Dialogue Exercise

This is another exercise from my fiction workshop class. The assignment was to start a story with dialogue, but it ended up being kind of self-contained.



“What on earth happened to you?”

“Nothing, Mom, I’m fine—”

“Bullshit. Whose blood is that?”

“Not mine.”

“That doesn’t answer my question. Here, let me do that.”


“You have to stop getting in fights, Alex. We’re going to get evicted.”

“It’s not me, it’s them—ow!”

“Oh, come on, it’s just a cut lip.”

“Shit, Mom.”

“Put this on your cheek. Tell me what happened this time.”



“Just people being dicks.”



“Your hair’s getting so long.”

“I guess.”

“You’re looking more like your dad every day.”


“Where are you going?”


“You’re actually doing it today?”

“Gotta balance the universe out or something, right?”

“I thought you didn’t believe that.”

“I do, but you know what, I was in the right. They started it. They always do.”

“Then why do you feel like you need to do your homework to balance it out?”

“Shit, I don’t know, because you’re pissed?”

“I’m not pissed, I’m just—”

“Disappointed, I know. I’m not living up to my potential, I know. You sound like those teachers in Grandma’s movies.”

“I’m not disappointed in you. I just don’t want you to end up like your dad.”

“I don’t even know him! God, you make problems out of nothing—”

“How can you say this is nothing? This is the third fight this month, Alex, and I’m worried about you.”

“I’m fine. They were calling you—forget it.”

“What? They were calling me what?”

“They were just being dicks, okay?”


“I’m going to go do my homework.”

“Okay. I love you.”

“Yeah, you, too.”

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