The Dating Scene

15 Mar

My two upcoming releases, Random Acts and Too Close to Home, are both romantic suspense novels. The main characters grow closer and eventually fall in love while the villain does his best to cause them all sorts of havoc. After I submitted my latest project to my agent, I decided to try my hand at writing a contemporary romance.  No bad guys. No cops. No speeding cars. How am I going to fill all those blank pages?

Then I remembered some writing advice I had received early in my career and was recently reminded of during a fantastic online course by Donna Alward called Blasting through Blah! offered through Savvy Authors.

If a scene is not working, try changing the location.

Sure your characters can fall in love while having dinner at the big chain restaurant, but it probably won’t make for exciting reading. Think of some of the movies you may have seen. In The Wedding Planner, Mary (Jennifer Lopez’s character) gets to know the handsome doctor (Matthew McConaughey’s character) at one of the wedding venues. Remember the scene when the stone statue breaks and Mary whips out her super glue only to have “the part” get  stuck to the handsome doctor’s hand? Or what about How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson’s character) and Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey’s character ~ have you noticed a trend here? :)) have fallen madly in love with one another. Barry invites Andie to a corporate party with his biggest advertising client, DeLauer Diamonds. (“Frost yourself with diamonds.”)  Anyway, the black moment occurs when Andie realizes Benjamin started dating her due to a bet. (Watch the movie to see  she has secrets of her own.) At the corporate party, they have a huge blow out including a Karaoke-esque scene where they duke it/sing it out in front of everyone. This scene was more entertaining than if they had fought in private.

Where are some other interesting locations to bring a date?

  • A picnic on a beach (I love the beach ~ note photo of me and my hubby at the beach.)
  • A rowboat on a pond
  • An amusement park
  • Camping
  • A dance
  • A drive-in movie

Besides simply changing the scenery, varying the type of interaction between your hero/heroine can reveal something about their characters. How would your heroine react in a rowboat if she didn’t know how to swim? How would your hero behave if he had never been camping? This all breathes life into the story and creates a lot of ideas to fill the blank pages.

Okay, what are some fun dating ideas?  Have you ever gone out on a date that revealed something about your date? About you? I’d love to hear from you.

Please stop by my website, chat with me on Twitter @Alison_Stone or visit me on Facebook. Of course, you can also leave a comment below.


8 Responses to “The Dating Scene”

  1. Candace Shaw March 15, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    You are so right. Locations can defintely make the date more interesting and fun like the beach or an amusement park. I’ve never been to a drive-thru movie theater. Hubby and I will have to check that out!

    • Alison Stone March 15, 2012 at 7:09 am #

      Drive-in’s are a lot of fun. I am lucky to have one a few miles from my home. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. jesstopper March 15, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    Love the idea of changing things up and shaking things up! I’ll remember that trick.
    On my first date with my husband, he took me to 3 different clubs in Manhattan to see live music. I remember thinking, wow, does this guy know every band/club in NYC? We walked in easily, paid nothing, everyone greeted him. Years later, he told me he took me to every place he knew he could get into for free – all three places. LOL And where he knew people would talk him up to me. 🙂 Very revealing indeed!

  3. Tina Radcliffe March 15, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Hi Alison. I couldn’t find a way to contact you. You were a winner in Seekerville!

    Ruth Logan Herne figured you’d heard it all before from HER, so she went outside her realm and grabbed famous authors from all over to share Getting Back on the Horse That Threw You, Thursday in Seekerville. Winner/s (YES, TWO WINNERS) of a great Ruthy Read of Their Choice are Alison Stone and Karen Beeching.

    • Alison Stone March 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

      What a pleasant surprise. Thanks for tracking me down. Will stop by seekerville…. or if it’s easier my e-mail is Alison at AlisonStone dot com.


  4. thejoysofwriting April 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Excellent idea to make a change of location to spice up a scene! I’ve even heard (from Donald Maass, I think) to frequently set your characters in a location that has meaning/strong emotion for one or both of them. This way there can be underlying emotions to conflict with or enhance the emotions of the scene.

    By the way, I pre-ordered Random Acts on my husband’s Kindle! I can’t wait! The jacket cover sounds awesome! Best of luck with your debut!

    • Alison Stone (@Alison_Stone) April 1, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

      Thanks so much, Tanya! I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

      It’s funny ~ knowing people are finally going to read my work fills me with equal parts excitement and dread. But I am so thrilled you pre-ordered it! Thanks!

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