Ladies' Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

INTRO: So this is a really quick one-shot. The whole thing is supposed to be read as a group text-message between five friends. I’m trying to experiment with writing from a female perspective, conveying more information about personality and relationship dynamics through dialogue, and creating more realistic conversational banter. Would be really interested to hear feedback on whether you can get a sense of the personalities of any of the characters.

Thanks in advance for your thoughtful feedback! Enjoy!

Ladies’ Night ONLY

Me: Alex asked if he could tag along tonight. I told him I would have to run it by the group. Any objection?

Dee: Fine with me.

Lizzy: I mean, I guess it’s fine. But I kind of think you need to tell Alex that you are entitled to have a Ladies’ Night every once in a while. Doesn’t Alex have a Boys’ night like every week?

Dee: Good point Liz.

Me: I know but we haven’t seen each other so much this week because of work. I thought it was kind of sweet of him to ask. But totally subject to a group veto. Rachel, Nina want to weigh in?

Rachel: Don’t care either way. But I’m in the supermarket and need to know how much food to buy.

Lizzy: Just FYI, if I remember correctly, Alex doesn’t eat salad.

Rachel: Oh. Yeah my plan was to make a chicken salad. I guess I could try to make something else though…

Dee: He doesn’t eat salad??

Me: Liz is right but I don’t want to make your life more difficult. The salad is fine, Rachel. Just maybe make some extra pieces of chicken, and leave them out on the side.

Nina: Of course, he doesn’t eat salad. This is Alex we’re talking about. If I had to guess, the real reason he wants to tag along is because he is afraid of having to fend for himself for dinner.

Me: I can’t totally exclude that as a possibility….

Dee: Hahaha. Good thing he’s cute, I guess.

Me: Back off Dee! He’s all mine.

Dee: Oh, no, Melissa I didn’t mean anything by it.

Dee: I would never

Lizzy: Relax Dee, Mel was just joking.

Me: Yeah, relax.

Dee: Okay. Good. I was really scared for a second there.

Me: But you know if you did try something, I would bash your skull in…. Love you! Kisses! :-*

Nina: Well if Alex is coming, we (or at least I) am going to need more wine than I bought yesterday. Can someone pick up some extra bottles?

Me: Wouldn’t be a ladies’ night without ample wine! I have a bottle or two at home.

Dee: I have 2.

Dee: Sorry, I only have 1 bottle. I meant the other 2.

Rachel: What the hell are you saying Dee?

Lizzy: Not sure it still qualifies as a ladies’ night with Alex there…. I mean his breasts haven’t come in yet, so he’s more like a prepubescent little girl :wink:

Dee: Hahaha. Nice one Liz.

Rachel: So do we need anything else while I am at the store?

Lizzy: Well maybe we can give Alex his first tampon tonight… It’ll be like a first-moon party!

Rachel: That would actually be pretty funny.

Me: I’m not so sure Alex will think so… but sure go ahead!

Rachel: One box “extra absorbent” in the cart! Anything else? His first Cosmo?…

Dee: This is going to be hysterical. I’m so excited!!

Nina: I think Lizzy and Rachel are on the right track. But this is Alex we are talking about. I don’t think he is even close to mature enough for tampons. But I can think of another “extra absorbent” item that would be more appropriate…

Rachel: Diapers? Haha I could probably find some in his size here.

Dee: Ohhh. That’s what you meant.

Me: As adorable as it would be to see Alex dressed in a diaper, I just don’t see him taking to the idea too well…

Nina: So tell him you are withholding sex unless he complies.

Lizzy: I think Nina might have gone a bit off the deep end there, but there’s probably an easier way. Is Alex ticklish?

Me: Very. Under the armpits and the bottoms of his feet. Why?

Lizzy: So we get him very drunk and then tickle him until he pees himself. Rachel will be in the kitchen or something, and then she can storm out and pretend to be horrified and demand that he wear a diaper for the rest of the evening.

Dee: Would that really work?

Me: I think it could. Alex is very compliant when someone yells at him. Wow- Liz, remind me never to cross you. You’re only slightly less terrifying than Nina.

Lizzy: Oh honey, you’re so sweet with the compliments :wink:

Rachel: Yeah, I think I could pull that off. I’ll have to dust off my acting chops but I’m sure I could draw on my anger at some previous boyfriends to make it pretty convincing…

Dee: Well if you’re going to get diapers, you should also buy baby wipes.

Rachel: OMG. I never thought I would see the day when I would actually agree with something Dee said, but as the practical one of the group, it’s my job to make sure that all diaper changes follow proper hygienic protocol. We’ll need wipes, baby powder, and diaper rash cream.

Lizzy: Of course- just being practical…

Rachel: At baby isle. Lavender baby powder or regular?

Nina: If we are speaking of hygiene, maybe you should pick up some items to give Alex a bath.

Dee: Lavender-Duh!

Rachel: Nina is right. Boys are smelly. He’ll thank us for doing this later.

Me: I do love the smell of baby shampoo!

Nina: You should also look for some hair removal gel. Once he loses all his body hair, he’ll put up much less of a fight.

Lizzy: … Nina seriously disturbs me

Me: Yeah NOT doing that

Lizzy: But how about a pacifier if he gets a little cranky?

Dee: And a baby bottle!

Rachel: Way ahead of you. Got an adorable purple binky and a set of purple and green sippy cups. Baby food?

Dee: Purple! That’s my favorite color. Oh he’s going to look sooo cute.

Lizzy: Still Mel’s boyfriend Dee… Get a mix of really gross ones and fruity ones, so that we can use them as like a carrot and stick (though I don’t think Alex would find carrots very appealing either…) to get him to behave.

Rachel: That’s smart. Peas good for the gross option?

Lizzy: Wisdom from my years as a babysitter.

Dee: Even I hate peas.

Nina: You will also need a bib.

Lizzy: Welcome back Nina to the land of the sane! I was hoping you would join us eventually.

Dee: Ouch…

Me: As much as I appreciate the enthusiasm to humiliate my boyfriend, I think you guys might have gone a bit overboard. I don’t want him to hate me afterwards.

Lizzy: Well that might have been Dee’s plan…

Nina: So you will step out of the room to go run an errand or something while we take care of the rest. That way he doesn’t know you helped us plan it.

Rachel: Umm… at the checkout, and this is going to cost a lot more than I was anticipating for just one night of fun. You guys willing to chip in?

Lizzy: Yeah no problem.

Dee: I’m a little tight on cash to be honest.

Nina: I’m probably going to get called crazy again for this, but maybe it doesn’t have to be just one night of fun…

Me: I’m afraid to ask, but what does that mean?

Nina: We could always take pictures of him during the first diaper change, and then “convince” him to tell you that he asked us to treat him as a baby and that this was what he had always wanted.

Dee: Amazing! Crib? Highchair? What else will we need? Do they make that kind of thing for someone Alex’s size?

Rachel: Woah! That’s diabolical, Nina. If Lizzy will chip in on the baby items, I’ll be fine. But… there are a lot of extra diapers in the package. Just saying!

Lizzy: Happy to chip in for whatever. And Dee- before you start redecorating Mel’s apartment, with funds you don’t have I might add, maybe ask Mel what she wants?

Me: Thanks Liz. Not sure I’m quite ready to be a Mommy just yet.

Rachel: You would make an amazing Mom!

Me: Thanks! But once you have kids, they take over your life. I wouldn’t be able to take any time to myself. I wouldn’t be able to come out for Ladies’ night.

Lizzy: Ummm… how is that any different from your current situation?

Me: Touché.

Me: Maybe I am ready then. Maybe it’s more that I can’t see myself having kids with Alex…

Rachel: Woah… You saying what I think you are saying? You’re coming up on a year and a half together. If that’s the way you feel, you need to say something!

Dee: Yeah you need to tell him!

Lizzy: Down Dee!… We all know you are dying to have Alex to yourself…

Dee: That’s not true! I mean I like him but so what? Shut up!

Nina: And here we see the magic of ladies’ night! The truth always comes out during ladies’ night. You know what you have to do! We’ll be here for you afterwards.

Lizzy: For sure, though we may need some more wine for that sort of occasion.

Rachel: So does that mean I should go return all the items I just bought?…

Me: Nah-It’s Alex’s first and last ladies’ night. Let’s leave him with lots of memories…

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY

No one else is going to say anything? Okay, fine, I’ll do it then.

This isn’t a story, it’s a script. Even though you’re doing it through text messages, a script is still functionally what this is, because actual stories don’t just have dialogue, but also narration at least (some stories also have thoughts, but it’s optional and depends on the writing style). To be honest, a standard script has more to it than this when you consider that they have to tell you whenever someone is entering or leaving the scene, which means your story is kind of low-end on description even for script standards. If you’re gonna write a script (or if you prefer this term, dialogue only piece/work), that’s fine, and I applaud you for your willingness to dabble in an unpopular medium. But that’s the kind of thing people in general would like to know before clicking the link, if possible. Maybe you could add it to the title just to give people a head’s up. Because let’s be honest, how many people who came here expecting to read a full blown story do you think actually read this in full or at all when they realized it wasn’t one? Because I sure as hell didn’t. Since I read your foreword, I didn’t even read the first line! I just checked the whole thing to see if there was anything else at any point, closed out, then came back when I noticed that, shocker, nobody’s bothering to comment on this!

I may sound like kind of a dick here, and if I do, feel free to call me out on that, I don’t mind. But even if I’m overreacting and/or being a bit rude, I’m still overreacting to a problem that is genuinely there: your lack of forewarning about the content, which depending on whether it was on purpose or not potentially borders on clickbait (but in reverse, meaning you don’t tell people about the contents that actually are there to generate more views/reads).

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY

Content wise not much happens and the story is uninteresting on its own. It’s one scene from a larger story without anything helping it stand out on its own.

For my part I was offline for a few days. I’d have commented immediately if I’d been on.

XenonVoid covers most of the points I’d have made.

Personally, I don’t have much experience with texting and how those conversations go but I’ve dabbled in script writing.

90% of communication is non-verbal, by having a dialogue-only story you’re creating a limitation that you haven’t worked to avoid. I can’t get into any of the characters’ heads and I’m often losing track of which one is which. I cannot build an understanding of location or relationships between them.

Scriptfics are nice when done well, they’re easy to follow and understand. They cut out unneeded descriptions and deliver their points in a straight forward manner. Of course, without actors and set designers to fill in the blanks a good scriptfic needs to provide something for the reader.

Personally, I use The Glass Menagerie as a baseline for good script design. It perfectly establishes the setting and location as well as uses the environment to affect the mood as needed. Shakespeare’s scripts are fine if you want to go very minimalist but even he spared a word or two to tell the actors what to do as well as say (e.g. Draws, They Fight, Dance, Flees).

If you’re dead-set on only using dialogue I’d suggest using soliloquies to convey any setting/character exposition to the reader. It’s tricky to get an audience to take them seriously but a lack of commitment to being a part of the scene can create interesting standout moments, some of Shakespeare’s best lines come from soliloquies.

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY

Definitely not trying to mislead anyone, and just changed the description as per your request. I think my intro makes very clear what I intend for the story.

Yes, you sound like a bit of a dick but only because (a) you comment without actually reading the material and (b)you imply that this forum is only for people who want to indulge their fetish and that it was somehow my job to give them exactly what they want, whereas I, perhaps mistakenly, had also viewed it as a place to get feedback to help improve my writing from those who share a similar interest in this type of subject matter.

This “script” was clearly an experiment in an unconventional type of writing and I thank TheOneWhoSees for his comments about the perceived deficiencies in the writing, as they will help me improve.

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY

Fetish? Are you kidding me, or do you just not know anything about me? I’m an asexual with zero sex drive, I came here to read a damn story and I’m sure many others here did the same. I didn’t get one, not even a shitty one, so I got pissed and commented that you were misleading people by not disclaiming that it wasn’t an actual story.

And by the way… you’ve gone from borderline blickbait to actual clickbait by changing it to what you did because now you literally force people to click on the link to know what you’re trying to say when you say it’s unconventional. You literally downgraded there, so I don’t feel like you’ve earned any more respect than I gave you initially, which was already a negative value because I was rude in places that I didn’t need to be. It’s rare for that to happen. A break even zero where I’m not polite but not rude is common, but this? Not so much.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to sleep. I’ve been awake since six in the afternoon yesterday my time, or a full twenty-three hours. Probably has a lot to do with why I bothered making a comment at all, let alone this second one.

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

…. I actually kinda liked this.

I didn’t feel misled by anything, and I think there’s something a little unique in writing a story told exclusively through text messages. I don’t think it’s the same as a script story, because some of the other commenters are right that a script story will often have stage directions or audience asides in them, and this doesn’t. But, a real life text message conversation doesn’t have any of that context either, which is what makes it fun to play with the format. The characters writing the messages have to provide enough information and context in the messages themselves to communicate what’s going on to each other, and that’s the same amount of info that we get as the audience.

That being said, you’re packing a lot of planned babying into a very short narrative arc; the women have gone from zero to crib and highchair in one conversation. I think it’s a common problem that comes from focusing too much on the end state of the story and not enough on the development to get there. I would slow it down, maybe have one or two of the women express more reservations about going too far too fast, or even about the whole project. That also would allow you to develop more over a couple of ladies’ night planning sessions; maybe the girls like having Alex to baby so much that they scheme to have Melissa invite him again, or they decide to surprise him by having the event at Melissa’s house.

Anyway, I think it’s better than XenonVoid and TheOneWhoSees give it credit for.

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

While I stand by my criticisms of the story itself (which is exactly what you’ve written in the second paragraph and the fact that it’s a scene of a larger story that doesn’t stand on its own) I do agree that a text message story is an interesting concept. (I’ll admit I did think it was a script story after first reading it because I skipped the intro)

Unfortunately, I’ve only ever seen it done well in a few creepypastas; it lends itself well to the mystery genre. All of the non-mystery and non-horror examples I’ve read so far have been very shallow, often feeling like something the writer threw out in a few minutes while trying to be silly rather than trying to write a great story.

I’m sure it can work in other genres but I’m at a loss as to how. The loss of non-verbal cues is a major hurdle for any author; it helps build a mystery but hinders characterization, relationships, and tone.

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

I get what you’re trying to say here, but if you’ll recall, I never said the script was good or bad. I explicitly stated that I didn’t even read it, I only skimmed the opening word of each paragraph to see if there was literally anything else at all throughout the whole thing. So even if I did criticize the work itself, anything I said probably wouldn’t hold up because as someone who hasn’t read it, I’m not qualified or able to give it proper critique in the first place.

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

Thanks PeterRabbit for the defense and the critique. I definitely agree that the the story was rushed, and though I wasn’t interested in actually having the Ladies’ night play out in the story, I should have added timestamps to the messages, and then allowed for the conversation to wander more, or take place over a period of days in order to more fully flesh out the characters.

As to the medium of the group message, I actually think it is very distinct from the script-spec that has been mentioned. Part of what allows for the characterization (though it may not have come across as clearly as I intended) is for a character to “text” more than once, to indicate nervousness, the fact that sarcasm can’t be detected over text which leads to misunderstandings, and the ability to just ignore certain people’s texts.

All that, I think, does subtly demonstrate relationship dynamics among the characters. Dee is supposed to be a bit of a ditz, and the rest of the group definitely doesn’t respect her intelligence, Lizzy is supposed to be the wise-cracker, Nina a mischievous “queen bee” of sorts, Rachel the practical levelheaded one, and Melissa, well she actually doesn’t have such a distinct personality now that I think about it- she was kind of there to move the conversation along, but ideally she would have been emotionally closed off. Admittedly, not the most complex characters in the world, but this really was just an experiment in a new medium.

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

Time stamps would’ve helped greatly, emojis too.

This post shows you’ve got the right idea here. I’d love to see if you make a revised, fleshed-out version in the future.

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

There is a story over at the AR Archive by little trip that is told exclusively through e-mails from someone commissioning a story. (I would link it directly, but the content takes an uncomfortable turn into, as the warnings put it, “strong gay sexual content” involving fictional minors, which I had forgotten until I went to go look it up again. I remembered the format more than the story, apparently.) I suppose it would qualify as horror or mystery, because the basic conceit is that the buyer commissioning the story experiences the things that he asks the writer to put into the commissioned story, so it has that Twilight Zone kind of vibe to it. That story only gives you half the conversation (you never see the author’s replies to the buyer, only the buyer’s side), though there is more direct narrative as the buyer describes in his increasingly panicky and upset e-mails to the author what is happening to him.

Anyway, I think the group text message conceit has a similar potential for a different kind of storytelling. You wouldn’t have to portray the ladies’ night itself, you can let the audience get a picture through the next set of messages: “hey wasn’t last night fun, I’ll never forget the look on Alex’s face…” etc. Group texts can also get sidetracked or single lines can be out of place (the person who accidentally texts the group instead of another person they intended about a different meeting, or the person who interrupts to say they’ll be late or have to step out of the conversation.

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

Actually, emoticons (which are there) are fine. Emojis? Not so much. An upcoming change to the board would toss them out as junk data.

[MarthStewart]And that’s a good thing[/MarthaStewart]

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

You wrote conceit in two places where I’m pretty sure you meant concept :slight_smile: I bolded them in the quote :slight_smile:

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

I thought the terms were interchangeable. I’m not sure why they needed to distinguish between them in the first place (I do know the difference between them but it seems odd in normal conversation).

Just so you know I’ve resisted the urge to bring back Clippy. You make it very difficult sometimes… :wink:

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

<— You can hate me later :wink:

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

Oddly appropriate. ;D

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

Because they have very different origins. And if you want to get technical about the definitions :slight_smile: , :wink: and :smiley: are actually graphical representations of emoticons. the text that generates them are the actual emoticons :stuck_out_tongue:

Emojis are actual characters in the Unicode character set :slight_smile:

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

Thanks, but conceit was the word I meant to use, in the sense of “a fanciful expression in writing or speech; an elaborate metaphor.”

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

OK, that’s what I didn’t realize.

Re: Ladies’ Night ONLY (Not a conventional story- read the INTRO first)

I don’t understand the hostility just because someone wanted to experiment with form. Experimental fiction that fails is often more interesting than a boring rethread of the same old, same old told in a conventional style. I don’t feel like the author has any kind of responsibility to warn other people about the contents of their fiction, except perhaps if it’s potentially very disturbing. The fact that the form is non-conventional shouldn’t be an issue that requires forewarning.

There’s a fantastic novel by Vladimir Sorokin called “The Queue.” It takes place entirely in dialogue, without dialogue tags. You don’t even know who’s speaking except by context. There is a passage of several pages which is only a series of onomatopoeia related to moaning, in place of a sex scene. It’s a wickedly funny story and it boldly experiments with form and succeeds. Highly recommended.

Now, onto the present story. I don’t mind the idea of it but the execution is lacking. The Queue, it ain’t. It starts off as if it’s going to take it slow, but it’s as if the writer got bored of his own story after writing the first two pages and decided to get to the meat of the matter. And then it turns out that it’s a lot of build-up for no payoff. All planning and nothing more. There are characters in there, and a pleasant willingness to experiment with form. I mean, epistolary novels have existed for centuries. It’s nothing new, even if the medium is different. You could have done a lot with this, but instead it reads as rushed and forcing the issue way too much, straining all belief. It’s easier to accept for the sake of story that giants exist and treat humans like young children and that’s how it’s always been, than it is to accept that ordinary humans in our ordinary group text message reality would go so suddenly from the vanilla to a maniacally twisted take on kink. You can tweak a lot, but human nature remains. Among my most common complaints with many kinky stories (up there with “boring”, “cliché” and “horribly written”) is “totally implausible.” It doesn’t have to be all that plausible, but you need to pull me in and make me believe it. I don’t buy it. You didn’t give me enough reason to think that these people could or ever would act this way, this quickly, and then to add insult to injury, it just peters out into nothingness.

I think it’s an interesting idea and a bad execution. I don’t agree with the rather rude first reply at all.