A DIALOG & WRITING LESSON part 2/2
(revised & expanded version of 2000 Jan 30)
by Felix Lance Falkon
"Yeah?" Jon, now on his feet, pulled open the bureau's top
drawer and passed a foil-wrapped packet to Morganstern, who stood
up, stretched, then opened the packet. "I s'pose we could start
measuring each other – chest, arms, waist -- then drop t' the
calves, work on up t' our thighs and -- you know. That could --
that would be more interesting than just saying how tall you
are and how big around the chest and, as you put it, how long and
how thick where it -- it counts." Jon grabbed a towel, peeled off
his protection, and wiped himself dry. "Like -- Hey! Like the
beginning of this story, where you established -- without ever
stopping what was going on, that you're bigger than me -- and a
real muscle-hunk at that -- but that I've got an okay body too."
"Another problem." Morganstern finished putting on the
extra large' contents of the packet, then applied a dab of the lubricant that Jon dug out of the drawer. "If you write that a story-stud of yours has -- say -- ten-inches, some readers will think this is exciting, but others will think your character is laughably over-equipped. What is all right for B, will quite
scandalize C, for C is so very particular.' "
"Again -- huh?"
"A Gilbert & Sullivan quote. From The Yeomen of the
Guard, I think." Morganstern gestured at the bed with a sweep of
his right hand. Jon stretched out on his back, tucked a pillow
behind his head, and spread his legs. Morganstern knelt between
Jon's thighs, leaned forward, found his target, thrust, and then
stopped an inch or so inside. "One writer likes his characters
to be kind of chubby and well-furred; another likes studs in
their twenties, with taut, sharply etched muscles they get from
working out at the gym." He eased an inch deeper, felt Jon
respond with a squirm and a squeeze.
"Got any Rules for which kind of characters t' use?"
"Nope. I really don't have any Rules for the writing game –
just lots of suggestions. You can write a story that's all
dialog, with no speech tags at all; you just have to realize that
when you do, that format will take some of the reader's attention
away from what's going on in the story.
"It helps to have the characters sound a bit different from
each other as they speak: I use long sentences with long words;
you speak more informally, with more slang, more elisions."
"Elisions?" asked Jon.
Morganstern wiggled his hips from side to side, then eased
deeper still. "Leaving out a part of a word, like s'pose for
suppose, or t' for to.
"Yeah? I notice that you stress a lot of words as you talk,
sorta like this. Makes you sound – you know -- funny."
"It beats talking corn-pone hill-billy talk to show what I
mean. Somebody with a good ear can spot the difference between a
Kentucky accent and a Mississippi one, or even between Brooklyn
and Queens, but I'm not that good.
"Then there's what a story's about. Some readers want you
to get on with the Main Event, with just enough plot to get all
the characters into the same bed at the same time. Other readers
want more plot and dialog, less details and description. Still
others get excited by stories of bondage and humiliation, of
whipping and torture; a few even like stories of being eaten
alive – or worse -- on stage." Morganstern slid a deeper into
Jon, pulled back, thrust again. Morganstern watched Jon grit his
teeth, felt Jon clamp down hard, felt and saw him relax with a
long sigh. Jon's eyes focused on Morganstern's, and the two men
grinned at each other.
Morganstern realized he was tensing up inside. He slowed
his stroke. "Some get turned on by characters who use all the
standard four-letter words, along with a few well-chosen five-
and six-letter ones. Others --"
"-- manage without any dirty words at all, like -- like
we've been doing --"
"-- which works as a demonstration, but does call attention
to how the story's told, instead of what it's about. And
while some people are really into incest or under-age characters;
others want to stay away from those areas which are, as the old
cliche has it, illegal, immoral, or fattening."
"More suggestions?" asked Jon.
"An important one: although Kipling wrote: `There are nine
and sixty ways, of constructing tribal lays, And every single
one of them is right,' I think that a very effective way to
construct a story is to pick the right point of view from
which you can best tell that story, and then put your reader
firmly into that point-of-view character – seeing what that
character sees, feeling what the character feels, and thinking
and remembering and deciding as the character does those things.
In short, let the reader be that chosen character from one
end of that story to the other.
"The reader," said Morganstern, "will experience being
in the story if you – the author -- avoid interrupting
the action to address the reader directly, if you avoid making
the reader jump into another character's head, and if you avoid
making him look down on the scene from a set of disembodied eyes
hovering over the action. Also, do not start the story with a
lecture, or biographies of the characters, or a descriptive
passage told from any point of view other than that of your
chosen character; don't delay getting the reader into the
story's point-of-view character and into the story itself."
"Hey," Jon said, "I thought you said that if a quoted
paragraph doesn't end with a close-quote mark, then the following
paragraph is automatically being said by the speaker of the
preceding one. So – why did you identify yourself as the speaker
"It's more important not to confuse the reader than it is to
depend on the reader noticing that missing close-quote mark. Now
-- where was I?"
"About four inches deep and counting." Jon squirmed up
against Jon's next impaling thrust. "A bit deeper, now."
"That too. Point of view -- a long story may be told better
as a series of shifts from one character to another -- but only
if there is a clear break -- always marked with extra blank
lines in manuscript, on screen, or printed on paper. Some
writers put a few asterisks across that space. The first
sentence following the break must put the reader firmly into
the next point-of-view character's head. I saw one story recently
in which the point of view shifted from one of the story's two
characters to the other with every paragraph. That's hard to
do well, but it's a very interesting way to tell a story: the
reader is alternating between those two characters as they
interact, physically and in the dialog. However, I still think
the most effective way to tell almost all stories is to tell
them from just one point of view, so the reader can really get
into that character's memory, and eyes, and ears –"
"-- and other appendages." Jon grabbed Morganstern's hips,
pulled in another half inch. "Then if I wanted the reader t'
watch us from above, t' watch your back muscles working, t' watch
your butt pumping, pulling back, thrusting again, then --"
"Well, you really can't do that and still hold this story
together. You could go back and rewrite the beginning so that
I look up at a mirror on the ceiling over the bed and watch you
humping away on top of my muscular self, but that's about it.
Having me remember now what I saw then doesn't work at all
– you didn't have a mirror on the ceiling, because if you
had, I would have noticed it then – and so would the
reader, who was being me at the time.
"A minor suggestion is to avoid having characters with
names that sound or look too much alike: Joe' and Moe,' for
example, or even Danny' and Dennis,' unless they happen to be
interchangeable twins and you want to emphasize how much alike
they are. With our names – Morganstern' has three syllables, while Jon' has one. Our names don't start with the same letter.
They don't even rhyme. So, there's less chance to confuse the
reader." Morganstern eased himself deeper. "There -- all the way
in. Are you still --"
"Billy!" yelped Jon.
" `Billy'? That would work -- two syllables, doesn't rhyme
with either --"
"I don't mean Billy, a two-syllable name that doesn't rhyme
with your name or mine; I mean Billy, my kid brother, who just
came in through the hall door I forgot t' lock."
Morganstern jerked his head around, looked back over his
shoulder, saw a sturdy young blond stride towards the bureau,
shedding clothes along the way. "Don't worry, dude," Billy said
as he finished stripping and reached into the bureau. "I'm at
that in-between age: old enough to vote, too young to buy beer,
so even though I look like a kid, I'm not jail-bait."
So that's why Jon has that size on hand, Morganstern told
himself as Billy stiffened up, rolled on an `extra large,' and
climbed onto the bed.
Jon said, "Billy, this is Morganstern. Morganstern, Billy."
"And," Billy said as he knelt astride Morganstern's thighs
and found his target, "since I've got you 'tween me and Jon,
this doesn't count as incest either." He slid himself half-way
into Morganstern, paused for Morganstern to catch his breath,
then completed his impaling thrust.
Morganstern felt a beardless chin snuggle against his neck,
caught a whiff of something spicy. "Smells good; what is it?" he
"Stuff I put on my hair," Billy said, tightening his grip on
Morganstern, now spitted to the hilt and stretched tight,
rammed himself all the way into Jon.
Jon gasped, then said, "Billy?"
"He's an `extra large' too."
"He is?" Billy pulled back a couple of inches, carefully
slid in again.~
"Sure am," said Morganstern. "Jon's a nice fit; good and
tight, and the way he's squirming now . . ."
"You'd squirm too," panted Jon, "if you had this muscle-stud
plugged into you."
Morganstern felt Billy pull back and then ram himself in all
the way, heard Billy eagerly say, "Hey dude, that sounds great!
After we finish this round, let's swap around; me on the bottom;
Jon, you on top; Morganstern, you in the middle again. I gotta
find out how this big muscle-dude'll feel inside me."
"Before we do that," said Jon, breathing hard, "there's a
mirror I bought yesterday. Now that's there's three of us here,
we got enough guys to mount it on the ceiling, right over the
bed. Morganstern, if it'll keep you from going off too soon, how
'bout explaining t' Billy why we can't just look down on the
scene from up there."
"You can tell a story that way," said Morganstern, now
comfortably sandwiched between the blond brothers' warm, naked
bodies. "It's just – usually -- more effective to pick one
point of view, and then let the reader be that character all
the way through a story to the end. And come on, why would
_any_body want to wiggle out from between you two hunky studs
and go flitting, like a bat, up amongst the cobwebs? Instead,
I've got Billy's chest against my back, and Jon squirming
underneath, and I'm feeling Billy inside me and feeling me
poking around inside Jon, and all three of us – oops!"
Morganstern heard Jon ask, "You getting turned on?"
"Yeah." Morganstern felt himself fast coming to a boil as he
thrust harder, faster, harder still.
As Billy speeded his own stroke, he said into Morganstern's
ear, "I'll try and catch up."
Seconds later, Morganstern felt his muscles tighten. Another
stroke, and he went rigid. Billy thrust a few times more, then
went rigid too while he and Morganstern pumped themselves dry.
Still later: long, delicious minutes later, Morganstern
slowly relaxed, still catching his breath. "Convinced?"
"Convinced," said Jon, from under Morganstern.
"Beats cobwebs any day," said Billy, his sweat-damp body
relaxing on Morganstern's back. "You did seem to be laying it on
a bit thick -- Morganstern heard this,' . . . Morganstern felt
that,' . . . you know."
" `Merely corroborative detail, . . .' " said Morganstern.
Billy's voice joined Morganstern's. Together, they recited,
" `. . . intended to give artistic verisimilitude . . .' "
And Billy, alone, finished the quote: " `. . . to an
otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.' Poo-Bah, The
Mikado, words by Sir William Schwenk Gilbert of Gilbert &
"If I laid it on thick enough for you to notice, then I laid
it on thick enough to distract the reader," Morganstern said.
"Come on, dude; you had to lay it on to make your point."
Billy sat up. "Here's a Rule for you: if you don't have copies
of a digital file on three separate disks, you might as well not
have any. That's because hard drives eventually crash. They're
convenient, but not for storing important stuff."
"That's a good one," said Morganstern, rolling off Jon and
sitting up himself. "Did you –"
"-- lose stuff? No, but I once got a real scare. The class
nerd saved my butt. Since then, he helps me with computer stuff,
and I coach him at the gym." Billy slid off the bed, stood up.
"I'll get the ladder; you two bring up the mirror. By the time
we get that thing up and mounted, we oughta be reloaded and
ready for another round. So: what tools do we need, Jon?"
The author permits any & all archiving, posting, reposting, and
reproduction in fixed form, free or for profit, of this story.
Copyright (C) 2000 by Felix Lance Falkon, [email protected]
work is not suitable for minors.