Did you know that Poets & Writers magazine offers a weekly writing prompt in Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction writing? Here was this week’s prompt and how I tackled it:
Dialogue, when it’s working well, moves the story forward and more fully develops your characters. Keeping this in mind, write a scene for a story that is only dialogue between two characters. Let what the characters say reveal the plot and their personalities and motives.
“Did you think I wouldn’t notice?”
“I’m not stupid, you know.”
Lena ignored her mother’s crossed arms in the doorway and reached into the open refrigerator and grabbed the peanut butter.
“I can’t believe you would do this to me.”
“I didn’t do anything,” Lena muttered, pawing in the drawer for a spoon.
“Your hair!!” her mother shrilled. Lena knew that wasn’t a real word, but making up words that absolutely should be words was one of her specialties.
Lena sighed. She had genuinely forgotten that she let Brenna dye a one-inch strand of hair Cotton Candy Pink on Saturday night.
“What did you do?!” Lena’s mom raked her hand through her own sleep-tangled bob. “Why would you do that?!”
Lena leaned on the counter and waited for the runniest drips of peanut butter to ooze off of the back of her spoon. She wasn’t sure why, but the more her mother bristled and reethed, the calmer she could feel herself getting.
“It’s not a big deal, mom. Hair grows.” She stuck the spoon in her mouth and pulled the bread out of the stainless steel breadbox engraved with the words “The Richardson Family.”
Lena’s mom yanked fretfully on the lapels of her bathrobe, shaking her head and closing her eyes. “It might not seem like a big deal to you, Eleanor Michelle. But it is, indeed, a big deal. While you are living here, in our house…” Lena could see her mom falter out of the corner of her eye at this mistake.
Her mother inhaled deeply and steadied her voice. She started again, her voice lower now, “You have no idea how this looks.”
Lena shrugged and ran a napkin gently around the outside edge of the jar before putting on the lid, the way her dad always did. Sandwich in one hand, jar in the other, she opened the refrigerator with her elbow and stuck the jar on the top shelf in the back.
She took a bite of her sandwich and headed for the door, where her mom was already moving aside.
“It’s just hair, mom,” she said again, and headed for her room. As she walked down the hall, she listened for a response, but all she could hear was the soft shuffle of her mom’s slippers across the kitchen floor and then a quiet thwap. She tried to think of just the right word for the sound the refrigerator door made as its seal split apart.