Tuesday, June 25, 2013

And the Winner of the Conversation Contest is...

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

First off, a big welcome to all the new faces and visitors to the blog. Good to have you with us.

Last week the challenge was to write a persuasive conversation and have both voices sound different. There were a lot of good entries, so this was one of the tougher ones to narrow down to four finalists.

Everyone should be proud of the work they did.

Here are the finalists:

D.T. Krippene
“I’ll talk to the CO,” I said.

“No need,” Rick replied. “Already had a rousing tete-a-tete with Senior Officer Doorbuster an hour ago.”

No doubt about it, Rick was pissed. I decided against correcting him with Officer Dorchester’s proper name.

“I meant to tell you earlier.”

“Were you going include my pending appointment with Nurse Ratched and her merry band of needle-stickers and butt-pokers?

"The one you call Nurse Ratched, is actually Doctor Jean Withers.”

“Well then, since it’s a doctor rummaging around my innards, I should be honored.”

“She’s just going to give you a health exam, not propose marriage?”

“What do you know about it?” he groused. “Gal starts philandering around Buster and the sidekicks, next you know, she’s reeking of jasmine perfume, opening a bottle of hooch, and suggesting dates.”

I don’t know what happened in the past to warrant his cast-iron bachelorhood, but he had me huffing with the chuckles.

Rick grabbed his hat and slapped it on his head. “If it’s all the same to you, Warden, I think I’ll mosey on back to the old place.”
What I like about this one is how the voice of each character really gives you a sense of who these people are. I also like how the internalization has just as strong a voice as the dialog.

Carol Riggs
Granna kicked the end of my bed, making it shudder. "Get your lazy carcass up and moving. I'm not playing ladies' maid to you all summer, no matter what your mother thinks."

"Whaaat?" I squinted at the pale-lit window behind her and groaned. "The freaking sun's barely up. This is my first day of vacation, Granna."

"As if that makes a speck of difference. There's still chores to be done. I need that garden weeded, and I don't mean tomorrow. If you're going to be eating my vegetables, you're sure as shootin' going to do some of the work."

I squeezed my eyes closed. Nope, she hadn't changed in the last three years. "The garden will still be there in a couple of hours," I said, and wrapped the pillow around my head.

She yanked the pillow from my head so fast I swear I got whiplash. "Darcy Renee Tate, I said for you to get up. And that means now. Don't make me fetch a bucket of water to splash you out of that bed."

Tyrant. The word was so close to the tip of my tongue, it nearly fell out.
The voices are also strong here, with another solid sense of character. And again, great use of voice in the internalization.

There’s a double-fisted bang on my door. “Jay, X-Box.”

“I’m working.”

“Take off your lipstick and panties for an hour!” Donny wedges his head through the crack and sees Kell. “Why do you have a Mexican in your room? Are you paying her in food stamps to take her clothes off?”

Blood may be thicker than water, but it’s not thicker than bigotry. I know you can’t choose your family members, but I sure as hell believe you can walk the other way when you see one coming.

I put down my paintbrush. “She’s not Mexican, you half-wit, or naked.”

“But she’s brown. That wasn’t racist, y’know, ‘cause she is brown, and anyways, I have the right to free speech.” He winks. “First amendment, all the way.”

Before I can yell, Kell breaks in.

“Double-digit-IQ here knows which country he lives in. Gold stars all around.” She doesn’t sound angry, or even sarcastic.

I manage a tight laugh. “Donny’s a sophomore at St. Anthony’s.”

“I didn’t realize private schools consider geography an elective, along with diplomacy and etiquette.”

Donny snorts. “I’m taking automotive shop, not French.”

“Changing oil is one step up from making fries.”

“Hey, Taco Bell, get out so Jay and me can shoot stuff.”

“Donovan!” I’m about to get seriously pissed.

But Kell leans forward, out of the good light. “Call of Duty?”

“Oh, yeah!”

“Then I’m going to kick your butt.”

He grins. “Well, I don’t mind if you’re wearing lipstick.”
This one does a great job with three voices, not just two. I like how you can keep track of who's speaking even without a lot of dialog tags.

Abby Annis
“I’ll explain everything when we get back to your house,” Jack said. “For now, we need to leave. Hopefully, we’ll be able to keep the authorities out of this.”

More water splashed to the floor as I ran my hand over my hair. “None of this makes any sense.”

“It’ll all be clear soon.” He rubbed my shoulder. “It’s too cold for you to go outside wet, so I’m going to dry you. Don’t freak out.”


All the water pulled from our clothes and hair. The tiny droplets shimmered, hanging in the air around Trevor, Camryn, and me before they splattered to the ground.

If not for the frizzy mound of ringlets sticking up everywhere on Camryn’s head--and everything I’d just witnessed--I never would’ve guessed she or Trevor had ever been wet.

“So. Freaking. Awesome!” Trevor said, apparently forgetting he hated Jack.

“No.” I shoved Jack. “Not awesome. None of this is awesome. Tell me how any of this is possible. Now. No more of this I’ll tell you later crap.”

Jack lowered his lips to my ear, and whispered, “You belong to the most powerful race of beings in the universe.” He nodded toward my friends. “They do not. Therefore, I prefer not to discuss any of this in front of them. Too many of their memories will have to be erased as it is.”

“Erased?” I choked out the word.

Jack prodded me toward the exit. “I’ll make sure it’s as pain-free as possible.”
I like the balance between the calm and the freaking out here. And then there's the quick, overly excited secondary character who has their own voice as well.

And the winner is...

D.T. Krippene

Every single one of these was really good. What pushed this over the top for me was how well the voices characterized, especially the line: "Gal starts philandering around Buster and the sidekicks, next you know, she’s reeking of jasmine perfume, opening a bottle of hooch, and suggesting dates" just oozes character and a man who speaks like this is pretty unforgettable.

D.T. Krippene, just contact me at janice (@) janicehardy (dot) com for your critique.

Grats and fantastic job to everyone!


  1. D.T. was definitely memorable! Bravo to the finalists; I enjoyed all of y'all's entries tremendously!

  2. Goodness, those were all excellent. I especially loved Carol's. (Yay Carol!)

  3. Well done to everyone, and congratulations to D.T.!

  4. What great examples of voice and dinstinctive dialogue! Congrats to DT. I had a ton of fun with this exercise--nice to write something new and unrelated to my WIP. (And aw, thanks to Crystal for the compliment!!)

  5. Wow. Thanks all, I'm honored and humbled. Such great entries and good fun to participate.