Is This Your Dog

“Awwwww” by kiwikeith is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

At the last meeting of West Lothian Writers, we had a visit from former member and now published author Emma Mooney. She was leading a workshop on grammar and dialogue. One of the most interesting part of the workshop was a dialogue writing exercise.

The Writing Exercise

Everyone in the workshop picked a line of dialogue out of a jar and we had to write the rest of the conversation and nothing else. So no dialogue tags (he said/she said) or description of our characters or the situation they were in.

By focusing just on the dialogue it allows the conversation to flow and the characters to appear through the words. In the limited time we had I wrote a complete fifty word story, which is below:

“Is This Your Dog?”

“Is this your dog?”

“No, I’ve never seen it before in my life.”

“Then why is it sitting in your car?”

“That’s not my car.”

“But I saw you arrived in it.”

“Aye, because it is a taxi.”

“But you said you don’t recognise the dog.”

“Yeah, because I’m blind.”

Story or Joke?

I’m not 100% sure if “Is This Your Dog?” works. It feels more like a joke to me. Despite my misgivings, my tale still has a sense of mystery and two characters who feel different to each other.

I normally don’t like ‘opening line’ style writing exercises. I often find – especially if the line in question is quirky – the stories I write in response just become circular banter really quickly. A problem I feel many of my Cracked Flash Fiction entries suffer from! You can check them out on elsewhere on this site and let me know whether you agree.

Do you think “Is This Your Dog?” feels like a joke rather than a story? Let me know in the comments below