Writing and Tuning Your Ear for Dialogue

by | April 15, 2015 | General | 1 comment

For the Oh Get a Grip blog, for which I’ve been writing for years along with Lisabet Sarai and others, I tried an experiment, a writing exercise I would recommend.

This Friday I’ll be attending a play I wrote, being performed downtown and the experience of writing a play and how it differs structurally from narrative fiction is profound and its worth your time to explore.  Essentially you’re telling a story in pure dialogue.

Dramatic – that is theater – dialogue is of a very specific nature in sound and voice because it written for the human voice, not the mind’s voice.  In real life, people speak a certain way, in short punchy sentences very often with phrases repeated over and over.  Its worth learning to tune your ear to this.  I studied by standing in grocery lines and coffee shops, noting the cadence with which people naturally speak to each other and writing it down verbatimn to examine.  I listened to plays and movie dialogue to get a sense of how the pros do it.

Then, for practice, below, I wrote a story roughly 90% in dialogue with only minimal narration.  Try it.

                   “Enter the Angler”

“Pick your era,” he says.  “We
have flagellation brothels, sword and sandal, Roman slave girls.

“What era did Dracula live in?”

“What, when he was alive, like Vlad the Impaler
alive, or when he was a vampire?”

“The book,” she says, “that was
Victorian right?”

“You feel like Victorian tonight?  We’ve
got Victorian.  And Roman slave girls. 

“‘Hold high your succulent quim, he

“We’ve got this roman slave girl thing,”
he says.  “I can read that to you.”

“You have such an un-liberal thing for slave
girls,” she says, “You scare me.  What is it about slave girls?

“I think slave girl stories are sexy.”

“Why?  Because they can’t say no to you?
Right?  You just switch it on and off you go.”

“Maybe.  A little.”

“You’re very passive, you know that?”

“Oh stop.  Not that again.”

“No, you are.  You want a woman who can’t
say no to you.  That’s your passive fantasy.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Yes!  It really is.  That’s the very
description of a passive male.  You either want women to do you, or you
want a woman who can’t say no to you.”

“Is that supposed to be getting me hot?”

“I don’t know.”  She waved her
hands.  “Hold the slave girl stuff for a while.  Hey – did you
know there’s this story in the Bible where these two daughters commit incest
with their father?”

“That’s seriously fucked up.”

“Oh, the Bible, its amazing what’s in
there.  Pass it to me.  I know where it is, somewhere around Sodom
and Gomorrah.”

“Oh, I’ll bet.”

“No – these were the good guys.  The ones
who got away.”

“God spared them and they fucked their


He reached down to the bottom shelf where the larger
books were kept.  He lifted out a heavy white leather bound Bible and
tossed it to her.  She caught it in her arms.  “Show

She checked the concordance in the back, caressing
the pages thoughtfully with her fingertips, as he watched, suddenly admiring
her.  She still had her girlish habits from her school days.  He
waited wondering if she would still do it – was she – yes – there it was. 
The pink tip of her tongue, touching the doorstep of her lower lip as she
concentrated, the way she did when they met in study hall half a lifetime

She flipped through the Bible with scholarly
authority, ran her finger down a column.  “Here.  Genesis

“Tell it sister.”

“The Bible sez – ‘Now Lot went out of Zoar and
dwelt in the hills with his two daughters for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar so
he dwelt in a cave with his two daughters.  And the first born said to the
younger ‘Our father is old and there is not a man to come into us after the
manner of all the Earth.  Come let us make our father drink wine and we
will lie with him so that we may preserve offspring through our father.’ “

“Whoa!  They fucked him?”  He
gasped, thought.  “That is kind of hot.”

“Oh my god you’re gross.”

“No,” he says, “you’ve got these two horny
women living in a cave.  They don’t want to fuck their father but what if
a guy came along, say, me, came along, ‘hey there you girls in the cave all
alone’.  I just killed this deer.  Let’s cook it up and spend the
night.  Want to have some kids?’ “

“That’s passive!”

“What’s passive?”

“You know these girls are going to come after
you with all they got.”

“That’s sexy as hell.”

“That’s passive male behavior.  You’re not
working for it.”

“I’m bringing them dinner.  Why they want
to fuck their old man anyway?  What’s that?”

“It’s about lineage.  The old tribal
people were serious about preserving lineage.  They were trying to do
their father a favor by not letting his blood line die out.”

“Yeah, but its nasty.”

“You didn’t think so a minute ago.”

“And passive.”

“If you read Matthew these people were part of
Jesus’ blood line.  Really.”

“Jesus was descended from these father-fucking

“Kind of.  Yeah.”

“God is good.  I guess.  So does that
get the machinery humming for you?  It kind of does me.”

“The machinery isn’t humming yet.”

“You’re a tough sell tonight.” 

“What else?”


“Oh – pass the soy sauce.  What is

He went to the middle book shelf, ran his hands
along the spine and drew out a thin book “Ten Questions on Joining Yin and

“To master the Eight Pluses, rise at dawn,
lengthen your spine, flex and relax your buttocks.  During the joining of
yin and yang through intercourse let your spine be loose, contract your
perineal muscles and conduct the seven energies to your sexual organs below the
Tan Tien. Exert pressure downward.  This is called Accumulating
Energy.  Do not go in and out too rapidly or with too high frequency. 
Thrust in and out gently and gliding and with control.  This is called
Gentle Moistening.  When finished, withdraw the Jade Stalk erect. 
This is called Stabilizing the Erection.  These are called the Eight

She was sitting with her mouth open.  “Oh
my gawd . . . “


“That is the most unsexy thing I’ve ever
heard.  I feel like doing the laundry now.”

“Its actually good advice.  Just a little
clinical is all.”

“That is the most mechanical shit.  It’s
all about number.  The eight what?  Why eight?  Why not twelve
or fourteen? Its like that thing you read in the Kama Sutra that’s supposed to
make the woman bark like a dog when she comes.”

“You scream for Jesus when you come.  You could
bark like a dog.”

“You don’t even vocalize.  I wish you would
sometimes, just let it out and yell like Tarzan.”

“I can yell like Tarzan.”

“Hey – want to hear the first horny thing I ever
read, ever?  Pass me that Desmond Morris book.”


“The little green paperback with the naked
guy.  Yeah.”

He hands it to her.  She flips through
it.  “When I was in junior high?” she says, “Someone passed
this around.  It was the first time I ever read what happens when people
fuck.  ‘In this particular instance we know that the female of the species
has developed a particular susceptibility to the sexual stimulation of the
clitoris.  When we remember that this organ is the female homologue of the
male penis this does seem to point to the fact that in origin at any rate, the
female orgasm is a borrowed male pattern.’ “

“That’s not true!” he says. 
“Its the other way around.  All embryos start female.  They
become male in the womb.  Fetuses start with a clitoris and testosterone
turns it into a dick.  He’s got it backasswards.”

” ‘ This also explains why the male has the
largest penis of any primate.’ “

“Now I like him.”

” ‘Copulation starts with the insertion of the
male’s penis into the females vagina.  The male then begins a series of
rhythmic pelvic thrusts.’ Really.  You can’t beat that.”

“Like Hemingway.  Like Updike and
Hemingway together.”

” ‘The copulatory phase is typically much
briefer than the pre copulatory phase.’  Yeah, especially with you. ‘The
male reaches the con. . . conson . . . con-sum-ma-tory act of sperm ejaculation
in most cases unless deliberate delaying tactics are employed.’ “

“Consummatory.  Wow.  I wanna
consummate your ass.”

“Wait for the copulatory phase to begin


“Soon.  After the precopulatory phase is

“How will I know that?”

“Sometime after the commencement phase of nipple
erection as a variation of sexual signaling.  I’ll make sure you

“If you say so.”

“Actually I really like this,” she says
“It still gets me.  I wanked off with it when I was a kid.”

“So it’s about muscle memory.  I really
like slave girls.”

“There’s something creepy about you.

“Okay, now that we agree.”  He pulls
a paperback with a girl on the cover in a torn Roman tunic, climbs onto the
bed, leans back and rests his head in the valley between her breasts, snuggling
side to side close.  He feels her chin touching the top of his head as her
hand strokes his hair.  “Page 57,” he says,  “‘You are
my property girl, know you that, he said, smiling cruelly.’  How do you
smile cruelly?  Is it like this?”

“Please don’t do that again.”

“The weeping girls face flushed crimson as his eyes
bored into her- “

“Ouch,” she says.

” – bored into her – “

“Like with a power drill?  From Home

“Shut up.  Bored into her. His eyes bored
into her with a Black and Decker drill and a 35mm auger bit –

“Baby you’re so big – “

“So his eyeballs, they do this boring and he
says ‘turn around and lean against the table. If you move or cry out I’ll flog

“Flog me.  Copulate me.”

“Yes,” he says.  “Slap slap,
spanky spanky.  Now – ‘ slowly she turned, blushing with a hint of hidden
desires and the possibility of secret delights.  Grasping her tunic,
Lucretius wrenched it away in a single swipe of his powerful masculine hand and
exposed his throbbing member. Roughly he parted her knees and with a groan he
entered her.”

“No!”  she says 
“Stop.  Stop, just stop, now you’ve blown it.”

“I didn’t write it, what have I blown?”

“Entered?  Really?  With his
member?  Member of what?  Club Med?  Does your member ever

“No, but I –“

“Do I make you throb?  Do I make your member

“Not exactly.”

“Christ.  Why does he – “

“She.  It’s a she wrote this.”

“Why the fuck does she or he or it always have
to say ‘enter’?  How do you enter someone?”

“You just enter them.  Maybe groaning

“I mean, even Lot’s daughters, they let their
dad ‘come in to’ them at least, ‘like all manner of the Earth’, whatever that
is.  That’s nice.  Poetic.  They didn’t make him enter

“Like entering a hotel lobby?”

“Enter me!  Enter me, baby, enter me

“Hold still while I insert myself.”

“Yes!  Insert yourself!  Enter
me!  Insert me!  Now!  Now!”

“Shall I insert your bags upstairs after I
enter you?”

“I hope you’re not expecting a tip after you
enter me, I don’t carry cash.”

“What if,” he said, “what if a guy
could enter you and then, like, move in?”


“Live there right inside your pussy.”

“Just enter me and set up housekeeping in

“Like being born but in reverse.  I enter
you, warm up my dinner, maybe room service down in there, snug at home inside
your pussy.  After I enter you, that is.”

“Take your shoes off after you’ve moved into my
pussy and close the door when you poop.  Don’t leave your hairs in the

“Turn on the TV, looking for HBO after I’ve
entered your pussy and unpacked, catch up on Game of Thrones and take a nice
hot shower inside your pussy.  Or the adult channels.”

“So you’ve entered my pussy and unpacked your
stuff and you’re eating Chinese food in your underwear living inside my pussy,
all tucked away and watching porn? And whacking off?  In my pussy? 
Shouldn’t you eating my pussy instead of Chinese food?  Passive!”

“No, wait, let me check the air conditioning,
its humid here inside your pussy.  Maybe I should call the desk.”

“Hey!” she says, seriously. “Isn’t
there a fish?”

“A fish?  In your pussy? 

“No.  Is it there?”  She points
up at the bookcase.  “There was this fish you showed me.  Black,
really ugly black fish with glass pointy teeth.”

His eyes glazed over for a moment thinking. 

“With this thing on his head,” she says,
“Looks like his dick is hanging off his forehead.”

“Angler fish!”


He goes back to the bookcase, runs his finger over
the spines.  “Here,” and pulls out a large flat science textbook
of marine life.  “And actually it’s the lady angler fish that looks
like she has a big prick growing out of her forehead. A long one that

“That’s very handy having a dick where you can
reach it.  I could go for that.”

“As long as she doesn’t try to give herself a
blow job.  Ow.”

He passes her the book, open to the page on the
anger fish and she looks.

“ , , , When ceratioid males are ready for
reproductive activity, with their extraordinary olfactory sense they follow a
dedicated pheromone to a female, who will often aid their search further by
flashing her bioluminescent lure. Once the male finds the female, he bites into
her belly and drools a chemical that dissolves skin effectively fusing his jaws
in the area of her ovaries within. Their skin joins together as do their blood
vessels, which allows the male to take all the nutrients he needs from his host/mate’s
blood while exchanging a perpetual ejaculation of sperm to her ovaries whenever
she ready for spawning. The two fish essentially become one body until death. .
. “

She looks at him hard.  “I just think
that’s so fucking hot.  Just think – he fucks her forever. 
Forever!  Without ever stopping.  That’s all he does ever.  And
not just one – more than one.  A whole Fire Station battalion of

“God is good,” he says.

“Come here,” she says, holding out her
arms.  He lays down beside her, his hand slipping inside her nightgown,
finding her breast.  “Angle me,” she says.


1 Comment

  1. Lisabet Sarai

    You wrote a play? And it's being performed? Why haven't you been shouting this to the rooftops? Congratulations!

    One thing about writing a story in dialogue, as opposed to doing a play, is that in a play you have visual cues. Lots of them, including actions, expressions, and so on. When I first read this story, I had a difficult time figuring out who was speaking – what their relationship was, and what they were talking about. It gradually became clear (which is perhaps what you want in a story – a sense of mystery that gradually resolves). But if this were a play, one could at least identify the speakers and their gender from the very start.

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica


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