The Crucible (NOT the play about the Salem witch trials)

Here’s another piece I did in my creative writing course last year.  We had to write a conversation where one character was explaining something to another character without it turning into a boring monologue.  I decided to show off and combine it with what we learned about plots the previous week.

The Crucible

“Right, so, every story at some point needs a crucible.”

“Hang on.  What’s a crucible?  I thought this was a writing class, not religion.”

“Crucible, not crucifix.  Technically, it’s a clay container in which you mix chemicals and then heat them up so they’ll react with each other –“

“Now you’re talking about chemistry.  Do you really know about writing?”

“Keep your pants on!  In writing, a crucible is a situation in which two characters are in conflict –“

“So, not a clay pot?”



“May I continue now?”


“As I was saying, two characters are in conflict, but it’s a situation they can’t escape, like, being stuck in an elevator, say.”

“Oh!  Just like the chemicals in the clay pot.  I see.  It’s one of them metaphor-thingies.”

“Yes.  One of them metaphor-thingies.  Anyway, then you add something to make the situation worse.”

“Like the building being on fire?”

“Exactly.  So, they have to get out of the stuck elevator before the building burns down with them in it, but they have to sort out their crap first, otherwise they can’t work together to get out, see?”



“Why’s the building on fire?”

“Why’s the..?  Forget it!  I give up!”

“Hey, wait!  Where are you going?  Come back!”

Copyright © 2013 Herman Kok

3 thoughts on “The Crucible (NOT the play about the Salem witch trials)

  1. Haha this is a great scene. I’m currently reading “Sophie’s World” and the whole book is basically a philosophy textbook disguised cleverly as a thriller/mystery novel. I also read “God’s Debris” in which the two only characters in the book talk about God and religion and philosophy. I think it’s a great form to convey complex ideas without being boring. 🙂


Comments are closed.