Date night with our characters is finally here. It’s time to get dressed up to meet at some place a little step up from the local bar. Writers need to know how their characters are going to behave in fine dining situations, even if it makes them uncomfortable. Choose a higher end restaurant that you’ve been to, or better yet try to go to the destination if they’re open. Experiencing the atmosphere and seeing how the waiters come to the table are important. Writing without the details feels flat and monotone.
Tonight, the writer in you is going to nerd up and create index cards for conversation starters. I know, this isn’t normal but it’s time to build up your conversation box. Prompts are meant to propel you into the mindset for whatever you need to write about. In this case, we’re building our index box of conversation or dialogue topics.
What are every day kinds of questions you want to ask your protagonist? What about your antagonist? What are unusual questions that only a writer would ask?
The purpose of date night is to really get inside our characters minds to understand who they are and why they are that way. Having this added to your character sheets will make writing your chapters easier because you’ll know what to anticipate from your characters when they face certain situations.
Instead of creating another list of questions, use tonight to write about what you feel during date night. Focus on emotions, excitement, and write out the dialogue. Yes, write out at least one dinner date scene with your character. If it’s bad, then you’ll know that there’s more work to do. The important part is getting something down on paper.
Once you have everything written down, review. Did you capture the sounds and sights at the table? How did their fingernails look on the table? Do you need to write down every detail? No, novels would be filled with information the audience doesn’t want or need to know. The purpose is to have a clear picture to pick out the important pieces the audience needs.
Developing the intimacy of connecting dialogue between characters takes practice and time. Removing pieces of dialogue that don’t move the story forward are challenging in the beginning. Creating moving developed pieces are like snapshots of a series of dates together. We don’t watch movies or read books just to hear a bunch of people ramble on in meaning less conversation. Our minds and bodies crave content, something that’s often lacking in our worlds.
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