How can I have more feeling in this scene without making this more cringy?
By Technically Inept
- 105 reads
Leslie is a side character/antagonist in the story. A character I made up in my head while thinking about how to make a version of a bad guy from a previous story that fit this one.
I wound up with a concept quite different, however. And the concept is one I later became attached to. I truly want it to be to where we have all these serious villains with proper motivations behind their actions and who truly pose a threat to society with their actions, and then we have the most powerful "villain" of all being some 16 year old girl who got bored, and maybe also acquired a goal to get stronger for reasons that, deep down, she herself doesn't really even take that seriously.
I mean, she pretty much has everything she truly needs, or at least she thinks she does. I do believe an element of her character should be feelings of not really belonging anywhere or being wanted by anyone that she tries to fight by a life of thrill seeking, and maybe at times some low self-esteem issues that she tries to fight by feeding her own ego and maintaining an arrogant and aggressive personality.
After deciding to become a "villain," one of the main forms that this thrill seeking and ego-pleasing takes on is trying to get people she terms "heroes" to oppose her so they can battle (and she can win), one of which comes to be the main character of the story, Jason. She doesn't make this a practice with regular civillians though.
One of the things that kind of starts to change her is her run in with another side character and minor antagonist, Queen V, a person she sought out to fight purely because she heard she was strong. It is the first "battle" she actually loses. (battle is in quotes because the Queen primarily just dodges all of her attacks and, only after Leslie urges her to, delivers a single strike that basically ends the battle.) The Queen then invites her to take a break and join her for a meal. And during this, the Queen's kind demeanor, and her seeing right through Leslie to a degree, gets her to start cracking.
This takes place in a relatively small room with a kitchen like area and a small dining area containing a table lined with chairs in it. At the table, a 16 year old girl sits. In the kitchen area, an older woman in royal garments stands in front of a fireplace, above the flames of which hang a single pot.
The girl had straightened up her usually quite casual posture. In fact, she sat straight up in a very rigid manner. She had turned slightly to face the woman at the stove, an eyebrow raised. She remained silent for a time, but as the time passed, her expression only grew more puzzled. "Uh... Your Highness, right?"
The woman did not turn around, but continued watching over the contents of the pot. "You may refer to me simply as V, if you find it more comfortable."
"RIght. Queen V. Do you usually make your meals yourself?"
"Is that a problem? Perhaps you are afraid that the meal won't be to your liking."
"No, it's not that, it’s just..." Leslie considered for a moment asking why the Queen didn't simply have one of her subjects do it, and then decided to drop the issue. "Nothing. And it's not that at all." Leslie looked away, and then continued in a quiet tone. "If it taste as good as it smells, I am sure it will be great, actually."
A few moments later, the Queen brought over two bowls of what appeared to be some sort of white, creamy soup with some foreign vegetables inside, and placed them on the table. Leslie found herself unable to raise her eyes to meet the Queen's at first, but when the Queen took her seat, Leslie froze for a moment and then turned to look straight at her. "Um... Queen V?"
"If you don't think the meal will be to your liking after all, do not fear offending me. I am certain we can find something else that will suite your palate."
"No, it really isn't that. It's just that, where I come from, when two people are eating a meal like this, they typically sit across each other in chairs on opposite sides of the table....
....Not right next to each other."
The Queen paused for a moment, and then a slight but cheeky grin formed on her face. "Intriguing. While we're discussing this matter, I will also express it is not the custom in my land for a single individual, unarmed and alone, to blast through the walls of a ruler's throneroom to challenge specifically and solely the ruler of that land to direct battle, and then actually expect such an invitation to be honored."
As she spoke, Leslie's eyes widened and then she looked away, opposite the direction of the Queen. "Uh, yeah....
"If I may ask, for what purpose did you do this? If I am not mistaken, you have not as of yet explained. Further, you do not appear to be after my kingdom or rule...
Have I wronged you or your people in some way?"
Leslie just stared off into space for a moment, for it took a few moments before the Queen's words fully registered. When they finally did however... "What!? No!
It's nothing like that. I just..."
In the few moments that Leslie tried to gather her words, the Queen said nothing, but simply watched Leslie attentively.
Leslie's voice quieted again. "I just wanted to see how strong you were. Or more accurately..." Leslie's voice was almost inaudible now. "...How strong I was in comparison to you."
The Queen continued to softly gaze at the young girl sitting beside her for a moment, considering, before looking away. "I see...
Well, I gathered from the aforementioned skirmish that you appear to have a firm grasp on how to effectively wield Vortex Energy. If strength is what you seek, I could perhaps offer some additional guidance that has aided me in wielding it, and we can see if it affects your ability in any way."
When the Queen's words fully set in, Leslie's eyes widened again in shock, and she turned back around to face her, mouth agape for a few moments. A few moments later, after recollecting herself, she looked back away. "No, that's fine...
You don't need to trouble yourself with that. Um...
Thanks for the offer."
The Queen once again fixated a soft gaze at Leslie, who now had her entire body turned away from her. "Is something troubling you, child?"
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"I can sense something lacking in your spirit. Or perhaps...
If I may...
Someone. I can sense a longing for companionship in you. If you don't mind me asking, where are your family and friends?"
Leslie's face, still turned away, hardened. "I don't wanna' talk about-." Leslie jolted. Her arms had been crossed, and her hands laying flat on the table, when now another pair of hands came to rest upon hers.
The Queen now adopted a softer tone. "I sense a sadness and a conflict within you that I do not wish to. But if you have no desire to speak about this issue, do not feel any pressure from me to do so. I only ask that if there is some way I can aid you in this, you do not feel hindered in asking."
Leslie remained turned away, but the Queen noticed from the back that she had begun to tremble. Leslie raised her hand, the one that the Queen was not resting hers on, to her eyes. The Queen could see from the back that Leslie performed a wiping motion, and when Leslie rested her hand back on the table, the Queen noticed that there was a wetness on the back of it that was not there before.
The Queen did not say a word before taking her other arm and wrapping it around Leslie and pulling herself closer to her. Leslie's head leaned toward the Queen and came to rest on her chest. For a few moments, Leslie came to tremble more violently than before...
Then she jumped straight up out of her seat 30 feet in the air and landed facing away from the Queen 7 feet away from the table. She stood there trembling for a moment, before abruptly turning around to face the Queen, her head pointed at the ground. "Thank you for the meal...
And your kindness...
And I'm sorry for attacking you."
The Queen gazed softly at Leslie for a few moments. "You are welcome to return to my kingdom at any time you wish."
Leslie raised her eyes to meet the Queen's. "What?"
The Queen smiled softly. "Though I do wish it will be for the purpose of a more peaceful exchange next time."
Leslie's entire face quivered. Her body became enveloped in a deep pink energy, after which she instantly disappeared.
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Intriguing beginning, it drew
Intriguing beginning, it drew me in and I wonder like the Queen why that child is so angry. It felt like the child in the story may be an orphan? You write she is 16 and alone and looking for a fight to prove she is stronger than any perceived nemesis. So is it anger at the loss of family that motivates her? Was she always alone or did she lose her family, or had she run away? Questions you can answer as you go on with the tale. Is she strong and cold and determined to care for nothing and no one because soft feelings can hurt? Or is she looking for her family and/or a person to blame? Motivation in a character is important and a villain needs a purpose for their actions, a reason why they act as they do but I think you’ve touched on the character's loneliness in her reaction to the Queen's kindness. The Queen can be the catalyst for the child to look inside and perhaps change, or not. That is up to the author, which way the friendship will go. At this point in your story the emotions are at the surface, maybe the child can leave the Queen’s kingdom, being uncomfortable with the tears and feelings, to recoup her strength. Finding a refuge outside the kingdom where she can reflect on why she cried, and there you can show some of the background to her story in her thoughts .It's a Great start…keep going.
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There's a lot going on in
There's a lot going on in this scene. You're establishing the relationship between Queen V and Leslie, you're giving us information about Leslie's motives, you're also establishing place. That's a lot for a reader to take in. I'm also not sure exactly what you mean by 'feeling'. Do you mean Leslie's own feelings, or the tension between them and the contrast between their approaches? I think the reader needs to get to know a character quite well before they can pick up the signals that the character gives about what they're feeling. Have you written all of the story, or are you still working your way through? If the latter,I wouldn't worry too much about the technique at all at this point. Concentrate on writing your way into the characters, get swept up in who they are and what they feel, write anything that comes to mind about them and their situation. When you've finished your first draft, you'll know a lot more about your characters, and how you want each scene to function in their story. If you've finished the story, look at how your characters have expressed emotion all through, and focus on the characteristics that convey exactly what you want them to say in each scene. Don't worry about being 'cringy' as you write. When you go back and edit it, you'll soon know if it's too much.
I agree with Penny, you've got a really good idea going here. Stick with it!
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