“No, he has it.”
“In jail. They have all of his personal property as far as I can tell.”
“It’s Chesapeake Correctional Facility.”
Then I saw a small group of people talking. One left the group and I heard, “Thank you,” as the person walked away.
Then I heard someone I walked by say, “Unfortunately not!”
Our time was short so I went back to class.
We were told to circle our juiciest line and try to create a scene around it. Of course my ears perked up when I heard the word jail, so I went with that. Here’s what I came up with:
The woman pulled a cigarette out of her mouth and blew the smoke out of the corner of her lips.
“Where is his wallet?” a muffled voice said through the telephone.
“As far as I know, it’s with him in jail.”
Even though I didn’t get very far in the scene, I like that recording the dialogue gave me an idea for a story. If only I could find time to write it.
If you want to try this dialogue activity with your students, get the details from So You Want to Write: How to Master the Craft of Writing Fiction and Memoir by Marge Piercy and Ira Wood. They offer it as an exercise.