AWC Furious Fiction – April 2019



To celebrate the launch of that new dialogue course, we thought this month we’d have fun with some. What we’ve done is pluck actual lines of dialogue from three famous books, and you need to use ALL OF THEM in YOUR story:

  • “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”
  • “He’s never done anything like this before.”
  • “What’s it going to be then, eh?”

(By the way, they’re from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess respectively.)

The three pieces of dialogue can appear anywhere in your story – but must remain word for word (you can however change the full stop to a comma if you’re adding the speaker’s details after). It can be external or internal dialogue, as long as it remains in quotes.

A Terrible Thing

What’s it going to be then, eh?” he asks. “Go with me?”

She looks him up and down and turns her head away with a derisive snort. “Not on your life.”

The girls around them laugh. And then the boys join in. The hallway is full of hyenas, laughing in an eerie way that makes his stomach turn.

Jack runs. Falls over his own feet. The laughter grows and crashes over him. A tidal wave that picks him up and throws him against the rocks of humiliation.

He struggles to his feet. Stumbles away. Out of the school.

He stared at the gun in his grandfather’s hands. Oblivious to the woods around him. Oblivious to the deer the gun was trained on. He saw only the gun. He was 6 years old and Pop had decided he was old enough to go on the hunt.

Pop squeezed the trigger. The woods echoed with the report. The deer went down.

“Remember, Jackie,” said Pops as they walked over to the animal. “Remember this. We have power. It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.

He nodded. Pop was right. The gun was beautiful.*

“Our top story tonight, Tragedy at St Julian’s High School,” says the news anchor. “A 15 year old boy has shot 5 of his classmates, injuring 4 and killing 1, before turning the gun on himself. A memorial service for the deceased will be held early next week, a spokesperson for the school has confirmed. The survivors are in a stable condition at a local hospital and are expected to make a full recovery. Asked about her son’s actions, the shooter’s mother had this to say: ‘He’s never done anything like this before. He is, *was* a good boy. I’m so sorry.’.”

I genuinely hate this story. There was just no other way I could think of to combine the 3 lines of dialogue, but it is so heavy handed and cliche and just generally bad. I apologise for inflicting this story on the world.

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