flash fiction, Uncategorized

The Decision

Here is my attempt at Mike Jackson’s “Tuesday Scribes Challenge”:

This is a two-part challenge with a picture prompt and then a writing challenge of using only dialogue.

Here is the picture from Mike’s website:


And here is my dialogue only story:

The Decision

by T. S. Mart


“Here Mom, sit. I brought you a chair.”

“Where are the kids?”

“Right there, see, on the edge of the fountain. Joshie wanted to blow bubbles.”

“Kayla looks like she’s afraid she’ll fall in.”

“No, she looks that way all the time, withdrawing more and more. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”

“You think she needs a counselor?”

“She’s three. I can’t imagine. She needs stability, routine, security.”

“You still haven’t found a job…”

“No one wants to hire an inexperienced twenty-eight-year-old whose greatest accomplishment is being fertile.”

“Don’t say—”

“Why not, Mom, it’s true. I barely graduated high school. I bounce from job to job. The only reason I have custody of the kids now is so that when I fail, there’s proof of what a loser I am. It’ll be easier for Brad to get full…”

“Holly, listen to me. You had it rough growing up without a father, school was difficult, and Brad was a way to fill the void, but you don’t need him. You’re young and strong. You just need time to get back on your feet. You can do this.”

“Mom, you’ve got to stop making excuses for me. You’ve always done that. You’re right, growing up without a dad hurt me. I need help. I need to get better. I’m not equipped to be the mother those kids deserve.”

“Then come home and I’ll help you. You can start your therapy back up, but if you let Brad have those babies, we may never see them again.”

“That’s where you’re wrong. Right there. You selfishly blow things out of proportion.  The court will stipulate that we get to see them. What they need is a stable home, and I can’t give it to them. Neither can you. Brad and his new wife can … she’s nice. I met her.”

“So, that’s it. You’re just giving your kids away?”

“No, mom, I’m finally doing what’s right for someone besides myself.”

The End

What do you think Holly should do? Is she making the right choice?

This isn’t so easy without using beats and tags. I wanted to hear the fountain trickle, have Holly pull a tissue from her purse, describe people milling around, but I didn’t want to interrupt the tension. Dialogue is wonderful, but beats give it zing.

If you’re a writer, do you like writing dialogue? Do you struggle with it?

If you’d like to participate in the Tuesday Scribes Challenge, click here.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

2 thoughts on “The Decision”

  1. When I took creative writing in college, we had to write so many poems, a few essays, a one-act play, and a short story. This gave me strong vibes of my one-act play – I guess because the lack of beats and tags is similar to the minimal stage direction of the play. I tend to struggle with beats/tags because I always start with too much and then tone it down in editing but worry if I still have too much or pruned too much.


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