It’s been a while since I shared a writing exercise. This one was paired with a mini-lesson on avoiding info dumps in writing for my teen writers at the library. Basically, I challenged them to write a scene that explains the culture // world // time // etc. a character is living in entirely through dialogue, except characters can speak no further than two sentences at a time.

I could tell this would be a challenging writing exercise, but I was curious what my teens would do with it. I’m surprised that I managed to include such easy details through dialogue that made sense in context as well. I decided to write mine for my altered history story about airplanes.

“I am not asking him to the social on Saturday,” Avis said. “Can you imagine the scandal that would cause if a girl asked a boy?”

“Girl,” Diana began, “it’s 1937 in the good ole E U S of A. You can ask a boy to date without every grandmother from here to the Atlantic getting their panties in a twist.”

“I don’t know, Di. They won’t even let us ride in airplanes.”

“Avis, Avis, you and your infatuation with airplanes. When are you gonna learn there’s more to life than learning how to fly?”

“Maybe when the damn government lets me get my license. We’re in the middle of a war and they still won’t let me fly.”

“Why in the world would you want to do something so wild and dangerous?”

“Because the war efforts needs help. At this rate, we’ll be grandmothers by the time it ends.”

Diana snorts. “You, a grandmother? No way, A.”

“And why ever not?” Avis asked.

“Because you won’t ask Mr. Hotshot Pilot to the social on Saturday. That’s why.”

“Fine, I’ll ask him. But I’m sure he has much more important things to do than dance and drink milkshakes.”

“What? Like fight in an never-ending war across the country?”

“Exactly.”