More, by popular demand…

Okay, it’s late, but I’m getting this in. I wanted to do a writing exercise today to finish updating this blog. Before I do that though, I have a couple items of business.

I have a great network of support for my writing. Friends and some family have been tremendous sources of support and validation. Writer friends, I just want to give a shout out to you: Kristi and Melinda (I put Kristi first because K is before M in the alphabet, sorry Melinda) and also to Nanci Arvizu. I’ve got these great ladies’ blogs’ links over there on the right –> so I recommend you stop by.

Thanks for keeping me going with this whole thing. Something’s gonna give. It will.

And the other thing is that I think I’ll do my posts all staggered-like. So an update on my career and then a writing exercise a few days later.

What’s more, for any writers who read this, I invite you to join me in doing the writing exercises I do here. They’re keeping the creative juices flowing for me– and that’s a valuable thing right now.

Okay, so today’s writing exercise. The story will be a continuation of the romance I did last time. The exercise is to write dialogue that rings true and that helps give the characters some depth.

So here we go. If you recall, Jonah saw Brenda on a running path. They might have some kind of history. Jonah had french toast with his daughter that morning. He might be divorced. The scene ends with an embrace.

For a more detailed recap, scroll down some to the post itself! It’s not that long.

Jonah felt her arms begin to loosen. He didn’t want to let go, but he knew he should. He had to be careful here. He felt as if fate had offered him the most wonderful of prizes, but that the prize could evaporate if he did something stupid.

They both stepped back. Her warmth stayed with his shoulders and neck.

Their eyes met.

She opened her mouth, but he spoke first, stumbling over his words. He glanced down, then back up to look in her eyes. “I can’t believe it. How does.. I mean… How is this even possible?”

Brenda smiled. “I know!” She stopped, seeming uncomfortable with the open joy in her voice. “I know,” she said again, quieter.

“I mean,” Jonah began, then stopped. “I have no clue what to say right now.” He let out a breath.

“I know,” Brenda said. She looked around. “We should… we should catch up. You know… It’s been fifteen years!”

“Yeah!” Jonah said. His breath caught briefly in his chest. He pushed through it. “Right. Exactly. I can’t believe… fifteen years.”

A new silence spread between them. This one thoughtful, rather than heavy.

“That’s a long time,” Jonah said finally.

“No kidding,” Brenda said. Her hazel eyes caught his gaze. “Do you have time now?”

“Yeah!” Jonah heard the hope in her voice. He stopped. Emily. “Crap. No, I don’t. I’ve gotta take my daughter to tae kwon do.”

“Daughter? You have a daughter?” Brenda’s expression became guarded.

This was it. Jonah knew this moment, what he said now, could ruin this chance. He looked deeply into Brenda’s eyes. “Yes. I was married. Divorced a few years ago. I got custody. It’s a long story.” He took a breath. “I really want to tell you the story, though.”

Brenda looked over Jonah’s shoulder, then down the path in the direction she had been coming from. Jonah steeled himself for what might come. He looked down.

“Okay,” Brenda said.

Jonah looked up. The sight of her eyes, her familiar face that was in so many ways the exact same as it had been, but was now marked almost imperceptibly by time… he caught his breath.

“I want to hear it. I have a story to tell too,” Brenda said.

Jonah allowed the tension to seep from his shoulders. He took a breath. “Great. It’s been a long time.”

“A lifetime,” Brenda said.

“Yeah.” He mentally took a step back. Fifteen years ago, he would have imagined this scene. That summer had been incredible. Full of laughter and life and… just full. More full than anything else he had ever known. He had been so certain that fate would bring them back together. He had imagined their reunion so many times the following fall.

But in his daydreams, fifteen years hadn’t passed. Reality was different.

He wanted to take her hand. He wanted to tell her how his heart had seemed… used up… after that summer. Like it had burned too hot to ever be able to catch flame again.

Jonah knew it would be cliche, out of a movie. He didn’t care.

“Brenda,” he said. “This feels like… like something’s being corrected. Like there was a puzzle with a piece in the wrong place.” His gaze explored her face again. “But like the piece just got put right.”

Brenda blinked. Her eyes glimmered for a moment. She swallowed deeply.

Jonah felt the warmth of her hand a moment before her skin touched his. An electric bolt shot up his arm, hitting his chest and igniting his entire body. His heart stammered, sputtered, then steadied.

She squeezed his hand. “Right. It just feels right. A long time coming.”

He squeezed back. A long time coming. A grin stretched his face tight. “How about lunch?”

Right, that’s it for today.

Okay, so how’s the dialogue? Is it real? This is a pretty fantastic situation, so the dialogue is a challenge. How’d I do? Did it add depth to the characters?

I’m having some interesting ideas with this one. Maybe even a screenplay, if I knew how to write one.

Oh well, I guess it’s time for chocolate. Or a Coke Cherry Zero.

Or both.

Let me know what you think so far!

About jaredgarrett

Jared Garrett is the author of Beat, a YA scifi thriller, and its forthcoming sequel, both published by Future House Publishing. A new series, debuting in January 2016 and also published by Future House, kicks off with Lakhoni, a fast-paced rescue adventure in a world reminiscent of Aztec culture, to be released in January 2016. He self-published Beyond the Cabin, a novelization of his childhood in a cult, in December 2014. Both Beat and Beyond the Cabin were Whitney Award nominees, and his story Song of the Wind, received honorable mention in the Writers of the Future contest. In addition to writing, he's spent fifteen years in adult education and is an accomplished public speaker and workshop leader.
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