How to write a novel | creating a mood
If you’re following my blogs about writing a novel, you’ll know my story is about Nick. His parents were killed in a car crash in America and he went on a road trip in a camper can. He met Lily on his travels and they have formed a love-hate relationship.
They have travelled to Shropshire and Lily is now staying with her friend from university, Victoria. Victoria lives with her grandparents in the lodge of an estate. Her grandfather, Matt is the head gardener and Nick has the job as his assistant, at least through the summer. The Lord of the Manor is the antagonist in the story, Mr Knight; who is also attracted to Lily. To complicate things, Victoria flirts with Nick and is attracted to him!
I need an incident to trigger some comedy dialogue. I also need a first name for Mr Knight. It needs to be a name that conjures up an image of someone quite strong and upper class. I don’t think he sounds like a Tarquin or a Rupert. I need something more masculine. I am considering Terrance, not Terry of course. Too common! The name is important because it can help with the humour. Nick can joke and call him Terrifying Terrance perhaps? Terrance is also shortened to Tel. Maybe Victoria could ignore his pleas to be called Terrance and call him Tel just to be over familiar?
I think Mr Knight will do what he can to encourage a relationship between Nick and Victoria and he will use his position to impress Lily. How could he do that? I think a dinner invitation would be a little awkward, you don’t usually invite your gardener to dinner. He could invite Lily to dinner, but it would make for interesting dialogue if he invited Nick and Victoria too. That would be plausible, Lily might flirt with him to make Nick jealous, but refuse an invitation to have dinner with him alone.
Things were tense at dinner that evening. Nick was feeling uncomfortable in a suit and was very conscious that everyone had dressed for the evening. They sat down to dinner and the conversation began awkwardly.
“How’s my garden coming along now, Nick?” Mr Knight asked in a tone that sounded condescending to Nick.
“Oh, fine. We should have your hollyhocks sorted out any day now.” Nick replied, half joking and knowing that no one really gave a damn about the garden.
“Golly Good, I do like the garden to be presentable.”
“You and Grandpa are doing a great job, Nick.” Victoria, was obviously trying to flirt with Nick. She leaned over the table as she pressed her wine glass to her lips.
Nick was already aware that Victoria had dressed seductively and so was Mr Knight; but his attention was focused on Lily.
“Do you ride? Lily.” Mr Knight asked, as if making an announcement, “I have a wonderful grey that would suit you.”
“I’m willing to learn. Would you teach me?” Lily leaned forward, as if competing with Victoria to show that she could flirt too.
“I mucked that grey out earlier. Where does it all come from?” Nick said, instantly changing the mood. The others looked at him. Victoria smiled mischievously.
“Ah, the soup!” Mr Knight declared, as if making yet another announcement.
I am trying to create a mood that is slightly hostile and tense. No one is enjoying the dinner and they all have their own reasons for being there. They are all driven by desire, but Lily is the one who holds the key to what will happen next. She is attracted to Nick and it’s him she really wants, but is also flattered by the attention she gets from the wealthy Mr Knight. Nick, finds everything about Lily irritating, she takes pleasure in teasing him and tries to make him jealous. He hates her American accent, she’s loud and arrogant, but he can’t just move on and leave her. Victoria can see how Nick feels for Lily and wants him for herself. Mr Knight is also arrogant and attracted to Lily because she seems to be just like him.
I’m still struggling with amusing dialogue. What do you think? Where would you take the story now? Can you think of a line for Nick to say?
Please comment and do visit my blog on a zillion ideas, lots more ideas there.
- How to write a novel | suspense (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- How to write a novel | Character development (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- How to write a novel: narration and dialogue (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- How to write a novel | comedy dialogue (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- How to write a novel and make it plausible (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- How to write a novel | Writers block (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- How to write a novel | Imaginary names (mike10613.wordpress.com)
- How to write a novel | grammatical tense (mike10613.wordpress.com)