November 22nd, 2018


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! :)