The Bargain (A Creative Writing Activity)

I took a creative writing class while I was at Ricks College. It was one of the toughest and funnest classes I took. Our teacher was awesome but she made us work hard, an example was our final. We had to turn in a minimum 80 paged portfolio of our writing from the semester, etc. I had never written so much in my life. She gave us a lot of writing games and exercises. One of my favorite was a character sketch dialogue. This was the basic outline. We created character sketches for two people on the chalkboard. Our assignment was to write a story where each of the character traits come out. The catch? It could only be through dialogue. It was tough. At first I hated what I came up with, but my teacher liked it (which totally shocked me). I thought I’d share the character sketches (in case any one wants to give it a whirl, it’s kind of fun) and my dialogue.

Character #1: steals pencils, white base-ball cap, gentle fake smile, perfect teeth, short blond well-groomed hair, villain, has 2 caddillacs,gets food stamps, embezzler,

Character #2: rants about punishment from God yet hates old ladies, black suit, brown tie, crisp white shirt, boy scout, pacifist who carries a gun with no bullets, short, muscular, indian, wants a nose ring, has a temper, chief mortician, Bob Feather Hawk

The chief mortician came storming into the main office and looked angrily at his co-worker.
“If I catch you stealing one more pencil from this office, I swear, I’ll . . .”
“You’ll do what Bob?” The co-worker asked smugly.
“I’ll take off your white base-ball cap that you are always wearing and I’ll stuff it through your gentle fake smile; perfect teeth and down your throat!” Bob felt like he had steam coming out his ears.
“What’s so wrong with stealing a few pencils?”
“What’s so wrong with stealing a few pencils? What’s so wrong with stealing a few . . .”
“Yeah, what’s so wrong with stealing a few pencils. You deaf or something?”
“I can’t believe you seriously don’t think stealing pencils from the office is wrong.”
“It’s not like I am embezzling thousands of dollars or something.”
Bob eyed him suspiciously, “Stealing is stealing, even if it is just a bunch of pencils. Why did you bring up embezzlement? Are you embezzling money?”
“Why would I embezzle money?”
“You steal pencils, why would you just stop there? Why not go for the big cash?”
“Yeah, that’s right, and my two old cadillacs are stolen too, aren’t they?”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. You do get food stamps legally, and you should be making plenty of money to buy your food without them Who are you bribing now?”
“Oh! So now I’m bribing people! What is your problem anyway? I’m not the one who is ranting and raving about punishment from God, and yet hates old ladies.”
“I may hate old ladies, but I don’t steal from them do I? I even help them across the street.”
“Just because you are afraid of being struck down.”
“Helping people is still helping people and I don’t steal the shirt of some poor child’s back. You even look like a gangster with your short, blond, well-groomed hair. Only gangsters wear their hair fixed up like that!”
“Yeah, and you’re the typical Boy Scout in a black suit, brown tie, and nice crisp white shirt, aren’t you? Even though you look the part, you sure don’t act it by accusing me of embezzlement and car theft!”
“I didn’t accuse you of those, yet, I just demanded that you quit stealing pencils from the office.”
“What is implied is worse that what is said directly”
“Look, I don’t want any trouble I just want the stealing to stop.”
“Oh, trying to play your part as the pacifist? I’m not the one that carries a big gun . . .”
“With no bullets, and I am a pacifist, though no one is perfect. Why do you always play the part of the villain anyway?”
“It’s a lot more exciting than being good all the time. Besides, you sure weren’t playing the pacifist earlier, you were about ready to take my hat and shove it down my throat! You know you paint a really pitiful picture: a short, muscular, Indian who wants a nose ring, is a pacifist? You better be careful, you might start scaring all those old ladies you help across the street away.”
“Look. I’m trying my hardest. Even a pacifist looses his temper now and then. All I want is the pencil stealing to stop.”
“So, what will you do if I stop?”
Bob smiled to himself, “I’ll drop all charges of embezzlement and car theft.”
The co-worker jumped up angrily, “That’s bribery! That’s more villainous than stealing pencils!”
“I’m not bribing anyone, I’m bargaining, and bargaining is the most peaceful way to handle a situation. Are you willing to cooperate?”
“Fine, I’ll quit stealing your pencils,” the co-worker consented grudgingly and stormed out the door.
Bob Feather Hawk kicked back in his chair and propped his feet up on his desk with a smug smile on his face. “I knew that if I brought up embezzlement it’d get him.”


Filed under Writing

4 responses to “The Bargain (A Creative Writing Activity)

  1. What a difficult assignment, but you did a great job!

  2. wow. i took a creative writing class years ago, but had great difficulty doing character sketches when i couldn’t come up with my own characters. (secretly, i think i was really rebellious against structure, and just chose to have difficulty, but don’t tell anyone.) heh.

    good job on this.

  3. The sketches were a collabrative effort. The whole class came up with them, we just had to create the dialogue. I had a hard time connecting with the characters at first because very little of myself went into them.

  4. You did a great job with some really annoying (unrealistic) character traits. I would have fourth_fret’s problem if I took a class like that.

    (I did take writing classes, MANY writing classes, just not any creative writing classes.)

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