Coffee Fields, Oahu, Hawaii



12/7/13: I've just relaunched this blog! With a whole new look, I'm returning to this blog and will be publishing my fictions - old and new - along with notes and thoughts about writing and being a writer. I'll also be including posts about my work with World Vision as their blog manager as well as my travels. You can now subscribe to this blog by email or through Google+, and you can leave me comments here or in Google+ itself. Come read!

6/28/11: I'm on Twitter! Follow me @MatthewBrennan7

6/18/11: My website is live! I have pages for my fiction and translation projects, news updates, a list of my publications, and information about my editing services. Check it out!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bed & Breakfast Morning: An exercise in dialogue

My favorite thing about this flash fiction is that most of it really happened. I was staying in a B&B in Aberdeen, WA, and in the morning, all of the guests had breakfast together out on a covered porch. It can be a nice way to meet people ... but it depends on the people. Awkward can happen. And it did. 
This is still fiction. I wrote it quickly, wanting to capture as much of our actual morning as I could, but I also wrote it as a dialogue exercise. There's no exposition, no dialogue tags; the characters are noted through text styles – bold, italics, etc. It's an experiment. See if it works for you. 

Bed & Breakfast Morning
from Speech Bubble Magazine

“Good morning folks! We’re Bob and Jo Parsons, and we’re from North Carolina. Where are you all from?”

“Hi. Mark; my wife Rachel. From Boston.”

“Lovely to meet you both. Our hostess said that both of the coffee pots are the same, regular.”


“Here’s some biscuits for you. Would you all like ham with your eggs? Okay. Anything else I can get for you? Mark, do you need more cream for your coffees?”

“Sure. Thank you.”

“Oh well we’ve got some more on our table you could take.”

“I can just bring some more.”


“These peaches are just perfect. I think you’d have to go all the way to Georgia to find ‘em this good.”

“They grow them here, too. Other side of the mountains.”

“Did you come over that way?”

“No, but we’ve been there before.”

“I see, I see. We drove out here right from SeaTac. We’ll be heading up into the national forest on Tuesday.” / “We once spent six days driving from St. Louis to Chicago. It’s a five hour drive!” / “We did, we did. Our watchword is, ‘don’t rush’.” / “Our other watchword is, ‘don’t be a tourist.’ We don’t like to go anywhere buses go.”


“Good morning! We’re Bob and Jo Parsons, and we’re from North Carolina. Where are you folks from?”

“And a good morning to you as well! We are Harold and Valerie. We are from Tennessee.”

“We used to live near Knoxville. Hello neighbors! Coffee pots are the same, both regular. We have more cream here if you need it.”

“These blueberries are enormous.”

“We once visited a little copper town in Tennessee, built up on a hillside like this one here. All of the workers were provided houses in town, and if they got promoted, they moved up the hill! Each job came with a specific house.”

“I suppose you could move down the hill, too!”


“This view reminds me of Bellingham.” / “Yeah, with the hill and harbor and ...”

“Oh is Bellingham nice? We talked about going, but we’re spending a few extra days here instead.”

“They’re both nice.” [...] “Some of the houses are similar, too.” / “I love these houses. The mid-century modern, the porches and balconies.” / “The paned-glass windows ...”

“Did you take the architecture tour of the neighborhood? It sounds interesting.”

“We walked around on our own.”


“So Bob and Jo, what brings you out to Washington?”

“We’re taking a little summer vacation.”

“We are too.” / “And Mark and Rachel, what ...”

“Oooh, let me guess! Newlyweds.”

“Are you on your honeymoon?”

“The wedding wasn’t yesterday, was it?”

“Last week.”

“So it is your honeymoon!”


“Yes, congratulations.”



“Mark and Rachel don’t say much.” / “I think they’re busy with their food.”

“All set with those plates? I can get those out of your way.”

“We’ll be checking out soon.”

“Just ring the bell when you’re ready.”

“Oh you’re only here one night? We won’t see you tomorrow?”

“That’s right.” [...] “Thank God.”

“Nice meeting you!”


No comments:

Post a Comment