Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The First Annual "Say What" Contest

I'm so excited I can scarcely type. Today, right here on your favorite unpublished writer blog, you have the high honor of participating in the first annual "Say What" contest.

Here's how it works: Using the picture above, write a snippet of dialogue. (And for those people who actually read legal documents and the fine print on your credit card agreements, you may add character thoughts and small actions and whatever else floats your boat.) Leave your entry in the comments.


1. Keep your entry under 250 words.
2. Make me laugh, cry, or think. (Hint: Laugh is your best bet.)
3. Don't ask any stupid clarifying questions. (Intelligent questions are fine.)
4. Include the word "insalubrious." Okay, not really.
(But if you could that would be cool.)


He doesn't know I'm doing this (well, he doesn't know right now, like, when I'm typing, but he will know as soon as he reads this), but you will win a first edition copy of the book Sophomore Undercover by Ben Esch. Yes, this is a real book. Okay, it's not real yet, but it will be on February 24, 2009.

Full Disclosure: Ben is my closest writer-blog friend and by "friend" I mean that I read his blog and he reads mine. And by "closest" I mean not really all that close. See, Ben is sending me an ARC of his book (for free!) and because I think it's stupid of wannabe writers to accept free books and not buy the book (because someday, I sure am going to hope people buy my books), I purchased a copy off Amazon. So now I'll have two copies and since I don't need two copies, I'm going to "pay it forward," which is a really annoying phrase, but whatever. Ben gave me a free book, I'm giving you a free book. Kumbaya, anyone?


Some time in the future. I promise. What's that, you want more specifics? Come on, you're a writer; you're used to waiting. Besides, I just said the book doesn't even come out until the end of February, so what's your yank?


I'll give you through the weekend.


1. Barack Obama told me to.
2. It's an overt attempt at attracting more readers to the blog. (I believe in transparency too, Mr. President.)

Have fun, legions of future readers!


Carol Anne said...

‘”Oh, come ON, Travis! It’ll be fun!”

“No way. You said I could pick the movie this time. And everyone says the new James Bond is awesome. I’m pretty stoked to see it.”

“Yeah, but those movies are always the same. Car chases, lots of guys killing each other, a bag of money somewhere…they’re so…I dunno. Predicable, I guess.”

“But that’s what makes them awesome…you can zone out and not have to think. It’s just pure adrenaline. Ultimate relaxation.”

“Well, I think you need to broaden your horizons, Travis. Too many of these insipid action movies are kind of salubrious. You should try watching something a little more cerebral now and then.”

(This was so like Hailey…using big words that no one understood in a lame effort to win an argument…)


“Whatever? What’s THAT supposed to mean? Like, don’t you even care that I want to see High School Musical? Tyler’s gonna go with Katie. And he’s even going to take her out for cheesecake afterwards so they can discuss the movie.”

“Well, Tyler’s totally whipped. Everyone knows it.”

“He’s not whipped! Just because he likes to make his girlfriend happy? How does that make him whipped?”

“Hailey…any guy who dresses as Peter Pan for Halloween because his girlfriend wants to be Tinkerbell…I mean, you hafta admit…”

“I thought they looked sweet.” Hailey said, kicking at a stone that was lodged between my running shoe and the railroad tie.

“Listen…No guy wearing lime green tights EVER looks sweet.”

Hailey looked at me coyly, her head tilted slightly to one side. She looked adorable. I hated it when she did that, because it usually meant trouble for me.

“Puhleeeeeze…Travis?” She gave me her best sad puppy face and rubbed the top of my shoe with the bottom of her Keds sneakered foot.

(Guess I’d be dressing up in my lime green tights for this movie.)


WasteManagement said...

GIRL: I SHIT flat pennies.
BOY: ...

Unknown said...

Wanna see a dead body?

Kelly Polark said...

“So, why’d you bring me all the way out here? And look at my eyes while you are talking, not under my jean skirt.”

Zack sheepishly looks up and replies, “I just thought after the insalubrious behavior you exhibited at the school dance with that tool, Stuart…we need to talk. I brought you here, because…well, we need to get our relationship back ON TRACK.”
That is my feeble attempt at humor...

Anonymous said...

BOY: Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be a jar of mustard?

GIRL: Huh?

BOY: No, really, haven't you ever wondered that?

(Long, awkward silence.)

BOY: You know what this reminds me of, that song "Transcontinental" by Pedro the Lion.

GIRL: I don't get the reference. I've never heard that song.

BOY: Figures.

GIRL: So... What else do you like to do besides hanging out on train tracks, asking random questions and making obscure references?

BOY: I don't know, I like taking bites out people's lunches, helping balding guys perfect their combovers, sniffing different fabrics in retail clothing stores, pretending to be an icy corpse on frozen rivers, giving out free shots of bourbon outside of churches after weekly AA meetings... you know, normal stuff I guess.


BOY: Hey, where are you going? The train is coming soon!

NorthBayBeer said...

She: "so... first date... you ask me to get all of the necessary signatures and file all of the appropriate paperwork to reserve the holodeck aboard the Starship USS Enterprise for our first date... and this is it huh?... this is where you bring me?"

He: "it's crazy how much I hate you already..."

PS Kudos to NDB on the Stand By Me ref.

Anonymous said...

Girl: Isn't is magical out here?

Boy (thought bubble): Gay.

Anonymous said...

“David, sit down. Why were you following me? I am meeting someone here”

“I dunno. I really like you, Katie. You are beautiful. Why didn’t you write back to the note I left in your locker?”

Under her breath, “God, I should have never made out with you.”


“We made out! Who cares!? Listen, your sister is my best friend. I had too much to drink at the party last weekend while your parents were away. The only reason you were there was so you wouldn’t rat on Stephanie.”

“But I…”

“No, David. I am a senior. You are a freshman. I’m going away to college soon, anyway.”

“That’s a lame excuse. You just want to keep banging Steve.”

“Excuse me?”

“Well, you’re meeting him here, aren’t you? You were a lot cooler when you were a lame ass nerd. Student Government. Science Club. Future Scholars of America.”

“I wasn’t a lame ass. I was just doing that stuff to put on my college application. I couldn’t get into Princeton without extra-curricular activities. And who I meet at the Junction is none of your business.”

“Whatever. You used to be cool. Now you are too hot to hang out without anybody but Steve, the starting quarterback and resident ass clown.”

“Ha. You are being completely insalubrious. You know that?

“What the hell are you talking about? You are the god damn ugly duckling.”

“It is a word I learned during my SATs. It means you are being a dick.”

Anonymous said...

Girl: So do you really love me?
Boy: Yes! I do, but i don't think it's fair to make me prove my love by having a train run over my legs.
Girl: Loving is sacrificing.

Anonymous said...

Girl: So... you promise you'll give me 10 bucks if i do this?
Boy: I'll give you 15 if you do it really well.
Girl: I've never done this for money before.
Boy: Just think of me like your uncle. You're making me a happy man, and i'll give you a birthday card full of money afterwards. And you don't even have to sit on my lap.
Girl: My uncle always kinda smells like tuna.
Boy: That's not tuna.

Anonymous said...

Girl: I saw you skinning that cat while it was still alive. You are going to give me your 2008 Mustang or I'll make sure you'll never get into Vet school.

Boy: That's extortion

Girl: I'll report you to the police mister.

Boy: It was a stray cat. No one loved it.

Girl: No one is going to love you after i'm done with you mister.

Boy: Leave me alone, I didn't do anythign wrong.

Girl: I'm going to tease you for the rest of your life, cat boy.

Anonymous said...

Girl: I'm breaking up with you

Boy: Why are you doing this out here? We came to the trian tracks to smoke pot and make out!

Girl: This isn't working!

Boy: You promised me i could touch your boob if i let you smoke my pot. I let you smoke my pot and now you're breaking up with me!?! And i never even got to feel your boob.

Girl: I let your Tommy touch them all the time. They are so soft and supple. So milky and sweet. See ya loser!

Anonymous said...

Boy: Either there's a train coming, or I just started puberty.

Unknown said...

Jenny: No silly, I said meet at the train tracks I’ll wear a pearl necklace. Why would I want another one?

Ryan: You’ve got to be kidding me.

Jenny: Good, you brought your hat! I can’t wait to hear you play Dads rusty trombone!

Ryan: Screw this, I’m switching to Verizon.

Unknown said...

The boy and girl gaze at each other for a moment.

Girl: Isn’t this place quiet and romantic?

Boy: What about when the train comes by?

Girl: Well, I suppose not then but it is now right?

Boy: Ya, except for that droning sound. It’s beginning to bug me.

Girl: What sound? I only hear us talking.

Boy: It sounds like “bizzzzzzzz.”

Girl: Where is it com—

Boy: There it is again!

The girl stopped to listen

Girl: I don—

Boy: Man alive! I wish that would stop!

Girl: Stop interup—

Boy: You only have one leg!

Girl: Grow up! You know this relationship isn’t going anywhere. You just keep injecting your insalubrious feelings into it. Love is like a flower, you need to let it grow. You aren’t watering it.

The boy rolls his eyes

Girl: So why did you want me to come out her to these train tracks anyway?

Boy: I want this relationship to work. Really, I do. These tracks represent us perfectly. You want us to continue down these tracks and continue to grow with each other. And see down there, it’s all foggy. That represents the ambiguity of the future but as long as we are on these rails, these rails of love, we will never divert.

Girl: Wow! That was so deep and romantic. I never knew you were so thoughtful. I know how they represent me now how do they represent you?

Boy: Well I want to roll down these tracks as long as they lead to your lower half.

Girl: Ass!

Boy: That would work too…

Girl: Gah!

Anonymous said...

"Do you think Kim and Alex will really be able to hear our farts from a mile down the track?"

Anonymous said...

Boy: "Murpy Brown is commin' ta town, 8 dayz a week"

Anonymous said...

Girl: Okay lay down so i can tie you up like they do in all the silent movies.

Boy: No

Girl: It's only fair. Women have suffered enough

Boy: What if i die?

Girl: I promise i won't let any hobos have sex with your eye sockets.

Boy: Pinkey swear?

Girl: Sure.

Boy: Go get the rope.

Anonymous said...

Girl: I see dead people

Anonymous said...

Boy: I'm gay.

Girl: Ha! Homo!

Ray Veen said...

I read "I shit flat pennies" and realized there was no way in hell for me to win this thing.

Too bad. That book sounds like something I'd like.

Sciencegirl007 said...

I know the contest is over, but I wanted to try.

"If I tell you a secret can you keep it to yourself?" Trina asked with flushed cheeks and a wide smile.

"Well that depends," Bryan answered without feeling. He was already dead inside.

"Come on, Bry, you're my best friend," she begged and grabbed his hand.

Feeling sorry that he hadn't been acting like her friend at all lately, he conceded, "Ok, I won't tell."

"Yesterday, he asked me to marry him!"

Bryan jerked his head up and stared into Trina's eyes. All the years of hidden love rushed to his heart and rose up like a ball of anxiety to his throat. He choked his next words out, "But he's already married!"

"That's okay, though, he's gonna get a divorce! He told me so!"

"But, but...that doesn't mean he will, Trina! You can't do this! You're not old enough" Bryan protested.

"Why not? All I need is for my mom to sign the papers when the time comes. She'll have no problem with that once I tell her I'm pregnant!" she told him happily.

"You're pregnant too?" he stammered. She had shattered all his dreams the week before when he first caught Trina making out with the married college Professor in the theatre. The first chance he got after he ran out of the empty auditorium he confronted her and told her of his unyielding passion. She had torn a whole in his heart when she dismissed him.

"Not yet, but maybe soon," she shrugged.

His temper flared, "This is the most insalubrious thing you've ever done!"

"What? Come on Bry, you know how much I love him."

Her confession stabbed him in the heart. Hearing the the low, deep moan of the oncoming train, he stood up and faced her with calm resignation.

"I know."

He offered his hand to her to help her stand and then led her over to the forest floor, off the train tracks.

He stared into her face once more and smiled a handsome smile. She tilted her head and grinned at him thinking that he understood the longing and desire she felt for her married lover.

He understood.

With one quick movement, as the train rushed towards them, he darted back onto the tracks.

Trina barely registered what was happening as the roar of the engines echoed in her ears.

"No!!!!" she screamed as the train stole him in one morbid move from where he stood. All that was left was a faded blue Converse.

She buried her face in her hands and wept as thesmell of blood and rust wafted through the air.

Adam said...

Boy: How long do we have to sit in front of this backdrop.

Girl: Whatever, let's do heroin.

Unknown said...

ScienceGirl007--The contest is open through Sunday. Thanks for playing.

Sciencegirl007 said...

Great! Lucky me!

k@ said...

so, you're really from australia, eh?

isn't it supposed to be canada where they say 'eh'?

'spose so. (nervous laugh) sorry, i'm not as worldly as you, living in ohio my whole life. kinda boring.

kinda boring in australia too. kinda boring everywhere.

i guess...

i'm just sick of everyone being so fascinated with me here. i just wanna be, like, fuck off, you know?

well that's an insalubrious attitude, doncha think?

i wouldn't have any idea. don't know what insa-whatever-the-fuck-ya-just-said means.

jeez, are you always this friendly?

you should see me when i'm hungry. i'm a real big asshole when i'm hungry.

i'll try to remember that.
what are we waiting for again?

what are we ever waiting for?

what do you mean?

what the hells the point? of this, of that, of anything. what's the point of it all?

does everything have to have a point?

no, but if it doesn't, it's pretty much just meaningless.

i don't agree with you.

- don't go spouting some 'god' bullshit, okay, cuz i don't wanna hear it

- i'm not. gonna. ok? i'm just saying, why's everything always gotta mean something. lead to something. have some inevitable endgame. ruins everything. so many good things are destroyed by the search for meaning, or classification or whatnot. why can't it just be, ya know? why can't people just accept that some things just ARE and that's it.

sophomore undercover.

say what?!

that's what we're waiting for. a book.

were you listening to anything i just said?

sure. 'life is meaningless, brainlessly accept that fact, done.' now where's my book?

i can't believe i just wasted, like, five minutes of my life with you.

believe it.

Angela said...

"Luke, come on get this nail out of my shoe."

He just crossed his arms and stared just like Mr. McAdams when some jerk in chem class decides to light something on fire.

"Come on. I can't move. This isn't even funny."

He leaned his forehead against her knee like he was praying. "I loved you Lia and you lied to me. You said you didn't sleep with him," he said.

"I didn't sleep with him. I mean...we...we slept. We fell asleep but nothing -Nothing happened."

He brushed his hair out of his eyes and stared her down again. "How could you even do something like that and lie about it? Justin is my brother. That's-"

She rushed to agree with him. "It's like beyond gross, I know. Justin is gross. You are great. But we waited as long as we could and we just fell asleep. Nothing insalubrious happened, I promise."

He stood up and shoved a wave of gravel over her shoe, covering her foot. “I can’t believe anything you tell me anymore. I think it all depends on your definition of the word insalubrious. Your definitions sleep, love, lies don’t mean anything. Your words don’t mean anything.” He started to walk away.

“Luke! You can’t leave me here. What if a train comes?”

He shook his head trying to shake off her words. “What if it doesn’t?” he asked. But he was too far away for her to hear.