Writing Exercise

There is a website site called Absolute Write Water Cooler that I have used as a well of information mostly for publisher and agent details. Well, I finally bit the bullet and joined. Actually it was a very interesting conversation concerning the future or, more accurately, the imagined future of the Horror genre, that finally drew me in. Along the way I discovered a bunch of writing exercises and one in particular tweaked my imagination.

The exercise was to have one of your characters interview you. Wow! What a cool concept. I really liked it when they did it in Inkheart and often wondered about meeting my characters. Once I decided I wanted to try it, Byron pushed all the others out of the way.

What follows is his interview:

The morning sun just crests the building tops adding a little of the scorching heat it will bring later to the cool breeze currently drifting through the sidewalk cafe. The bustle of passers-by and local traffic is a welcoming white noise background.  As I reach for my coffee, my newspaper sags on its released side and a man’s face fills the gap once occupied by stock tips and obituaries.

“’Allo Dale!”

I scrunch my eyes in concentration. He looks familiar but I can’t place him. Which isn’t surprising, really. I have a great memory, it’s just really short.

“S’matter? Don’t recognize me?” The stranger’s eyes grope the waitress before returning to me. “You should, you created me. Remember that summer in England? ’69 it was.”

“Byron?” The pencil legged pants and black ankle boots crossed on the railing surrounding the cafe, the white frilled shirt sleeves protruding from a gaudy topcoat, the little round lensed sunglasses perched on the end of his nose. He is an image popped right out of my head and come to life before my eyes, one that has my coffee cup rattling noisily on the table, its molten contents sloshing over the sides. “It can’t be…”

“Well it is and I’ll tell you what, we have some unfinished business, you and I. What am I?”

“You… you’re a fictional character.” I cast around looking for someone else that can see him, but the sea of passing faces continues to flow by, uninterested and uncaring.

“Don’t be daft, I know that, but what am I?”

“Umm… you’re Matthew’s friend, a playwrite, a thespian. You’re bit of a rogue; a ladies’ man and scoundrel. You’re…” I snapped my mouth closed.

“Go on, say it. Lord knows you didn’t say it in the book.” Byron’s feet drop to the ground and he leans in close. “C’mon now, say it. You know you want to.” A mischievous smile creeps across his face.

“To tell the truth, I don’t even know. You are what each reader wants you to be. What does it matter anyway?” I back away, my chair stuttering on the cement.

“I want to know if I come back.”

“I… I don’t know. Right now, I’d say no, but…”

“But what?”

“But, I’m a writer, nothing is for sure. Besides, if you were a Vampyre, how could you be here now?” I nod at the sun peeking over the buildings.

Byron looks over his shoulder at the sun, turns back towards me and smiles again, “Because I’m fictional.” He stands and pushes his sunglasses up his nose. “I ‘ave to thank-you, though.”

“For?” I’m curious as to what he could possibly thank me for.

“Claire. Not since Mary Shelley ‘erself, ‘ave I seen such strength and beauty.”

Now it’s my turn to smile. “She wasn’t for you, you know.”

“Surely she’s not for that fop John?” He sneers.

“I don’t know if I’d want to get on his bad side. You saw what happened to the others that got in the way of something he wanted. Even you couldn’t withstand that.”

 “Don’t remind me,” Byron grimaces. “You will give further thought as to my… well, after after-life, won’t you?”

I take and slow sip of my coffee. “I’ll think about it.”

“Right then, that’s all a bloke can ask. Well, it’s been a laugh riot, but I ‘ave to go. My troupe awaits. Ta ta!” With that Byron turns and fades to nothing.

I’m left sitting with a half cup of lukewarm coffee, a crumpled newspaper and inside my head a small spark gets bigger.


Here are the other participants entries if you’re interested. Some very cool entries.

orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
Yoghurtelf – http://thefarseas.blogspot.com (link to this month’s post)
COchick – http://joannchaney.blogspot.com (link to this month’s post)
Steam&Ink – http://steamandink.blogspot.com (link to this month’s post)
xcomplex – http://www.arielemerald.blogspot.com (link to this month’s post)
pezie – http://www.erinbrambilla.com (link to this month’s post)
aimeelaine – http://www.aimeelaine.com/blog (link to this month’s post)
auburnassassin – http://clairegillian.com (link to this month’s post)
Della Odell – http://dellaodell.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
Juniper – http://www.katjuniper.com (link to this month’s post)
Proach – http://desstories.blogspot.com (link to this month’s post)
allmyposts – http://becomingprince.blogspot.com (link to this month’s post)
jkellerford – http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
LadyMage – http://katherinegilraine.com (link to this month’s post)
dolores haze – http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)


About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
This entry was posted in Absolute Write Blog Chain, Exerpts - Echoes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Writing Exercise

  1. I can almost see the sparks flying over there. I’m rooting for Byron’s story to continue and I don’t even (yet) know where it started. Nice interview. Now, ask that nice waitress for a warm up and get writing :).

    • Dale Long says:

      One of my writing colleagues read my ending and said it wasn’t what she was expecting. That prompted the interview. Plus an unreliable narrator has a way of fogging up the facts 😉 Who knows, there may be a sequel but not until I finish my second book.
      Thanks for liking Byron. That’ll change once you get to know him though.

  2. kford2007 says:

    very nice interview! I really liked your description of Byron and I really like the ‘possibilities’ in the ending. Nicely done. 🙂

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  4. Trisha says:

    Great interview! I’m with Erin – I’m sending some kind of love triangle (or potential for one) and already I’m intrigued by Byron. 😀 I’m sure John’s cool too though. hehe

    • Dale Long says:

      Oh, there’s a triangle alright. Byron’s just not part of it. He kinda takes what he can get, wherever he can get it. He does alright 😉
      John is another story. Count him lucky to be included.

  5. JoAnn Chaney says:

    Loved the last line. And I liked how his dialog is written. Made him feel very English. I’d also love to learn more about John…

  6. Lisa says:

    Your FIRST name should be cliffhanger. If there’s going to be a sequel, I will be on the edge of my seat waiting. And I do mean waiting…

  7. Aimee Laine says:

    I’m left sitting with a half cup of lukewarm coffee, a crumpled newspaper and inside my head a small spark gets bigger.
    Yup. Yup. No coffee and no newspaper, but the rest is exactly the way it works. 😉 Great job!

  8. You do have a way with dialogue… and accents. Very enjoyable as was the prose. Hope you’ll keep joining us on the chains.

  9. Bonnie says:

    I’m still wowed

  10. Kat Juniper says:

    “… and inside my head a small spark gets bigger.”

    Fan that spark, get the flame going! Byron deserves a chance.

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  12. Proach says:

    I want to meet this Byron character. He seems like quite the guy. Great writing!

  13. Della Odell says:

    Nice exchange! I’m curious about Byron and what that spark at the end will bring. Great job. 😀

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