Different but the same

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I’m having a little bit of trouble transitioning back to novel writing. So this morning I played around and wrote in novel and screenplay format simultaneously. Both are just places to start and rough, very rough. But I’ll be brave if you will!

Screenplay version:


Sunshine pours in through the open curtains of a medium sized bedroom. VANESSA, mid-thirties, blonde, sleeps peacefully on her back on one side of the bed. On the floor are a set of jacks. A doll and a stuffed koala bear are on the pillow beside her tucked into the covers. Several toy cars line the headboard making a zigzag pattern. A Barbie doll wears two toys cars as skates on the bedside table. A bright red ball sits in the middle of Vanessa’s chest.

PHONE RINGS. VANESSA groans. Without rolling over Vanessa reaches over and grabs a cell phone from the bedside table and brings it to her ear.



DR. BROWN, 50s, overworked, clean-cut, with a scowl, talks on a corded phone. The busy hospital has up-to-date equipment. Male and female doctors, nurses, and military personnel calmly help patients.

INTERCUT phone conversation.

Is this Mrs. Rossi?

Vanessa closes her eyes and sighs.

It is. Who’s this?

Novel version:

“Hello,” I rasped into my cell
phone, my voice still as asleep as my brain had been ten seconds before. It was
10 o’clock on a Monday morning, and for the first time in years my children had
decided to let me sleep late.
Not that I had been allowed to
sleep in solitude. As I glanced toward the door I realized that the room was
littered with evidence of a visit from my two youngest children. Zoe’s favorite
baby doll and Audrey’s stuffed koala were on the pillow beside me, tucked
neatly under the covers. Half a dozen toy cars were parked in a zigzag pattern
along the headboard, while a Barbie doll was on the bedside table wearing two
additional cars as skates.
And then there was the bright red
ball that one of my jokesters had decided to perch on my chest. How I had
managed to answer the phone without dislodging it I’d never know.
I must have been pretty exhausted
to sleep through the playtime represented by the plethora of toys. Too bad I
wasn’t tired enough to also sleep through the ring of the phone.
Especially since I wasn’t expecting
a phone call, so it was probably just a sales call.
I hated sales calls. They always
came at an inconvenient time and were usually irrelevant.
Got a rare chance to sleep late? Ring! Surprise! There’s someone on the
phone with a great deal on carpet cleaning. Too bad you only have hardwood
Got a spare moment to finally start
that book you’ve been dying to read? Ring!
Someone is there on the phone, letting your know that there’s a sale on new
windows in your area. Too bad you’re a renter!
It’s a conspiracy against parents,
I know it is.  As soon as my children cut
me some slack and let me sleep late, the rest of the world steps in and picks
up that slack. To keep me on my toes, I guess.
“Is this Mrs. Rossi?” a man’s voice
I sighed and cringed as I realized
that he had called me by my name, which meant this was worse than a sales call,
it was a request for a donation.
I really wasn’t awake enough to handle
a donation request. But I’d answered, and once I answer I have no choice but to
listen. At least for a few minutes.
“It is. Who’s this?”


What do you think?