Voice in Dialog– Part One

After a hiatus from Fiction Writer’s Workshop, by Josip Novakovich, I’ve returned.  This is part one of an exercise to practice with voice and expression of character through dialog.  This exercise started with this prompt: a demented psychologist and a patient.  Enjoy!

“You’re late.”

“Yeah, sorry . . . I got caught in traffic.”

“I thought I told you that if you were going to be late, you needed to call ahead.”

“Yeah, well, I was driving.  It’s illegal to be on your cell in the car.”

“Hm.  So, we’ll have to add a note about your complacency to authority . . .”

“More like complacency to not get arrested.  Why do you think I’m still coming to these things?  If there wasn’t a court order for it, I would’ve ditched awhile ago.”

“. . . and masochistic tendencies as well, I see.”


“Amber, you’re a disturbed girl.  This court order was put in place for your benefit . . . your lying and violent behavior got you into this situation, and your reluctance towards coming to see me shows that you don’t care for you own well-being.”

“Or it could show that I don’t believe I have a problem.”

“Denial, I see . . . I’m going to have to recommend more sessions, it seems . . .”


“Excuse me?”

“Just because I like to have a good time doesn’t mean I’m stupid, okay, doc?  You probably get a hard-on by forcing girls into situations they don’t need to be in, and making them feel like they’re all twisted and they need you.  It makes you feel wanted and fulfilled or some shit . . .”

“Amber, I assure you, I don’t get a ‘hard-on’ by assisting disturbed young-women sent to me for treatment by the state.”

“Probably because you’re repressed.  Seriously, I’m like ready to call bull-shit on the ethics of the state for sending girls to some creepy asshole . . .  there’s like nothing to stop you from raping them.”

“And now we get to the root of it.  You’re projecting your own fears onto me.  You call me sexually repressed when really you’re the one who’s not in touch with her own desires.”

“Ew.  Don’t talk to me about desires, please.”

“I’m your doctor.  We need to be able to talk about any . . . what are you doing?”


“Stop it.”

“Give me a sec.”

“Amber, I demand you—!”

“Done.  See, I’m putting it away, Mr. Freakout.  So, can I ask, am I ‘repressing my own desires’ because I fucked-up the asshole trying to assault me?”

“Making a proposition is not ‘assault,’ Amber.  The young man whose fingers you broke was merely making a proposition.”

“That’s weird.  ‘Cause, when the cops first arrived on the scene, after I called them, they agreed that grabbing my ass and trying to force me into another room was a little more than ‘propositioning.’  And then, whoopsie, turns out the asshole was a senator’s son, and suddenly I’m some crazy hussy that went ape-shit.”

“Well, Amber, that’s just the thing.  You can’t dress and act provocatively without expecting some . . . what was that?”


“Will you stop checking your—?”

“Sweet!  I’m outta here.”

“Excuse me?”

“Guy at the DA office.  Said I’d provided enough ‘reasonable grounds’ from recording our sessions, so I don’t have to see your sorry face anymore.  I think they’re filing a law suit or something?”

“You can’t—!”

“Done and done, dick.  I get a new psychologist next week.  Have fun being a creeper.”


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