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Writing advice?

I'm having a big problem writing a scene, so I'd like to ask some advice from anyone who would care to give it. Here's the scenario.

A married couple is having an argument - one big enough that the wife walks out and stays at a friend's house for a few days and start talking about divorce (though they make up eventually). This argument happens in a public place and a different character, unbeknownst to them, is there to observe the argument. I have the option of either writing the scene explicitly or having the observer tell a fourth character about the argument. While the second option is much easier, I thought I'd try the first route.

The husband is well-employed and has been putting the wife through school to get her professional degree and certification. In the meantime, she became pregnant and gave birth to their daughter, and on the current day, he's taken her out for a day away from all her studies and mothering. While they are out, she says something like, "I can't wait to finish school, so that I'll finally have time to devote myself to raising Sarah." He gets angry, asking why he's been putting all this effort into paying for her schooling and taking care of the baby, in addition to working full-time, when she's just going to be a stay-at-home mom. That's what sparks the argument.

My problem is that I cannot think of how to make the argument snowball to the point of her walking out on him. I expect that after the initial argument, the two of them start throwing related or unrelated peeves at each other, but I have no idea what they would be. So, here are my questions.


  1. Do you think I should just scrap the argument and instead write the third character telling the fourth character what he saw and heard?
  2. As a side question, do you think this argument scene would be too boring or unnecessary? The story is not about the argument, or even about the husband and wife, so detailing it does not add anything to the overall plot. The real important bit here is what happens to the third character while he's listening to the argument. (I probably just answered my own question.)
  3. If you think I should continue trying to write this scene, what advice do you have for snowballing the argument?
  4. What kinds of things should the two accuse each other of or blame each other for, to make the argument spiral out of control?


Thanks! :)

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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
bas_math_girl
Nov. 22nd, 2018 09:47 pm (UTC)
It should be relatively easy to precis the argument since it is via the third characters's viewpoint. [I could be naughty and say that if it is a male character, you can justify it by saying men rarely listen to everything that is being said...]
shivver13
Nov. 23rd, 2018 05:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, I can use this - not directly for the purpose, as I'm going to go with katherine_b's suggestion, but as there is a bit of time travel to this scene, the fourth character already has knowledge of what went on during the argument. It's possible that the third character comes back and reports what he's seen and the fourth character goes, "Wait, that's not how it happened." :D
katherine_b
Nov. 22nd, 2018 11:02 pm (UTC)
If it's happening in a busy location and you view it through the eyes either of the third person or a fourth person (not entirely clearly on whose POV we are depending) then there could be such a lot of noise going on (cheering a football match or singing happy birthday to someone or something) that the person sitting in the corner and watching/listening only gets glimpses and has to guess large parts of what's being said by watching the physical reactions on the part of the participants.
shivver13
Nov. 23rd, 2018 05:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, oh, yes, this! Thank you! That's a fantastic way of handling this! Having the observer get distracted or blocked by the environment makes it so that I don't have to write out everything that's said, and makes the scene a bit more fun. And it creates opportunities for misinterpretation. Thank you!
katherine_b
Nov. 24th, 2018 12:56 am (UTC)
So glad I could help!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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