A Single Scene

Breakwater by cellar_door_films
Breakwater by cellar_door_films via WANACommons on Flickr

A few weeks ago I started attending the Allaboutwriting Creative Writing course (it is a birthday present from my super husband). Each week we work through a technical aspect of storytelling and then we get two assignments to do in class. Last night we were discussing character creation, one of our assignments was to spend 15 minutes developing a character who met a few basic requirements (different from ourselves, under 35, not married, etc.). The second half of this assignment was to write a scene in which (because my character was a man) his new girlfriend tells him she’s pregnant.

I thought I’d share the result of that assignment with you here, because I enjoyed it and I think the character work we did made the scene a lot easier and more fun to write. I quickly wrote three key words on my assignment paper: Goal, Conflict, Disaster (the three key elements of a good scene), and got stuck in. And I kinda like the way it turned out.

Dylan checked his hair in the rear-view mirror. It was still the same as always. Straight. Brown. Plain. But Jenny liked running her hands through it, so he guessed it was OK.

He picked up the bouquet of flowers from the passenger seat, scowled at the wet spot, and jabbed his finger on a rose thorn.

Swearing, he slammed the car door shut. He pressed the remote and glared at his finger for a heartbeat. I can never do anything right.

He knocked on Jenny’s door. 7:15, he was a little late but he had the flowers, she would forgive him. Jenny opened the door, Dylan smiled his best smile and held the roses out to her. A peace offering before war had been declared.

“Jen, sorry I’m…”

“Come inside,” she said. “There’s something we need to discuss.”

Dylan’s wrist wilted and the thorn caught the inside of his hand again. He stepped into Jenny’s house, he could tell something was wrong. Had he left her waiting too long? He’d have to explain about work.

“I was thinking we could go watch the new Hobbit movie,” he said.

She turned to face him and the look in her eye made him flinch. Something was wrong. He’d blown it again. He shouldn’t have thought there’d be anything between them. He was… Dylan.

“Please sit.”

Jenny folded herself into an armchair and he collapsed into a sofa opposite. The movement sent a cascade of water pouring out of the flowers, onto his leg.

“This isn’t easy.” Jenny’s voice broke and she wiped tears from her eyes.

“It’s OK Jen,” Dylan said. “I get it. You need better. You deserve better.”

“No, Dyl. That’s not what I mean.” Crystal tears ran down Jenny’s cheeks. “I’m pregnant, Dylan.”

Dylan’s chest ached, for a moment, like all the rose thorns on all the roses had been driven into his chest at once.

“But we’ve never even had sex.”

I hope you enjoyed it. This is unedited, I left in all the mistakes and whatnot (except one pesky adverb).

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