Misunderstanding miscommunication

People are separate beings. They think and act independently. Often communication can be misinterpreted and it can cause some issues. I love this human flaw. When a person thinks and says one thing that is misunderstood by someone else thinking their own thing. 

They got their wires crossed.  I try to include things that make people more human. So why not misunderstanding miscommunication?  In a tense or heated moment it is easy for someone to say something that can be taken the wrong way by another. That’s what makes it fun.  I am however careful to make sure that the misunderstood communication is relevant to both sides. Side A must have a clear reason for saying what they do and why and side B must have a clear reason for understanding it the way they do and a solid reason for doing so.  It can’t be random and must be valid for both sides of the situation. These are scenes I often spend a little extra time on to make sure both are right and both are wrong. 

The outcome of such misunderstandings can be small or great. It can impact the story not at all or be the tipping point for a serious fall out or drama. From misinterpreting a simple direction that may cause catastrophic results to having one’s feelings hurt from a poorly placed comment, the options are endless and bountiful.

Tony and Anne left Starches without saying a word or looking at each other. Ann zipped up her coat in time for Tony to pull her out to the street. The second the cool air hit them he spoke. “How could you?” Tony shot the words at her like bullets.

Anne kept up with his fast pace, she didn’t have a choice as he dragged her by the upper arm. Instead of answering, she looked away. Neil wasn’t entirely wrong about her and now Tony knew.
“I asked you a question.” He said as they rounded the corner. Her apartment was just up the quiet street.
“I don’t know.” She didn’t, not the answer he wanted nor what he was really asking. He didn’t ask again as they walked in tormented silence.
He stopped outside her apartment. “You’re not an insipid woman Anne, you just stood there and let him say…” Tony let her arm go, looked up to the dark cloudy sky and then back to her. “How could you?”
Anne opened her mouth to answer then closed it. Blinking rapidly she dug her keys out and unlocked the door. If he followed or not she didn’t know as she jogged up the four flights of stairs. She opened her apartment door, threw her keys and coat on the floor, kicked off her shoes and ran to her bedroom.

Tony picked up her coat and hung it, and his, in the closet before taking his shoes off and following her. Her response was extreme, too extreme. She was face down on her bed sobbing, her entire body shaking. He climbed on the bed beside her and rubbed her back.
“Why are you still here?” Her face in the comforter muffled her words.
“Because I’m confused.”
She shifted and looked at his honestly calm and confused face. She sat up wiping her face with the palms of her hand. Her makeup nicely smeared.
“I don’t understand. Some loser calls you names, you stand there letting him and instead of defending yourself you explained your actions to him.”
She chewed her lip as he spoke.
“How could you?”
Her eyes widened. “Oh, you meant how could I let him insult me?”
Tony’s head tilted to the side.
Anne covered her mouth with her hand. “I thought you were mad because I ah…”
“Had a one night stand?” Tony chuckled. “Maybe fifty years ago I would be. Who hasn’t? So?”
She looked at her make-up smeared hands and he got off the bed to get a damp cloth. She was chewing her lips again. “Thanks.” She took the cloth and started wiping her face.
“Anne, I feel like I’m on repeat tonight. So?”
“Oh. Right.” She averted her eyes avoiding his. “Um I was embarrassed and…” She scrunched her face. “I was for the first time ashamed of myself.”
“Here, you’re missing it all.” He took the cloth and started wiping her face for her. “Go on.”
“I’ve never.” She swallowed hard. “Cared before.”
“Cared?” He finished and set the cloth on the nightstand.
“Of what others think of me. I do what I want, when and how I want. I don’t live by anyone’s rules but my own.” Anne sniffled and wiped a tear away.
“Why now?”
“You.” She looked at his face. His days beard growth dark and shadowing his jaw. “I cared what you thought.”
His grin made her furrow her brow. “Oh you care do you?” He shifted toward her forcing her to fall back on her hands. He moved over her smiling down at her scrubbed face. “So all this upset was because you cared what I thought? You were worried I would reject you?”
She nodded as he put his hand on her cheek and made her lay back.
“For having lovers before me?”
She nodded again. “I’ve never kept a guy around long.” She pressed her face into his palm. “I’ve never wanted to.” She swallowed hard again. “Before.”
“Well.” Tony lowered his face closer to hers. “That makes me feel special.” His lips found hers parted and responsive. His hand lowered from her cheek to the back of her head and neck. He would not rush this with her.

Anne stared into Tony’s steel-blue eyes mere inches from hers as her lips parted her breath shallow and warm.
“That’s how I know.” He brushed his thumb over her rapid pulse and smiled.
Anne swallowed and whispered. “Know what?”
“That you’re worth the effort.” Tony’s soft smile reflected hers. “From the first moment I touched your ankle you’ve responded to me like no other has. I knew I didn’t want to just be another guy you dated.”
“You didn’t?”
“Oh no Anne, I wanted to be the last guy you dated.” He gently lowered his lips over hers as their eyes closed.

Aww, sometimes a misunderstanding can have wonderful results. Tony and Anne have very little strife in their relationship, it’s also very new. They don’t know each other too well so it’s bound to happen that their communication doesn’t always connect. 

My advice about having misunderstandings.
They are awesome to include, just take the time to set them up right, and make sure both sides have reasoning. 

-Sheryl

Other posts I wrote

But I hate that

I swear! Or do I?

The FAB pencil

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Calm

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Moving along…

Even I need a break from time to time, that doesn’t mean I’m not busy doing many other things while not writing a specific blog advice piece. The story of Sasha and Cal is progressing and evolving along with my blog post examples. So the following is another chapter from Cal and Sasha’s story. Following on the heels of the last few posts, I wanted to move the story along to get back to some more examples, advice and tidbits. Here is a brief recap. Sasha was attacked by Baylor in her home. Cal Saved her, he’s a cop. Work has been hell for Sasha, she’s being bullied by her co-worker Amber. Scott, another co-worker, has been attempting to date her while his true colours leak out.

While brushing her damp hair Sasha went to the back door in her kitchen after the third knock.
“Wait, the back?” She froze, her breath caught in her throat as the strangeness finally sunk in.
“Sasha I know your home, I can see you. It’s detective Thorn, I’m here on business.”
Shaking her head, she looked through the thin veil of a curtain covering the window. It was Cal and he had coffee. She could use a coffee after tossing and turning all night. She opened the door and stepped aside.
“Come in Detective. Leave your shoes on, the linoleum is old.”
“Do try to not look so miserable to see me.”
“I make no promises Detective. You said it was business. Why didn’t you just call?” She closed the door as he sat at the small kitchen table. Solid wood and seats four, a house-warming gift from Anne. The chairs creaked and the surface was weathered. It was a true antique, not a replica.
“I brought coffee.” He handed her a tall cup. “And some things should be done in person.”
“Thanks. I suppose it would be hard to text me a coffee.” Sasha opened the lid and frowned. The remnants of the previous day still clung, dampening her mood.
“Double cream, double sugar, the way you like it.”
Her light brown eyes met his dark grey ones. “You follow me everywhere I go and show up at my back door with coffee no less, I’m trying not to be creeped out.”
He chuckled. “You had a cup in your recycling bin with DD on it and your shade of lipstick, I saw it Saturday. I also saw what you added to your coffee yesterday. I came to the back door because I didn’t want to make a scene. A blue haired woman was too interested in me.”
“Phyllis my neighbour is out walking her unnaturally slow dog right?”
“She’s just nosy.” Cal sipped his own coffee looking around the soft yellow kitchen. The old marble countertops were well cared for as were the hand carved cabinets.
“I can see why they made you a detective. So to what do I owe this… coffee.”
“I got a call.” He ran his hand over the carvings on the table edge. “Baylor Crowen is up for bail this morning.”
She choked on her coffee and nearly spit it out on the table. “Bail? Isn’t he like super bad?”
“He’s been charged yes, but lawyers are tricky bastards, his lawyer pulled some strings and the judge will be in his favor, she even moved his case to the top of the pile. The evidence was compromised and he’s claiming you invited him home and changed your mind. Since he didn’t leave a mark on you.” He looked at his coffee cup and poked at the lid.
“My word against his. That sucks.”
“Yes it does. Also he’s claiming that I entrapped him and I sort of…” Cal cleared his throat. “Hit him.”
“I noticed, and thank you for that. Will you get in trouble?”
He half shrugged. “Maybe. Don’t worry about it.”
She tapped her finer on the side of her paper cup refusing to look at the large attractive man at her kitchen table. His piercing grey eyes staring and waiting for her to respond or react. “What is the point of having police if the criminals are just let go anyway?”
“The state of the system is not the police departments doing. I’d like you to come to the station to fill out a more specific restraining order before the hearing.”
“It takes over thirty minutes for police to show up for a domestic disturbance, two hours sometimes. How does a piece of paper protect me exactly?”
Cal smiled at her wit. “If he breaks the conditions he’ll go back to jail.”
“Back.” She sighed. “So assuming he wants to pay me a visit, who’s to say he won’t just bring a gun to a paper cut fight?”
He chuckled despite the seriousness of the situation. “At most it will make him hesitate or scare him off. He’ll be watched and more careful.”
“Ooh he’ll be more careful.” She rolled her eyes. “That’s a relief. So Mr. Bash, slash n dash will just be sneakier and plan instead of employing his usual spontaneity.”
Cal covered his laugh this time and she smirked at him. “I’m sorry detective, I make jokes when I’m nervous and I know they’re tasteless.”
“Nervous huh?” He smiled slyly. “And you can call me Cal.”
“Yes, I’m nervous, upset, whatever. There is a crazy man who goes around beating and cutting women’s faces to pulp who wants to finish what he started with me and he’s going to be free to do so.”
“Let’s go get some real breakfast, talk and head over to the station.”
She ran her fingers through her damp hair. “Okay. Let me call Va, ah my supervisor and.” She tilted her head. “Why are you here and not a normal officer?”
“I don’t live far and since I.” He stopped at her arm crossing and her lowered chin. “I’m invested.”
“Invested?”
He cleared his throat. “I’ve been chasing this guy for months, with no links to any evidence and him being careful…”
“You really did use me that night.”
“No. I was off duty at Starches with some non-force buddies. I spoke with  you before I saw Crowen there.”
She pursed her lips. “Why me? I saw the pictures of the other girls on the news, Valery is more his type.”
“My guess.” He said standing. “Is you snubbed him.”
“I didn’t snub him. I’m just not interested in dating anyone.”
“That was made painfully obvious. Even if it’s not true.”
“I go on dates if I have to, but I don’t date. There’s a difference.”
“A date is dating Sasha. Even that chump player thought so.”
“Look Detective, I don’t need.” She stopped. What could she say; he caught her on a date with Scott. “Give me ten minutes.” She set her empty paper cup in the vintage copper farmhouse sink and went upstairs to call work and put on some makeup.
She learned the five-minute makeup routine years ago and her complexion didn’t require more than a thin application of foundation. Today was already turning out worse than yesterday. The least she could do for herself was to primp and look good in her fear addled misery.
Cal looked at his watch when she came back nine minutes later. “Huh.”
“Don’t get all sexist Detective Thorn. I said ten and meant it. Nine is only because my supervisor was busy and didn’t have time to ask why.” She grabbed her purse and car keys.
“I’ll drive.” Cal opened the door.
“Yes you will. I have work to do this afternoon, Baylor Crowen or no, so I’ll follow in my own car. Unless I’m under arrest that is.”
“Not yet.” He smiled and went to his car as she locked up her house.

My advice today.
If you let the story take you on the journey the readers will gladly go too. I’ll get back to the usual post style next time.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Wisely Perpetrating Gullibility

Setting the mood

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Primp

She’s a person not a cake

One thing that I learned that makes all the difference, is to make my characters real through details instead of the long dry head to toe description. People are going to imagine them their own way anyway so describing every single aspect is tedious and unnecessary. A girl who twirls her hair or a man who cracks his knuckles will be more memorable.

Cal is an attractive successful man, he sees two women at a bar, both pretty, one flirtatious and the other awkward. I want to show that Cal knows about style and quality. At this point Cal has already been introduced so there is no need to mention his appearance. BTW he is well dressed, tall and handsome. Typical for this type of interlude.

For example:

Cal watched the two attractive fit women at the bar. They were young pretty and an odd couple. The brunette had a bob cut and dark blue eyes. She wore too much dark eye makeup and ruby-red lipstick. She had a firm athletic body. Her long legs below her hiked up black Saint Laurent miniskirt, exposed her red lace underwear when she moved.

The other, the Blonde, wore sensible Dolce & Gabbana outfit and applied minimal makeup. Her tight pink shirt and casual black flair skirt fit her like a glove and she tugged at them awkwardly. She had pretty brown eyes and a small nose. Slim long legs and soft features. By far prettier than the brunette friend. She was dragged out tonight, the awkward smart friend too work driven to have fun.

The friend isn’t the only awkward thing there. Everyone knows what a woman looks like and if he’s interested there is a good chance they are attractive. Let me try that again.

Cal leaned casually on the wall as he watched the odd couple at the bar. The brunette looked over at him with dark blue eyes. The corner of her ruby-red lips curled as she tongued the straw in her drink and brushed the bottom of her short bob cut with her fingers. Too easy, with her black Saint Laurent miniskirt hiked up, proving her lace panties matched the over-applied lipstick. She was on the hunt.

Her modest friend however, the long-haired blonde in Dolce & Gabbana, would be worth the challenge. Again, she tugged on her tight pink shirt then adjusted her flared black skirt drawing attention to her strong legs. She frowned at her friend, following her gaze over to Cal. Her pretty brown eyes met his briefly before dropping to the drink in her hand. She was dragged out tonight, the overworked over achievers were bound to have something interesting to say and Cal was tired of boring easy women.

That may not be perfect, but it’s a lot better than the list of features before it. Believe it or not I recently read a book that did just that. The story stopped dead in its tracks for a paragraph checklist description of someone’s appearance. I try to avoid doing that.

My advice about describing physical features.
Try to work it into the scene instead of brow beating the reader with a dried up awkward list of ingredients. She’s a person not a cake.

 -Sheryl

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