Thursday, November 10, 2011

Red Writing Hood: Snow Day

We're doing dialogue this week for Red Writing Hood. Here's the latest edition from Janie, my teenage superhero. This week, she's talking to her mother about her newly discovered powers. 

I begin tugging at a hard piece of skin, waiting for it to yield and give.

“Stop that,” Mom says, without looking my way. She slows to a red light. “So, I got my first power when I first turned 14. Just like you.”

She says it matter-of-factly, as if saying, “I got a peppermint mocha at Starbucks.”

“Go on,” I say. “What is it?” 

She flinches. “I don’t have a power any more. But I used to control the weather.”

I choke on my Diet Pepsi. “Shut UP!”

 She tucks a stray hair behind her ear.  “You know how you wear your pajamas inside out when you want a snow day?”

“And put a spoon under the bed,” I add.

She frowns, “Never heard of that one. Anyway, I had a huge report due. On Margaret Sanger.” She pokes me in the shoulder. “The founder of Planned Parenthood?”

“Okay, Mom.  Whatever you say.”

“I have failed as a feminist.”  She pulls into the parking lot of Chiptole, shaking her head. “Failed. You really don’t know who she is?’

“MOM!” I screech. “I don’t care!” 

“Watch yourself,” she says. “So, I hadn’t done any research. No note cards. No trips to the library. Nothing.”

“Why didn’t you just go to Wikipedia?” I ask.

She ignores me. “The project was due the next day. It wasn’t happening, and your grandmother would murder me if I came home with a F.”

Grandma spent her days shooting chipmunks from her back porch.  Mom wasn’t exaggerating. I gulped.  “What did you do?”

“The only reasonable solution. I went to bed, and told the skies to bring a snowstorm to cancel school. And I wore my pajamas inside out. ”

I snort. “I’m sorry Mom.  You grew up in Wisconsin. That’s all it ever does--snow.”

“Yes, Janie. Normally that would be true.” Her voice turns to a whisper. “But it was almost Memorial Day. And it only snowed in Mill River. They were swimming in the river the next town over.”

I open my mouth, and close it again.  “Global warming?” I squeak.

“No,” she says. “And honey? That was only the beginning."


Cameron said...

The authenticity of this conversation is wonderful. The teenaged disdain, the casual ways we as parents correct behavior without stopping the flow of talk...

And then the marvelous balance of curiosity and disbelief from Janie.

I like her mom. Quite a bit. And I love the hint of ... magic? otherness? that I get from them because it's so grounded in reality.

Nancy C said...

Nanowrimo at it's finest. Just realized 4th of July won't work. School in July?

tulpen said...

I didn't want to call you on the 4th of july thing.


I did drive through a snowstorm in july in Idaho once though...while I was on Dead tour...soooooo... yeah. Do with that what you will.

Love the flow of their back and forth... wish my Mom had been that easy to talk to!

angela said...

Giggling at your 4th of July comment. Progressive, year-round school? Gifted & talented enrichment program? Maybe the 4th of June :)

This is lovely, though. I could hear them talking, Janie's exasperation, her mom's calm explanation.

Julie said...

A note from the annoying lapsed English teacher:

I LOVE that you use "says" and not every available synonym in the thesaurus in your dialogue tags.

Plus, you don't include dialogue tags with each statement; instead, you substitute action when it's obvious who is talking.

Most importantly, you don't utilize a single unnecessary adverb.

"Hooray for you!" Julie exclaimed enthusiastically. :-)

(You model good writing most excellently.)

Kir said...

this conversation was so authentic and real, I could have been sitting in that car listening to them have this discussion. (It might be time to rewrite mine...GAH)
but I also love how you show us this family little by's like "the Incredibles" only BETTER. :)

Victoria KP said...

This sounded so true. I LOVED the Wikipedia thing.

MISH said...

Easy flowing, realistic dialogue between mum and daughter. I loved the "Shut up" moment - typical teen phrase.

Not Just Another Mother Blogger! said...

A typical mother-daughter conversation about something not so typical. You nailed it!

Lance said...

Felt like I was a piece of furniture or a fly on the wall. Perfectly blocked and dialogued.

One of yoru best pieces.

Anonymous said...


Kristina said...

This is perfectly balanced between a normal mom and daughter conversation and a hint of magic. Love it, and I definitely want to know more.

earlybird said...

I think you wrote the teenage chat-back perfectly.

LOVED the image of Grandma on her porch shooting chipmunks!

The Drama Mama said...

This was a great conversation. I love the back and forth and the quick correction by the mother without missing a beat.

Sara said...

This was great. I could feel the relationship between mother and daughter and I love the "special powers" twists.

Also, I think you met the prompt requirements very well. It was all in the dialogue.

Venus said...

This is really great! I think you captured the different voices really well. My only gripe is that I really wanted a sigh after "I've failed as a feminist." But that's just being nitpicky, good stuff!

Kim said...

I love the dynamic between these two. Makes me wish I'd had a different childhood. As usual, you do dialogue so well!

Galit Breen said...

Love this Nancy! I adore the familiar details like Starbucks, Chipotle and it *always* snowing in Wisconsin. :)

My favorite line though was "Watch yourself."- perfect Mama wording!

Jenny said...

I want to write like you when I grow up.




Never mind.

You can really write!