A woman stumbles in the ocean (another excerpt from my 1st draft)

(And this where I share – and bring to life – one of the problems I face in trying to write an ‘accessible’ narrative in verse: how do I write the dialogue? If I make it fit with the more descriptive elements in the story then I think it becomes too unrealistic – however, if I make it too straight then it feels completely out of place. So far, it’s been a struggle and I definitely haven’t yet got it right. This is a short example of where I’m at. As with the other excerpts I’ve shared, this is only a first draft so who knows where it’ll go from here).

“Damn, those waves are stronger than you think,”
Says X, offering his hand.
“Here, let me help you up,
Before you sink,
In to the sand.”

“I’ll have you know that was entirely intentional,”
Says the woman,
Waving help away,
And climbing to her feet unaided.
“It may not be the most conventional,
Way of taking a dip,
But I’d highly recommend it.”
She brushes herself down,
And mini avalanches fall in clumps,
From her half sodden clothes.
“However, I thank you for unnecessarily attempting,
To be my saviour.
Most commendable behaviour,
For a complete stranger.
Speaking of which,
My name’s Esme.
Pleased to meet you.”

X shakes hands with this impressive force in woman form,
And though it would obviously be the norm,
For him to then offer his name,
He instead says, “Pleased to meet your acquaintance.
It’s just a shame,
We couldn’t have met in a drier circumstance.”

“My acquaintance?”
It’s half a yelp and half a whine,
“Have you arrived here from Victorian times?”

And there’s something about the way she pouts,
And the way the shock of red hair sprouts,
From the top of her feisty, pale face,
All blown out of place,
And flaming around her head,
That he just finds immediately adorable.
But he doesn’t say this out loud.
Instead, he just stares back,
Head spinning.
She interrupts his daydream stare:
“Hello? Is there anyone there?”


23 thoughts on “A woman stumbles in the ocean (another excerpt from my 1st draft)

  1. ioniamartin

    Dialogue has always been difficult for me. I can hear it in my head, but on paper it often doesn’t seem at all what i had imagined. Best of luck with your writing projects.

    1. beautifulorange Post author

      Thanks! As a screenwriter, I think I handle dialogue pretty well in a script – but trying to make it flow in this piece of work is proving more tricky. It’s obviously not going to sound completely natural – and that’s fine, it’s the nature of the writing style – but I just need to find the best way of making it feel ‘right’ within that construct.

      1. ioniamartin

        Which audience are you writing for, or rather which one do you think you might be intending to write for? I find having a general idea of what I am going for gives me a bit more of a handle on how to construct dialogue that people (other than me) will find has a good flow.

      2. beautifulorange Post author

        I agree. But in this case I think it really is a problem of my struggling to adapt to a radically new style – at the moment, most of the dialogue I’ve written has been too comical and stilted. I need it to flow with the rest of the free verse. I’m going for a 20s-30s audience – but I’ve been surprised at the breadth of people who seem to appreciate what I’m trying to achieve.

      3. ioniamartin

        I have enjoyed your samples thus far. Hope you might consider me for a reviewer down the road. Wow no sarcasm from either side today. We can be human.

      4. beautifulorange Post author

        I really appreciate you saying that. And of course I’d love you to review it when it’s finished.

        And as for the sarcasm, I’m feeling permanently spaced out at the moment… that’s what happens when I get properly lost in my writing. It must also make me a nicer person. Doh!

    1. theguywiththeeye

      Either, or. This would only be the third time i’ve done it. First time was COMPLETELY open to all comments, and it was way too all over the place. Second time, with Ark, better, but can’t keep him interested.

      Eventually, I’d like to figure out what’s best for traffic/readers. What time zone are you in?

      1. theguywiththeeye

        East coast of US. So, I’m 4 hours ahead.

        Any setting, character suggestions? I like “deep” topics. Anything making fun of Jesus is great …

        But, it’d be best to pick a subject that YOU know the most about. YOU will be playing the “straight man”. Sorry, my blog, I get to act more foolish 🙂

      2. beautifulorange Post author

        Ha, fair enough. I’ll have a think. I feel like a comic con is a fun setting – maybe with someone who’s created a ridiculous new superhero, trying to sell his comics. Or maybe in a casino with a card dealer who’s a tarot reader. Anyway, I’ll think of some others later.

    1. beautifulorange Post author

      Yep, all of the excerpts are from the first draft of a novel I’m writing (or novella… whatever). I guess it’s difficult for anyone to get a feel for the full flow of the story (especially as I’m not revealing any major plot points!) but it’s still great to get feedback, whether it’s positive or negative.

      Actually, you’ve made me think – maybe I should make it more clear that this is all part of a single body of work…


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