Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I Love Dialogue! Excerpt from The Best Medicine
Anyone who's read my work knows I like good dialogue. I love capturing the feel of each character and I use their conversations as a characterization instrument. The funnier, the better. In this excerpt, Tanya is having breakfast with her new boyfriend, Morgan, his sister, Molly, her husband, Kenny and their son, Duke. Their family dynamic is quite different from what she's used to, but she finds that she likes it and feels right at home.
"Where are the other boys?" Tanya asked.
"They're on tour," Molly said proudly. "They left last night. They'll be gone about six weeks. All that driving, Cullen's going to be wild before it's over. He hates being in a vehicle for any period of time."
"They'll just have to sing to him like we did. Do you remember? Any time we got in the car, he'd scream. The only thing that kept him happy was She'll be Coming Round the Mountain! We even made up our own verses because we got sick of singing the same thing over and over. Dad's were the best," Morgan remembered fondly.
"I liked yours," Molly told Morgan. "Of course the best ones we couldn't sing around Dad. Morgan's a creative lyricist," Molly told them with a sly grin. "Though I don't think that some of those things she was doing round the mountain were physically possible."
Morgan threw his head back, laughing heartily. "Oh, God! I was just thinking of that one, you know?"
He made some vague gestures. He and Molly laughed heartily. No one else knew what they were talking about. The confused looks set Morgan and Molly laughing even harder.
"They're crazy, you know this right?" Kenny looked at Tanya, his tone and expression flat. "Completely bonkers, the entire family."
Tanya looked at Morgan and Molly, their eyes watering as they giggled. "I'm beginning to figure that out. But it works for me." She winked at Kenny who grinned back at her. "I just wish I understood, I'd like a good laugh too."
Kenny shook his head, leaning back in his chair. "Trust me, no you wouldn't. I've heard this story. It's one of those where you had to have been there for it to be funny at all. I didn't even crack a glimmer of a grin when they told me."
Morgan and Molly finally stopped laughing long enough to gather up the plates and put them in the dishwasher. As they cleaned up, Kenny and Tanya sat at the table sipping coffee and chatting.
"So, what are the plans for the day?" Kenny asked her.
"I'm working this afternoon," Tanya said. "But before I do that, I'd better go to the grocery store. In fact, we both should. Morgan hasn't a thing in his house to eat and I'm out of just about everything."
"Oh, what excitement," Molly said dryly. "And here I thought you had something fun planned, like rock climbing or hang gliding."
"No, that's next week," Morgan said, keeping his face completely straight. "I thought we'd try joining the Mile High Club tomorrow, that is if I can borrow the family jet."
Tanya glanced around the room trying to figure out if Morgan was teasing. No one smiled. They all looked as if his remark was completely normal. Just as she was about to ask, Duke's ears went red and he burst out laughing. It was an explosive sound and made her jump. He giggled until tears came to his eyes.
"I'm sorry," he told Morgan. "I just couldn't hold it any more. Tanya, the look on your face was priceless! Good one, Uncle Morph."
"I don't know what you're talking about, Duke. I'm completely serious." He took a sip of his coffee and tipped casually back in his chair.
"But—I—Whatever!" Making rude finger gestures at his uncle, he walked from the room muttering to himself.
Morgan's lip twitched and then a smile spread across his face. "No, I'm kidding about the mile high thing, Tanya. But the family does have a plane. It belongs to Uncle Scott."
"No, Uncle Stan," Molly corrected.
"I'm always mixing them up," Morgan told her. "I hope I know them by sight and haven't had them mixed up in my head for the last thirty years. I think they played a prank on me as a child and pretended to be one another to confuse me."
"It wouldn't surprise me," Molly told him. "They are a little eccentric and have a very bizarre sense of humor."
"Which is the one with gold teeth? Stan?"
"Oh. Well then I don't know which is which. My entire life has been an illusion. I'm going to require years of therapy to make me myself again."
"I can help with that," Tanya told him with a perfectly straight face. "I am a professional. I even did a short stint on a psychiatry ward. Would you say you suffer from delusions?"
"Constantly," Morgan said with a huge, dramatic sigh. "Or are they illusions? What's the one when you see things?"
"Hallucinations. . . or is it halitosis? I get those two mixed up."
Kenny was looking from Morgan to Tanya and back again. "She's as loony as he is. No wonder they get along so well. What a relief! I thought we had a normal one in the family and I was going to worry about her continued mental health!"
Molly grinned, watching Morgan and Tanya be silly. "I think it's wonderful! I'm so glad you fainted into my brother's arms, Tanya!"
"Well, specifically she fainted and I caught her in my arms, but it's just semantics. I'm glad too."
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