo. She’s normally very friendly.’
‘Cockapoo? What’s that when it’s at home? Never heard of it.’ He paused but before a puzzled Anne could explain the breed he went on, ‘Not from these parts, are you? Can tell from your accent like.’
‘I once lived here many years ago. Too many! And you? You’re local I take it?’
‘Oh aye. The family’s farmed here as far back as I can remember.’
Looking more closely at his clothes, Anne asked, ‘Are you a member of the Sealed Knot Society? I didn’t know they were performing a re-enactment of the battle this year. I see you’re wearing rebels’ costume.’
He looked down at himself, ‘What you mean? These are my everyday clothes, these.’
‘But there’s dried blood on your collar!’
Anne shivered. The sun had gone down beyond the horizon and its warmth had faded with it. Long shadows turned the grass grey. Rosie began to pull on her lead and Anne knew it was time to return to the warmth of the pub, the Duke of Monmouth. She turned once more to her companion to say goodbye but there was no one there, nor could she see anyone walking away along the flat fields towards Westonzoyland.
‘Nobody will believe this. I don’t believe it. Come on, Rosie. Let’s get going.’
A CHANGE OF PLAN
‘So, you intend to marry my daughter, Mr Buggins.’
‘Yeah, can’t wait, Sir George. The date’s fixed and it’s gonna be a real posh do.’
‘You are aware, that Celia’s been engaged previously.’
‘Oh yeah, she told me. He must’ve been a right prick to let her go.’
‘Oswald is the son of my best friend and will soon take over his father’s business and has excellent prospects. I was very disappointed when he backed out.’
‘I thought she broke it off, Sir George. She said he was a boring little tit.’
‘So, she finds your company more amusing. Well, there’s no accounting for tastes.’
‘She said they fell out and he screamed and swore at her.’
‘He certainly did, all the way to the hospital.’
‘Oh yes, he needed major surgery. It was one of her biggest kitchen knives, she used.’
‘Strewth, she didn’t tell me that!’
‘She’s got a violent temper. Runs in the family.’
‘I expect she’ll change once we’re married.’
‘I doubt it, Mr Buggins. She’s just like her mother. Where did you think I got these scars?’
‘Perhaps I’d better talk to Celia again, Sir George. There may be a change of plan.’
Shop owner: Well, what have you to say for yourself?
Young Man: I’ve done nothing. Don’t know why you’ve stopped me. I was just looking; I’m allowed to do that in any shop. Why have a big glass thing there anyway?
Shop owner: It is, or rather was, a most expensive ornate, oriental vase!
Young Man: Definitely wasn’t me. I need to get home.
Shop owner: And I require some details and then certainly you may depart. “Just looking” is that what you said? I’ve made a note. I’m sure the CCTV will confirm all. Meanwhile, if you would kindly write your name and address here …. other means of identification?
Young Man: No … you calling me a liar?
Shop owner: Not at all. Just attempting to dot a few i’s
Young Man: What are you on about? It’s all writ properly there. I’m already late for my tea.
Shop owner: Well, let me not keep you any longer. Mind where you put your feet when you leave, with your remarkably-large motorbike boots.
Young Man: If I were you, I wouldn’t bother with stupid stuff that falls down easily. You could get sued; you know. Only saying.