I entered this excerpt from Meet the Larssons (first draft still in progress) in Nathan Bransford’s Preposterously Magnificent Dialogue Challenge. I didn’t win.
Set up: Jake is a lawyer, working on a case. Maggie is a reporter, covering the case for a major metropolitan newspaper. It’s Friday night.
I had just drifted off when the phone rang. I grabbed it off my nightstand. “Hello?”
“Jake? It’s Maggie.”
“Maggie?” I sat up in bed and rubbed my face. “What’s up?”
“Just returning your call. I thought I’d see if you wanted to meet for another talk. On background, of course.”
I couldn’t hear any loud music this time. I wondered where she was. “Are you on another deadline?”
“Nothing like that. I thought our conversation the other night was very informative, that’s all.” I tried to stifle a yawn, but she heard me. “Oh, shit, Jake. Did I wake you up? What time is it?”
“No, no, sorry. I’m still getting over this bug, and I was just going to bed.”
“Sorry to interrupt. Do you want me to come over and tuck you in?”
I stared at the phone. Did she really say that, I wondered, or am I just so tired that I’m hallucinating? “Um, I don’t…“
“I was joking, Jake. Call me sometime when you’re feeling human.” She hung up; I didn’t know whether she was angry or not, and was too tired to care. I was asleep in seconds.
(c) 2008. All rights reserved by the author.