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My writing style is rather strongly character-driven, and the process often winds up going:

1: Emotional arcs and starting situations known coming in.
2: Dialogue
3/4: Stage Directions & Blocking
5: Embroidery

I am temporarily held up by a piece of dialogue.

One of my characters has behaved like an utter tool, but in a distinctly different way than someone else's mental model of his usual form of toolish behavior. This is in no small part due to different sets of information held by each character going in. This expectation bubble is about to collapse in a suitably dramatic fashion. Once I know how it collapses, I will know the outgoing arcs and I'll be able to build the rest of the scene, but the pin of the scene around which I have to build the dialogue is that clash of the actual and the incorrectly expected.

Unfortunately I know too much about the scenario from all directions to accurately model the steps that led to the incorrect (but deeply amusing to me as the reader) guess. (A number of the Usual Suspects also know more information about the scenario than any of the given participants know, which in this case is not necessarily helpful.)


1998-1999, Phoenix, AZ. Shenanigans center around a diner, some of the employees, and some of the regulars.

"Julia". (Her name is currently a topic of some debate, but until she finds her real name, she winds up defaulting to her birth name, so we can call her that with the understanding that later we're going to switch to the real name she discovers.) 16, female, cisgendered. Newly BFFs and co-workers with Max. Close friends with Amber; they have long phone conversations a lot. She is trying to get the right balance of black-leather-and-sunglasses shit-stirrer and solid/competent/hilarious. Would be one of the guys except she does not always have the patience for being a bro to those with too many dudely problems. Doesn't think that pissing people off is the funniest thing ever, but doesn't reject scenarios just because they might piss people off.

Max. 16, male, cisgendered. Newly BFFs and co-workers with Julia. (They are still in the process of sharing their vital information; for example she doesn't know his phone number yet as that has not come up, but they know just about everything about each other's favorite horror movies. PRIORITIES.) Is currently dating a girl (Amber). Into stage magic and being the funniest dude; has occasional problems with tactlessness and where his idea of funny has already gone into someone else's "annoying" without him realizing (or sometimes with, but not often, because he doesn't like upsetting people too much). Does not have *way* too many dudely problems ... for a 16-year-old guy.

Amber. 16, female, cisgendered. Is currently dating a guy (Max). Hangs out at Max and Julia's workplace. Has a lot of close friendships that she actively maintains. Is awfully handsy (consensually) with all her friends of all genders; has visibly had a string of boyfriends with whom she's more handsy. Close friends with Julia. Sex-positive and sort of cheerfully porny inasmuch as someone her age can be considered to be. She would probably consider herself one of the guys, but "the guys" do not consider her one of them because of that sex thing. Doesn't like upsetting people.


Amber and Max are seen kissing sucking face in Julia's vicinity, which is how Julia learns that they are now a couple; this is incidentally also AT THE WORKPLACE.

Julia flees to the back at some point after seeing this (the exact timing on her departure is not noticed by either Max or Amber, they being too wrapped up in each other to see), where she does angry dishes until Max comes along and attempts to ask if she is ok/tries to cheer her up. Julia flees further (hides behind dumpster sobbing) & gets sent home from work; she ignores Amber's repeated calls.

Obviously at this point Max and Amber have compared a certain amount of notes. Max and Amber had an in-person conversation after seeing Julia's distress at work, and later a telephone conversation after Julia has not answered Amber's calls.

Max is pretty sure that Julia's current distress is his fault, though he's not sure exactly what he did since Julia is normally a rock. Amber gives him Julia's number and he calls to apologize.

Amber is imagining all of the ways this could go badly wrong, so Julia's call back to her a short while later is not entirely unexpected. Julia opens the call with "GUESS WHAT YOUR BOYFRIEND JUST SAID TO ME."

Just to make things more interesting, Amber has in the past mentioned to Max that she has been attracted to Julia, is aware that Max can blurt things out when he's nervous, and has come to the sad conclusion that Julia is probably straight because she shows no non-platonic interest in Amber's bodaceously sexy self.

I'm stuck on what, exactly, Amber suspects that Max might have said, that he would have produced that sort of flailing and intense OMG WHAT THE SHIT I CAN'T EVEN LOL NOOOOO simultaneously with identifying him as Amber's boyfriend and not Julia's own BFF, from Julia.

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Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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