Where Everyone Knows You

Every week my husband and I go to a local diner where we meet friends for dinner.  When we hear the familiar jangle of the bell as we open the door, we know we’ll be met with enthusiastic greetings. 

Nearly everyone who goes is a regular.  Sometimes we’ll all get into a group conversation – – and everyone is chiming in on a subject and it’s like one big party!  All different ages and backgrounds, coming together because of the locale and the food. 

Now if I were to write a scene with a group of people who all knew each other, how would real life be different from writing?  If I wrote exactly what happened on one of these nights, it might be a tad amusing, but frankly, I would bore you to sleep.  Why?  There wouldn’t be any tension or conflict.   Lacking suspense, there really isn’t any reason to read.  What’s the problem?  What does anyone have to lose?  What does anyone need?

Writing prompt:

Write a scene with a group of people.  It could be in a school cafeteria, a classroom, a business meeting, a family reunion, a celebration, or any place people gather together.  Next, have these people interact with each other.  Remember to get them talking and in between the dialogue intersperse a bit of the description of the place and people, their actions and reactions to each other. 

Next, add conflict with each other.   What is the problem in this scene?   Or perhaps there could be different relationship problems between separate people adding layers of tension. 

After you write the scene, read it out loud.  This helps not only to catch your errors, but to help with your pacing.  It will show you when you need more or less dialogue and more or less narration. 

What makes a story the best is the perfect blend of both.


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