Prompts

Scene One: Your point of view. Prompt #108

Today’s writing prompt is inspired from “Falling Down the Rabbit Hole” by Emily Hanlon,  December 2007 issue of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Using an incident from your life, or your fictional character’s life, write a scene from your point of view (or, your fictional character’s point of view). Use dialogue. Inner thought is what defines point of view. The other character in this scene speaks and acts, but the reader doesn’t know the secondary character’s thoughts. All the inner thoughts belong to the point-of-view character.

Argue-150x150Basically, you are writing about an argument or a fight, or a heated debate between two people . . . yourself or your fictional character, and a secondary character, using dialogue.

 

 

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10 comments

  1. Ke11y

    Well, I’ve emptied the whiskey bottle. What a coward I am. I could call her right now, tell her to come home while I’m drunk, and feeling brave. Christ! What have I come to? It’s not that I don’t love her anymore, of course I do. I’m just not in love with her. So, okay, before she gets home I need to know in my mind what I’m going to say. I feel wretched. Is every man that falls out of love a bad guy? I can’t keep going with the lie…the arguments…so tonight I’m going to tell her. It’s done. I’m done. Oh god, there’s the car.

    “Annie! You’re home early?”

    “That shouldn’t surprise you. Scared you’ll get caught out, are you?”

    “Let’s not start this again, please, okay. It was not a woman…”

    “Oh, so now you tell men you love them…good God, either you’re going to tell me you’re gay, or you’re pathetic. Of course it was a woman. Do you think I’m totally stupid? You’ve got women everywhere, all thinking you’re a great guy, but you’re a bloody liar. You’re going to be sixty next month, for Christ’s sake.”

    “Annie, it’s five a.m.”

    “Really, what time would you like me to talk about it? I’m sure you’d prefer office hours to discuss what a wreck you’ve made of me. But that would take away from your shagging time.”

    “Annie, I’ve told you, sworn to you, pleaded with you, there’s nothing going on with another woman. I have stuff to sort out. I don’t want to involve you, or have you in some way responsible for money that I owe. It’s from way back. Maybe what I’m doing is wrong, but I don’t want to have you involved in it, it’s a mess, just believe that and I’m doing my best to sort it out.”

    I hate myself, lying to her this way. Yes, I’ve fallen in love with another woman. What would telling the truth serve? I don’t know, it will just feel better if she’s the one to end it.

    “Oh, that’s ripe, coming from you. What do you think this is doing to me? I was the one left on the outside, while you were in her car making out! When I caught you, and flung the door open, she didn’t give a damn that you’d been caught. Looking at me like I was a piece of shit on her shoe.”

    This isn’t going well. I feel unprepared. Not how I saw this happening at all.

    “Annie, if you know anything, you know I’m not a womanizer. You should know, too, that I have nothing going on with a woman.”

    “You bloody liar. I’ve seen the letters. Do you think I’m crazy. I’ve seen the letters. There’s hundreds on your computer. Yes, I’ve been into your computer; into ‘Sandra’s’ file! Don’t tell me nothing was going on. You were shagging her, then coming home to me when you were done, weren’t you? You were writing to her after I’d gone to bed, telling her how she’d saved your life, how wonderful she is, and how you wished I’d been a woman like her. You fool, Jack. You bloody fool. Did you think you could swing it both ways, and how many others have fallen for your charm? How many women have you got on the side?”

    I need to bring this to an end. I’m drunk, and I’m tired.

    “Annie, stop. I’m going to make coffee.”

    “Why don’t you just tell the truth? Everyone knows. It’s all over the neighborhood. I think the whole of Petaluma has read your letters to her. I should have listened to Kori when she told me.”

    “Look, I’m not going to get into the business of discussing what your sister, Kori, knows, or doesn’t know. I don’t give a crap. She’s an evil bitch who hates men in general, and when she can blame anyone for her misfortunes, she does.”

    “Well you have a lot in common then, don’t you?”

    “If you say so, Annie. If that’s what you want to believe. I’m tired of trying to convince you otherwise. I come home because I love you.”

    I’m losing the argument. There’s no reason to win it, except pride. Christ, the last time we had sex was more than a year ago. What the hell does she expect me to do?”

    “Love me…love me, my God, that’s a joke. Does someone who loves someone else treat them this way? How am I supposed to pay the rent on this place, how can I pay the bills on what’s left after you’ve spent money on dinner dates, so called business meetings! So where’s the love here, Jack?”

    “I know it’s tough right now. It’ll get better. I promise you.”

    “Like you promised never to see that bitch again? But you did, didn’t you, you saw her again.”

    Shit, how long can this torture go on. Maybe I should just plead guilty, get some coffee, and pray she tires of arguing.

    “Annie, what do you want to hear, do you want me to say yes, and we had a great shag. She was sopping wet for me, and excited? Is that what you want me to say? How she was clawing at my back with desire, and biting my lip in erotic fulfillment, what do you want to hear… well okay, it was wonderful. We were brilliant together….”

    Geez, that’s the first truthful thing I’ve said to her in years. Christ, my lip is split. Hurts like hell.

    “You bastard…I hate you…I hate you…why did you do this…?”

    I’ll watch out for the next blow. Oh Christ, she’s fallen, sobbing against my chest. My blood is in her hair. Fuck!

    “Annie, please, just sit here. Let me get a wet cloth for my face. Sit down here…gently down…”

    Christ, that’ll teach me for telling the truth. I’ve got to think on my feet here. Oh God, now she’s sobbing. Been a year since I last felt her breasts against me.

    (Author’s note: I stopped here, feeling weary, hurt. It’s hard to write this stuff. Seems so real. I felt tearful, writing the woman’s words.)

    1. mcullen Post author

      Yes! Fear-filled writing, on so many levels. Good show of emotion. . . hers, his and at the end,the author’s! Brilliant writing with specific details, making it powerful writing.

  2. heartmom

    “Please Dad, just sit down” my voice is low and frosty. I can feel my eyes crackling as I grit my teeth.
    “I jus…just..wanna say a few things,” he is slurring, sounding petulant and defiant – a three year old trapped in an old man’s decaying body. He awkwardly stands, and ends up putting his hands in his plate – trying to maintain his balance. Mashed potatoes squirt through his fingers.

    The restaurant is humming. Every table is full – it’s Emeril’s in New Orleans on a Saturday night. Clinking glasses and raucous laughter. Suits and ties and cocktail dresses.It’s the day after college graduation and most tables are overflowing with several generations of families celebrating and toasting. Our party is huge, with three generations at one table … grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and cousins. We’ve all come together to congratulate our new graduate – my son. I SO wanted this dinner to be special, not just for Jay, but for the entire family.

    And Dad is drunk. Beyond drunk, actually. Bloody Marys for breakfast and bourbon in the Quarter for lunch.It’s not a “New Orleans” drunk because he does the same thing in his tidy monstrosity of a track house back home. Brandy in his morning coffee; he thinks no one notices the way he sneaks it out on the patio. Beer at lunch – just a Pale Ale, mind you. Cocktails before dinner, two or three over ice before polishing off a bottle of wine for dinner. He doesn’t have a drinking problem – he just knows how to “live” and enjoy life. He’s that kind of drunk now, although I’ve never seen his eyes cross and roll back in his head like this.

    “I don’t claim to be a sage” he begins “I’ll be eighty-one next week” he is still slurring and swaying a little to keep his balance. “They say wisdom comes with age, but I’m still waiting,” (ba-doom-ching). He looks around hopefully, expecting a big laugh. He just gave this exact speech ten minutes ago, word for word. I look past him, at my mother, and she sheepishly studies her plate. I put my hand on his arm to steady him. “That’s funny Dad” I use my best, cajoling voice, “now let’s all eat.” He shakes off my hand impatiently “I WILL speak. I WILL be heard!!”

    Across the table my sister looks at me and shakes her head. “Sit down Dad” she says in a flat voice. “You’re making a fool of yourself”. My son’s girlfriend is sitting on the other side of me. We’ve all just met her for the first time. Welcome to the family. My Dad grabs for her hand “This is for your edification, my dear” he slobbers, “my family… are a bunch.. of.. cretins”. That last word comes out incredibly loud, and I die a little more inside as heads swivel to gawk at the drunk when he falls to the floor. Damn.

    1. mcullen Post author

      Beautiful writing, Heartmom. You set the scene immediately, so we know where we are. You have described the father so expertly that I can see him and can feel the daughter’s discomfort. The last paragraph is exquisite and says so much about the sister’s point of view and how the father views his family (perhaps). Or perhaps if we heard this from the father’s point of view, we might have a different reaction to this story. Thanks for posting. It is a joy to read your writing.

  3. Ke11y

    Phew! I’m still feeling the family’s hurt for behaving so badly, and yet someone they have loved, and now seems beyond help because of alcoholism. I read this piece again this morning, the feeling was the same: makes me want to go into the garden and eat worms! How often is the reality played out? Beautifully written and expertly paced. Loved it. Hated it. You know what I mean.

    1. mcullen Post author

      Wonderful, heartfelt comment, Kelly,about Heartmom’s writing that was indeed beautiful and touching.

  4. heartmom

    This was a painful, but ultimately fulfilling exercise – especially when joining it with the next prompt. Thank you Marlene. We all know life can be messy and painful. The ability to translate those feelings into words that can provoke feeling in the reader is making art. That’s what you do, Ke11y – paint pictures with words – not always pretty, but always vivd and real.

    1. mcullen Post author

      I agree with you, Heartmom. Writing can be powerful. Writing can be healing. And I LOVE having your writing here! Big Smile.

  5. Ke11y

    The Gambler

    I’m a betting there’s a God.

    I gamble like a man

    I bet my life

    I’m not neutral with the hand I have

    I’m holding blue skies

    The bulk of a living body

    A night sky full of distant planets and stars

    And I’m holding my ace card

    I’m a gambler, I gamble like a man

    I’ll wager yours is a dark hand

    The mangled dead of war

    Shadows and dark clouds

    The despair of no hope

    And your ace card, evil.

    Okay, it’s your call

    Hmmm…shadows and dark clouds

    I lay down blue skies

    Your eyes slicken

    The Mangled Dead of War is played with a slap

    Trumped by the bulk of a living body

    A sly grin seals your lips tight

    Purposefully you lay down your despair of no hope

    But I slip on top, the night sky full of distant planets and stars

    Only to see you raise your hand, and flick across the table your final card

    Evil

    The room is filled with gasps

    The stranger reaches for the pot

    I lay my hand on his, slowly turning my last card

    Faith

    I’m a gambler

    I bet my life

    1. mcullen Post author

      Wow, this is powerful writing! Thanks for posting.

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