The following is my result from an exercise at a workshop on dialogue at the Geneva Writer’s Group. A teenage daughter comes home at 3 a.m. and the father is waiting. Here I experimented with both direct and hidden dialogue.


“It’s three in the morning.” I wore my big watch, her big clock, with the loud tick, on the table.

“Oh hi Dad. Thanks, I had a good time.”

I rose to embrace. She pulled away.

“Dog’s sniff.”

Our eyes met. She shrugged a wince and yawned, pointing to her room’s door.

I moved in again.

“No sniffing,” I said. This time she received my arms. “I was just concerned.”

“I know.” The wince became a smile, weak and wet-eyed.

“Glad you’re home.”

She held her hands, fingers agitating, head dropping.

“It was awful.” A tear raced to the floor, silently splattering pain.

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