If I had to narrate a fight scene that occurred within my home, and add detail and emotion, it would be so badly jarbled that it would be difficult to decipher who said what and who did what. Not that we have many fights in my home, (eh hum) they are wordy debates with generous amounts of rolly eyes and the occasional mumbling under ones breath, followed by stomping feet, and the rare but elusive hissy fit. Granted my house has two older teenage boys and a four going on twenty year old girl. There are discussions (eh hum).
So last night I was in chapter thirteen of my third book (titleless so no shameless plug yet). In chapter thirteen my hero is confronted by his newly live-in girlfriend’s mother as well as his sister and ex-wife. There is a whopping five characters in this scene and each one has an opinion, rolly eyes, and sarcastic undertone. It was no easy feat trying to make sure readers would know who was saying what, at the same time allow them to stay in the frantic emotions of the point of view of Ben (the hero). After three hours of revisions and shouting at myself through my character’s dialogue and two tablets of Tums later, I finally reconciled the scene. I did think about omitting it all together, but thought the scene bore too much weight on the subject matter to simply give up on it. When I did the reread I was happy with the results, though, I vowed to never again create such a chaotic scene again. After the emotional duress of getting into five cynical, stubborn characters I called it a Nyquil night…complete with tiny pineapple stuck to a small umbrella toothpick. Yeah, that kind of night.
What was worse is that I kept replaying the scene over and over wondering if there could have been more emotion, more words, or if I hurried through it. At the bottom of my Nyquil stained cup, I was left with only one option . . . suck the rest of the bitter, thick, cherry flavored, medicinal beverage from the pineapple. Okay, so it didn’t happen that way. I chugged the Nyquil, pushed the dog to the foot of the bed, and played ambient sounds of the ocean from my phone. An hour later I jotted down some new ideas for the argument scene, and with that peace and the scent of Dragonflower Febreeze substituting aroma therapy, I was able to fall asleep.
This morning I reread the scene before rushing off to the job that actually pays the bills and decided nothing should be changed. Thank God! I wish I could just write some wonderfully eutopian society story where there is harmony, unicorns, and glittery rainbows…no wait…that was my Nyquil induced dream. Oh what the heck, Let’s get ready to rumble!!!!!!