This is an exercise I learned to do in David Milch's Screen Writing class. David, who taught at Yale, wrote for and produced NYPD Blue and Deadwood. They are called 2 part dialogues. You write at the same time every day, between 20 and 50 minutes, with no editing or corrections or description. Starting with the first thing that enters your mind as the first voice. Then you reply to that thought as the second voice. Eventually you learn to add a third voice and plot lines. This is also a good exercise for aspiring novelists. ( I wish I cold get the formatting right to look like a screen play)





A young mother enters the garden. Her 5 year old daughter is skipping around the garden, dropping a tea towel onto first one bush, then another. The mother watches her for a moment then asks.

Mother
What’cha doin’?

Child
I’m tryin’ a catch a butterfly.

Mother
What for?

Child
Because.

Mother
Because why?

Child
Because I want to!

Mother
But if you touch their wings
it isn’t good for them. They could die.

Child
Why?

The mother, now sitting on a chaise lounge, motions the child over to sit in her lap. The child climbs up into her mother's lap facing her.

Mother
Because they have this
dust on their wings and
if it rubs off they can’t
fly.

Child
Well, we could put some
baby powder on them.

Mother
No, that’s not a good idea.
Baby powder has scent in it.

Child
Well, then they would smell good.

Mother
No, they would probably smother.

Child
What if I use a net?

Mother
Why do you want to catch one at all?

Child
Because I want to hold it.

Mother
They don’t like to be held.

Child
I want to learn how to fly.

Mother
People can’t fly.

Child
Icarus could.

Mother
Well, that’s different.

Child
How?

Mother
He and his father made wings from wax
and string and feathers. But remember
he flew too close to the sun and the wax
melted and he plummeted to the earth
and drowned in the sea.

Child
Did his daddy cry?

Mother
I’m sure he did.

Child
Would you cry if I died?

Mother
A river.

Child
Will you die?

Mother
Yes, someday, but my love will go on forever.

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