The Growl Under Your Bed Part 7: This is Something Like Hate
I've played elements of this conversation out a few times before writing it. I didn't plan the whole thing. I actually just had a few lines I knew I wanted to use. I knew what the female character would look like. I didn't know her back story (not at that time). I still don't know her fate.
The conversation started like I wanted it to. The lines I wanted were there. As I wrote it, it evolved ... as it always does. Her story became known. Her level of pride became apparent. Her past stood out. This was all done through dialogue. I'm a big fan of dialogue telling you most of what you need to know about a character.
This scene is the first time you start to see the power of one of the main characters, and you see it through the eyes of the other one. The words he uses, the phrases, the way he says them, what he is saying -- it all lets readers know that maybe this guy isn't quite right. He is in full control of his actions, but he also seems like a bomb ready to go off. He comes across as dangerous, yet charismatic. That alone would tell most people to stay away.
But that would be no fun.
When I finish the scene, the tone of the manuscript will have been forever changed. It will be the start of the downward spiral. Therefore, it has to read a certain way. It can't be the defining moment, but it will set that moment into motion.
If you watched The Devil's Rejects you may remember the scene in the hotel room. You know the one. It involves a gun. That is not the film's defining moment, but it is the one that takes that movie and changes it. In the theatre, it was when the laughter and extraneous audience chatter ceased. It was the moment the movie felt dangerous, like anything could happen.
The moment I'm writing won't be that extreme of a change, but only because I'm dealing with a book and not a ninety-minute movie. Movie moments have to have quicker, bigger impact. Book moments are more like simmering pots. You keep the heat on until they boil over.
This scene is the start of the simmering. How it ends ... well, that is not as important as how it began. That means everything.