A chance moment

I blabber on about writing a lot. Probably because I can. There are moments in life when separate things slip together and all of a sudden bam! It all makes sense. The sudden realization of something either right before your eyes or close to it.

I like to lead a character up to the moment when they finally look up, wide-eyed and  realize something important. If I’m writing a scene but don’t know how to bridge the events properly I’ll use a chance moment. Something random but not unbelievable.

The options for purposefully random chance moments are infinite. Since they are random, you can choose anything or anyone to make it happen. Even a character never before used. So long as it all fits the story and is not truly random and unbelievable.

“Scott you look terrible.” Valery stopped him in the hall outside the lunchroom.
“Couldn’t sleep.” He ran his hands through his dark hair. 
“Do you need time-” Valery stopped abruptly when he looked her in the eyes.
“Sasha’s in trouble isn’t she?” He rubbed his face after her minute nod.
Valery leaned closer lowering her voice. “She was in protective custody.”
“I only found out most of this yesterday. She was told to keep it from us for her safety. Did she tell you about that guy attacking her?”
Scott nodded. “A little.”
Valery tapped away on her smart phone and held it up to him. “When this came out in the news last week I…” She swallowed hard as Scott stared at the image of Baylor Crowen.
“Shit, that’s the guy? The mangler attacked her?”
“Yes. They only got his picture because Sasha got him arrested. Apparently he tried again.”
Scott took her phone for a closer look. “That’s when she went on vacation?”
“Yes. The detective said.” Valery swallowed hard, her voice cracking from strain. “He found her while under protection.”
Scott’s mouth fell open, but he couldn’t speak.
“Something happened, the cops wont say what and I have no idea what’s going on.”
“He looks familiar.” Scott squinted at the screen.
“Well he’s been headline news twice since last week.”
“I know.” He tapped his chin. “But…” He saw Jenny approaching with her overly bubbly gait. She was Clifton’s unofficial assistant. The gossip about the two of them isn’t kind.
“I actually met him at the bar the night he attacked Sasha. I thought he was hot.” Valery shivered at the memory. 
“Who’s hot?” Jenny grinned and peeked a the phone. “That’s the weird HR guy.”
Valery and Scott looked at each other alarmed.
“HR?” Valery queried.
“Uh huh.” Jenny sat. “He comes in every few weeks to see Clifton.” She scrunched her face. “He’s sorta hot, but prefers brunettes. Too bad.” She twirled a lock of her dark blonde hair around her index. “It’s funny for HR, he’s never talked to anyone. Just oggles Alice, yells at Clifton and leaves.”
“He’s been here?” Valery glanced at Scott. If she had seen him, she’d remember.
“Sure has. Not lately though. So whats up with him?”
“Oh.” Valery licked her lips and grabbed her phone from Scott. “He’s not on our payroll anymore. Since Clifton’s away would you let me know if he comes by again? He left some things here.”
“Sure thing Valery.” Jenny held up a thumb drive. “Amber needs this. Later.”
Valery was already dialing the number detective Thorn gave her as she dragged Scott toward her office.

Since Valery and Scott are minor support characters I didn’t want them to figure too much out on their own. So in Comes Jenny to slip in the missing piece of the puzzle.  The only hitch to having someone provide random information is it needs to be believable. I’ve mentioned a mysterious HR guy before so I could work it in this way. It’s also a bit more exciting than a narrative or dual dialogue of Scott and Valery “working it out”.

My advice about a chance moment.
I love them if I’m stuck with a way to get to a point in an interesting or exciting way. Give it a try, and see what happens.


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Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Bacon, Banter and Coffee

Conversation is a multi layered beast. It can change with the wind, the tone can be misunderstood and feelings altered because of it. Small talk is generic and often dreaded. When people talk in a story it should have meaning, it should have a point and a direction. Whether it’s establishing backstory, character development, relationship development, it should have a place in the story. If it’s put there as filler, the reader isn’t dumb, and will know. I love good Banter, fun dialogue that brings out a characters nuances, hints toward an end goal and show’s us a little about who they are. Banter is easier done once the characters main attributes and position within the story have been set. Why? Because banter is often a friendly exchange, with humor, or even sexual tension depending on who is conversing. A history between the characters is necessary, it doesn’t have to be much, but enough that they can joke or make light of something common.

I just love when I’m reading a book and the characters slip into banter style conversation. It makes me as the reader feel closer to the characters. I become invested and I become interested. Too much drama, tension, or emotionally charged conversation can smack of melodrama. Eye rolling glorious melodrama.

After Sasha’s chaotic evening and past weeks she’s due for a little banter.

Sasha woke to the smell of bacon and coffee. The abnormally comfortable bed cocooned her in warmth.

“I’m not on vacation.” She whispered the words wide-eyed as it all came back. With a hand to her aching head, she slowly moved her sore stiff body from the bed.  She grabbed the soft white hotel robe and covered up. Whomever went through her belongings only packed light nightwear. Nothing practical. It should bother her that someone riffled through her home to bring her things, but it didn’t. She looked at the splay of clothes on the other side of the massive bed. At least there were jeans, some fitted long sleeve shirts and a couple soft sweaters.

“Morning.” Cal didn’t look up from the paper as she padded barefoot to the table. “Hope you like more than fruit with horse food and ruined milk. I already ate.”

“Yogurt is improved milk.” She smiled at the two Ibuprofen tablets beside the plate and sat. “I sometimes treat myself, I think I’ve earned some cholesterol and salt with a side of carbs and grease.”

“I did order you plant matter as well.” He smiled when she snickered.

The article was nonspecific. Sasha’s name was still out of the story but Baylor was now headline news. For now the information, surrounding the case was contained. It couldn’t stay that way for long. He was on baby sitting duty because his superiors caught wind of his history with Baylor.

“So am I news yet?” She bit into the toast and looked at it. Real butter. “Mmm.”

“Not yet thankfully.”

“I wish it would be never.”

“We’ll do what I can. For now you’re stuck here with me.”

“As in all day?”

He turned the page slowly. “As in all day.”

She chewed the fried sausage slowly. She was being rude and knew it. It was partly because he hit on her at the bar on the anniversary of the worst day of her life. It was also because she liked him, was attracted to him and didn’t want to be. Mostly it was because Baylor had soured her mood and tainted her home. Again. Last night had been too much. Everyone was picking at her or asking her to go outside her comfort zone. A zone, she was being told too often lately, was a bit too small.

“I have work to do, I can do it here, but I should call Val and Anne and let them know I’m on an impromptu vacay.”

“Will they buy it?”

“I was chatting with Val yesterday about getting away for a few days. I didn’t say where, she knows about Baylor after the bar and the bail thingy.”

“Staying home isn’t getting away.” He folded the paper and set it on the table finally looking at her directly.

“It is for me.” She looked down at the empty plate. “Guess I was hungry.”

“You probably skipped supper and likely ate grass for lunch. Not to mention that much stress will make you hungry.”

She laughed.

Cal’s head tilted to the side. “What?”

“There was wheat grass in my salad at lunch.”

They both laughed. He pulled out his phone and held it out. “Untraceable and blocked. Two calls.”

She took it with a sneer. “Protective custody. More like Jail for the innocent; except lucky me gets two whole calls.”

“You broke a few laws yesterday, I see no one innocent here.”

“You’re a regular funny guy.” She stomped off to her temporary bedroom. At least her prison was four and a half stars. The door wouldn’t slam, it had a safety slow close. She scrunched her face when she heard Cal’s boisterous laugh behind her. “Jerk.”

In this, I wanted to portray that Sasha is sarcastic and health conscious, Cal is practical and nurturing. While upset about what happened Sasha is aware she is taking it out on a patient Cal. Much of their banter wouldn’t work if they hadn’t had some time together already.

My advice about Banter.
Know your characters and how they interact together (Not everyone is equal in reaction/action). Make sure to keep in mind where you eventually want them to end up. Nothing can lighten a story after a violent storm than some sunny friendly banter.


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