Imagining a conversation

      4 Comments on Imagining a conversation

I began writing on a new book this morning. It’s a novel for kids and has an outline, but no title yet. Not even a working title.

When I’m trying to figure out new characters I often let them have a conversation. Conversations reveal so much. Then I write down the conversation and use it to build upon.

These characters are preteen boys in the 1920s who are getting ready for a backyard campout.

Here’s the conversation:


“I saw a ghost in the old Jackson house!”
“You did not!”
“I did so. Yesterday. My ball went up on the porch and I went to get it. And there was a ghost, sitting on the porch swing.”
“In broad daylight?”
“No. It was dusk. I was about to go
in to supper. David saw it too.”
“Where is David? And where’s Eddie?”
“They’ll be here soon. They’re
finishing up their chores. But David saw the ghost too. Only he was in the
yard, not on the porch, like me.”
“What did you do?”
“What do you think I did? I ran.
Left my ball on the porch and ran.”
“I couldn’t let it touch me. It
reached out for me. It wanted to grab ahold of me and take me back to its grave.”
“That’s silly. Ghosts are just your
“Says you!”
“Yes says me. And my dad. He says
that a ghost is a person’s fear manifesting itself in visual form.”
“What does that mean?”
“I think it means the bigger the
scaredy cat the bigger the ghost.”
“Okay then. How big is your ghost?”
“Me? I’m no scaredy cat. I don’t
see ghosts.”
“Prove it.”
“What do you mean, prove it?”
“Prove it. Go to the Jackson house
and get the ball off the porch.”
“That’s stupid. I don’t want to go
to the Jackson house. It’s dark. And David and Eddie aren’t here yet.”
“Like I said. You’re scared.”
“I am not!”
“Yes you are! That’s why you won’t
“Why should I go all the way to the
Jackson house to get your ball? If you want it back, you get it.”
“I would, but don’t want the ghost
to get me.”
“I told you, there’s no such thing
as ghosts!”
“Then you should be safe. Go get
the ball.”
“I dare you.”
“I double dare you!”
“I don’t want to go and I don’t
need to go. I’m comfortable here, by the fire.”
“If you don’t go, I’ll tell
everyone you’re a chicken, and a scaredy cat, and afraid of your own shadow.”
“You’re the one who ran away, not
me. You’re the chicken. Ghosts are not real.”
“Are too!”
“Prove it!”
“I’m trying, but you won’t let me.”
“Just go to the porch. If you see a
ghost it proves I’m right. If you don’t it proves your dad is right.”
“I don’t wanna.”
“Like I thought. You’re scared.”
“Am not!”
“Are too!”
“Fine. Just to prove to you there
are no ghosts I’ll go. But you have to come with me.”
“Deal! I’ll stay in the yard. You
get the ball from the porch. If you can.”
I know where this is going.
Do you?Note: Is this my best writing? Not even close! This is a stream of consciousness type of writing and isn’t supposed to be polished. If it ends up in the book it will only be after multiple rewrites.


4 thoughts on “Imagining a conversation

  1. WriterBandit21214

    I had a professor once whose novel writing process was similar to this. Occasionally when I'm outlining a story I do something similar where a little conversation pops out and I stick it in a list of character traits for each character. I often develop all of the characters before I even start the rest of the outline and then go back and add or take things away as things move along. Nice work!

  2. L John B

    I do something similar to flesh out an idea, or to even to develop one when I have nothing. I once ended up writing a short story that scored me an A+, and that my English teacher submitted to a publisher. Ironically it was supposed to have been a couple of paragraphs to prove I understood what a first person narrative was.


What do you think?