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Jacquin
March 1st, 2004, 01:31 AM
This one has had my stumped for a little while. In all honesty I’d run out of ideas for exercises. I was sat in front of the computer wringing my hands in anguish trying desperately to come up with something interesting when it struck me.

This exercise doesn’t need to be interesting, it needs to be boring! I was thinking it was about time we did something with dialogue and I thought it might be fun to experiment.

The idea of this exercise is to write a scene involving two people. They are in a place of your choosing and having a conversation of your choosing. There are only two conditions. The first is that a large chunk of your scene is dialogue, the second (and more intriguing) is this. One of the characters is bored witless with the other. How you show this is up to you, it just has to be interesting to read.

In a nutshell show us the dullest person in the world and make it fun

You have 500 words. Please feel free to comment on other people’s work but only once you have put up your own.

J

tingmakpuk
March 1st, 2004, 10:08 PM
This exercise reminded me of one of my first stories. I decided to use the opening conversation for the exercise, but it was over 700 words. It's amazing how much it improved when I was forced to cut (to 525).

Trust me; as lousy as this still is, it's a vast improvement over the original. Please abuse it.

---

Countless oddly shaped organisms filed through the terminal before Kelvin MacQuire was able to wade into the pedestrian river flowing steadily into the ship. But even aboard the ship, he felt like he was drowning.

He waved to a human female flight attendant, who cheerfully rescued him and directed him to his seat. His quick thanks was interrupted by the passenger already seated to his left.

“Ho-ly dog shee-it. Not another Earther.” A large cowboy hat hid the speaker’s face and a good portion of his two or three foot body. As Kelvin sat, he realized it was a Salpian. He had never seen one before, but there was no mistaking the translucent purple, gelatinous body, molded in this case to resemble a human. “Seven of your days is about six-and-a-half too many. And I can’t even catch a break when the damned vacation is over.”

Kelvin tried to smile consolingly before he eased back into his chair. His quiet moment ended as the Salpian’s spongy elbow prodded his ribs. A tiny, purple finger surfaced in Kelvin’s line of sight, pointing at a large, female Saragor.

The Saragor had disappeared behind her seat. Only her four slim tentacles remained in sight, flailing about like dying millipedes.

“Whoowee! One fine creature, that’s what. I’ll bet she could suck the rivets out of a battleship, if you know what I mean.”

“Like Saragors, do you?” Kelvin programmed flight preferences into his seat. The fish looked like the best option; most of the others entrees were toxic to humans.

“I like all females,” said the Salpian, his gelatinous thumbs running up and down the lapels of his tiny business suit. “Even your Earther women. Did you see our pilot, that Salpian beauty? Molded for utilitarian purposes into a Glazkou, mind you. But I wouldn’t mind glutinating that once or twice.”

Kelvin plunged into the mind numbing detail offered about each menu item. He took momentary amusement in noting the Himmolian soup was instantly fatal to Salpians. He mentioned how appetizing it sounded.

“What,” said the Salpian. “You don’t like females? Oh, that’s it. I read about ya’ll, sometimes liking your own gender and such.”

“Something like that,” said Kelvin, still poking at the pad on his armrest.

“Oh, ho!” The Salpian rose in his chair a few inches. “Con-de-scen-sion! Let’s get something straight for a hairy moment. Point one, this persona was purchased as genuine Earther. Do you deny this fact?”

“You bought,” said Kelvin, pausing to rub at the dull ache developing near his temples, “a genuine Earth stereotype personality.”

“Stereotype being the archetype of a subculture, yes,” urged the Salpian.

Kelvin shook his head. “A stereotype is an exaggeration of specific elements of a subculture – almost exclusively the least endearing elements.”

The Salpian’s face showed puzzlement and then anger as he decided he had been insulted. “Eat my gelatinous ass.”

“Were you finished?” asked Kelvin, politely.

“No,” said the Salpian. “Point two, you may feign civility, but your entire planet is the most savage, uncivil, anarchic world in the galaxy. And that is not an exaggeration. I have always believed conquering it was a mistake.”

JRMurdock
March 3rd, 2004, 12:12 AM
When I read this post, I could only think of My Dinner with Andre but I think that was a bit more than 500 words. Then the words--506 to be exact--snapped into my head...

---
“Sleep apnea!” exclaimed Jeff as his head snapped up.
“What’s that you say?” Jeff’s grandfather, Jeff, Sr., said in his raspy voice as he held a hand up to his ear so he could hear better.
“Nothing,” Jeff said, shaking his head, trying to wake himself up.
Jeff’s only purpose of sitting here in front of his grandfather was because the old man was about to die. If Jeff had his way, he’d be spending the money already. Jeff Jr. was dead as was his wife. That left the entire family inheritance to Jeffery Gregory Reinhold III. All he had to do to get it was to listen to grandpa’s endless stories of his glory days.
“When I was your age,” the old man prattled on without losing a beat, “I remember wasting my time with parties and girls. When I finally got my head on straight, I was able to amass the largest fortune anyone in our family has ever had. Now it’s time…”
Jeff felt a sharp jab in his ribs of his grandfather’s cane. “Wake up, damn you!” Jeff, Sr. rasped as he shook his cane at Jeff. “If I’m leaving you a dime, you’ll have to absorb all the wisdom I can impart on you. Now sit up straight and listen.”
“Yes sir.” Jeff did as he was told. He tried to keep reminding himself that this would all be worth it. His grandfather was worth nearly $500 million. If he could convince the old man he was interested in the family business, he’d never have to work a day in his life.
“Where was I?” Jeff, Sr. asked as he adjusted the blanket on his legs.
“Your wisdom,” Jeff responded in mock honor.
“Don’t sass me, boy.” Jeff dodged the heavy brass handle of the cane, but was still grazed on his shoulder. “Why I’m leaving you anything is beyond me. I should leave the entire estate to someone who’ll actually take care of it.”
“I’m your only living relative,” Jeff defended.
“I can change that,” Jeff, Sr. said in a shallow, serious tone.
Jeff had tired of his grandfather’s threats. “Come on, Grandpa…”
“Pa! Pa. I ain’t yer grandpa I’m your Grandfather. When are you going to get that sorry ass of yours back into school like I told you?”
“I’m taking classes now…”
“Now? All I ever see is your sorry ass hanging around here like you’re looking for a handout. Do you have a job? When I was your age, I had three jobs and I was putting myself through school. Myself. I didn’t have a grandfather to pick up the tab. You should be happy…”
Jeff’s attention slipped again. This time the brass handle did find his head.
“Get out of my sight. Get. Go.” Jeff, Sr. was serious this time and Jeff had the lump to prove it. It seemed like the days would never end. Jeff wondered what made his grandfather hang on for so long. No amount of money could be worth this torture.

---
I will post my comments on the purple bloby guy in the morning as I need to fall alseep myself.

Dawnstorm
March 4th, 2004, 04:20 PM
The train window pushed against Shira's facial fur as she shifted her cheek to let a low growl escape her mouth. There was a brief pause from the human beside her, but then he continued to babble:
"It's a classic, I tell you. A classic. And it only cost me..."
What else can I do, to stop him? She'd turned away, looking at the scenery whirring past outside. She'd even growled. Surely he knew a growl signified displeasure?
"A bargain! I've seen it catalogued for almost twice the price!"
As he stopped to take a breath she sat up straight and turned to face him. Her defiance defeated she made a reply: "I will never understand the human infatuation with inanimate objects." Then she yawned, displaying her fangs in deliberate impoliteness.
"My, if this isn't envy." With a toothy smirk, the man poked her shoulder. "You wish, you'd seen it for that price, don't you?"
She pushed back into her seat as the dribble filled her ears, stifling an urge to flatten them against her skull and hiss at him. Instead she said, "If you care so much about your classic automobile, what are you doing on a train?"
"Oh, I'd love to drive it all the way from London to Edinburgh. But, you know, it's kind of risky. It's the 1956..."
And he repeated detail after boring detail. Obviously, her irony hadn't penetrated the pheromonal cloud of male human arousal that surrounded him. When, finally, she couldn't take any more, she blurted out, "Going off on me or your car?"
The man stopped midsentence and stared at her. "I'm not..."
"Well?"
"I'm..." His smell began to change.
"I smelled your arousal the moment you took your seat. It grew more intense while you were talking. I wondered, was it me or that car of yours?"
He gaped at her, not yet angry, but there was definitely a hint of testosterone in the air.
Enjoying her revenge, she purred, "Perhaps you want me in the car...".
"I don't know what you think you smelled, but I'm not aroused by cats!" he finally managed.
"Pardon my feline curiosity," she said, slowly turning to face the window.
At the next stop, the human grabbed his bags and left without a word. She did not spot him on the platform.

[387]

===

Comments later. :)

JRMurdock
March 4th, 2004, 09:14 PM
tingmakpuk - I liked your story and it seems to have a lot more behind it, but I found your character (Kelvin) more...perturbed, upset, angered rather than bored with his conversation. Perhaps it's just my view.

Dawnstorm - I liked how you faded in and out. The way the female feline (Shira) could 'smell' the human's reactions and emotions. Interesting way to get out of a conversation.

Maus99 - What were you thinking. zzzzzzzz

Oh, wait... I'm all here. I'm also looking forward to more posts to this rather interesting post. I feared it might be dull...

Jacquin
March 5th, 2004, 02:08 AM
Not spec-fic I'm afraid, but then a lot of my stuff isn't, it is 444 words long and was written in about 20 minutes for this exercise. I have yet to edit it, but think it might be worth the bother, I quite like it so I'll be interested to see what you guys think... :eek:

A nice guy they’d said. Easy going, not too ugly, richer than the Sultan of Brunei. You’ll make a lovely couple they’d said. He’ll adore you they’d said. Mike and Jane they’d said, even the names sound right. She couldn’t fault them on what they’d said, it was just that Jane was wondering why no-one had said that he was the dullest man on the face of the earth.

Now that waiter over there didn’t look boring, he could occupy her for hours, she smiled at Mike wondering what on earth he was whittering on about now. He smiled back.

“Isn’t that right Jane?”

“Oh yes,” she replied, “Absolutely. More wine?” Without waiting for a reply she reached over and topped up his glass. Maybe he’ll shut up a bit if he gets pissed she thought.

He reminded her of a guy she’d met at college, he was absolutely stunning, short blonde hair and the biggest blue eyes you’d ever seen, he was so fit that even his muscles had muscles, but he was dull too. He looked like a Norse God but had a voice like Mr Bean, she’d fallen head over heels in love with him, until he opened his mouth to talk and then she’d fallen back out of love twice as fast.

Good god, what was he going on about now? Something about Spanish Haddock quotas, didn’t he realise she didn’t care? Couldn’t he tell she’d rather scoop out her own eyeballs with a rusty spoon than talk to him about bloody dead fish? Ah well, at least the wine was nice. She topped up her glass and cast her eyes over the label. Bordeaux, 1982. Was that good she thought? She had no idea, but she knew if he’d picked it, it probably was. The guy was a walking encyclopaedia of facts no-one cared about. It tasted good though and that was all that mattered. She took another sip and caught his eye.

“This is a lovely wine,”

“Oh yes, the International Wine and Food Society grade it as a seven, that’s as high as you can get you know. Strangely 1982 was a very bad year for almost all of the French wine producing areas, Bordeaux was one of the…”

She let his monotonous whine fade into the background noise and settled down for some serious waiter watching. That was a real man, someone who could make a woman happy. She could just imagine his slimly muscled arms around her, his dark stubble grazing her cheeks, but she could never really go for a common waiter, not now she was married to a man as rich as Mike.

JRMurdock
March 5th, 2004, 02:19 AM
Originally posted by Jacquin
There are only two conditions. The first is that a large chunk of your scene is dialogue

I want to be the first to cry FOUL on Jacquin!

Ok, just messing with you. I honestly think it is funny there there is a surprising lack of dialogue in your story:)

Well done though. I like the rusty spoon idea...;)

Jacquin
March 5th, 2004, 02:34 AM
Originally posted by maus99


I want to be the first to cry FOUL on Jacquin!

Ok, just messing with you. I honestly think it is funny there there is a surprising lack of dialogue in your story:)

Well done though. I like the rusty spoon idea...;)

Damn! I was hoping you wouldn't pick up on that... :D I did try and work more dialogue in but I HATED the guy and everything he said...

Never seen a rusty spoon but it really doesn't sound pleasant does it?

J