Bruce Lilly

                                                                            Professional Writer and Editor





Writing samples — Dialogues and narratives
The following three dialogues come from two separate projects that were used as part of a program to teach English as a second language.  In each case, I composed longer narratives than are shown here.  The first two dialogues are for beginning level and the third is for more advanced students.  When reading these keep in mind that they were written in order to teach English. 
Carla and Masao

(This story concerns an American woman and a Japanese man who meet at a special summer program offered by a university in the U.S.  In these scenes they are visiting the woman's aunt.) 

The visit at Auntie Lou's begins well.  She tells Masao that his name is too hard for her to pronounce so she'll call him "Massey" instead.  Masao takes to her quickly, compliments her cooking and eats heartily.  Carla is beginning to relax and enjoy herself as well when the conversation goes in a new direction. 

Auntie Lou:  So, tell me Massey, do you have any marriage plans? 
         Carla:  Auntie Lou!  Why are you asking him that?! 
       Masao:  It's O.K., Carla.  No, Auntie Lou, I have no plans. 
Auntie Lou:  Have you ever thought about marrying an American woman? 
         Carla:  Auntie!! 
       Masao:  I just want to marry the right woman--of any nationality. 
Auntie Lou:  Do you have anyone in mind? 
         Carla:  Auntie, this has gone far enough.  You're embarrassing me. 
Auntie Lou:  I'm sorry sweetie.  Maybe it's time for dessert

After dinner Auntie Lou shows Masao a book about the history of Atlanta that is filled with striking photography.  He is fascinated with it and while he looks at the book, Carla helps Auntie Lou wash the dishes in the kitchen.  This gives Carla an opportunity to complain to her aunt about the conversation at dinner. 

         Carla:  Why do you always have to embarrass me like that? 
Auntie Lou:  You do like him, though, don't you, hon? 
         Carla:  Maybe I do, but that doesn't excuse your behavior. 
Auntie Lou:  You take me too seriously.  Now tell me why you like him. 
         Carla:   He's different from any other guys I've known. 
Auntie Lou:  In what way? 
         Carla:  He's so respectful and kind.  He's also smart and funny. 
Auntie Lou:  Funny? 
         Carla:  Yes, once you get to know him. 

Cultural Negotiations

(The third dialogue comes from a story concerning business between a Japanese company and an American company.  In this scene two Americans are discussing the progress of negotiations.) 

Despite Shoji’s assurances, Ellen is still upset and worried about the outcome of her trip.  She doesn’t understand why Shoji didn’t warn her about the nature of the meetings.  At her hotel that evening, she tells Howard about her experiences. 

    Ellen:  Last night I told Shoji that I hoped we could dispense with 
               formalities and get started on specific issues.  Yet, today was 
               nothing but formalities. 
Howard:  It is surprising that he didn’t warn you.  Maybe he doesn’t think 
               of formalities in the same way that you do. 
    Ellen:  He should have warned me.  I wouldn’t have reacted warmly to 
               the news, but I would have agreed to attend the meetings.  And I 
               wouldn’t have been so surprised by the way things went. 
Howard:  Well, Ellen, you really shouldn’t be so surprised, anyway.  In my 
               opinion, this just seems to fit the pattern. 
    Ellen:  Fit the pattern?  What do you mean by that?  Fit what pattern? 
Howard:  The pattern described in the book about Japanese business 
               practices.  I don’t remember everything it said, but I think it 
               talked about this in the second chapter. 
    Ellen:  Oh….yeah, well….I’m not sure. 
Howard:  Ellen, you did read that book, didn’t you?  It’s got a lot of useful 
               information.  It could save you a lot of anguish. 
    Ellen:  Actually, I had been meaning to start it this week, but then 
               Shoji called on Monday, and I’ve been so busy every day since. 
               So, what does it say about formalities? 
Howard:  It says that formalities can be very important to the Japanese. 
               They don’t see it as such a waste of time as you do. 
    Ellen:  They don’t see it as a waste of time?  How do they view it, then? 
               What do they see it as? 
Howard:  They see formalities as an investment in the relationship.  It’s a 
               way for them to see if you share some of their values. 

Our narrators admired your dialogues for being natural and realistic.  Your writing  talent and creativity are excellent. 
    —Tsuyoshi Yoshida, Nullarbor Press, Tokyo

 Back to main Samples page
HomeServices offeredProfile
ExperienceReferencesContact information