Trope Talk: Uncomfortable Dinner Conversations

So, as I work on The Unnamed Romance Novel Project, I realized that as a writer, I have tropes that are always going to show up in my books, regardless of genre. And one of those tropes, probably the one I use most consistently, is the “Uncomfortable Dinner Conversation.”

We all have some image already in our mind. We’ve probably been at one, and whether we were part of the drama that made things awkward or were just enjoying it with our meal, it always leaves us feeling somewhere between awkward and dirty.

As a few examples, in Liam’s Doom, Sam is having breakfast one morning while working on a case when her estranged father makes an appearance at the B&B where she’s staying. That one was fun to write, as I got to use her actions (slicing the tip of the sausage off with one stroke of her knife) to convey more about her emotional state when seeing him (and his belief that he should be obeyed without question), than the words they spoke, and even those words were filled with anger, bitterness, and spite. In Carmilla’s Ghost, the uncomfortable conversation occurs after Sam and Carmilla have a huge fight and have gone days without speaking to each other. At dinner, they speak around and near each other but not to each other. It was a challenge, as I wanted to convey both anger and hurt as well as longing and desire. I won’t talk about It Hungers or Crossroad Blues yet, as those books haven’t been released

Now, for The Unnamed Romance Novel Project, the uncomfortable dinner scene is a first date. So, I’m trying to balance writing a cute, romantic scene with all the awkwardness and nervousness that we (or at least I) feel on a first date. There is a similar situation in Blood/Lust, which details Sam and Carmilla’s initial meeting. I won’t spoil that for those who are curious.

But that’s a motif I use frequently. For the longest time, I wondered why. I hate awkward and uncomfortable dinner conversations. I tend to shrink beneath the table and try to duck out without being noticed. And yet, here I am, forcing all my main characters to suffer that which traumatizes me. I’m cruel like that to them.

There’s no deep, philosophical point to make here. This is just something I’ve started noticing as I write.

Writers? What tropes and/or recurring scenes do you put in your novels?

Promotional Hype

My debut novel, Liam’s Doom, is on sale at all major and minor retail outlets from Amazon to Barnes & Noble to Bookshop.org. I request that you support Bookshop.org, as their site supports local and independent bookstores. The eBook is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and through my webstore.

Carmilla’s Ghost is now on sale. The paperback version is available all major online retailers, including AmazonBookshop.org and at Barnes & Noble. Currently, eBook pre-orders are only available at Amazon and through my webstore.

It Hungers (formerly Stone Cold), the third book in the series is currently available for pre-order as an ebook on Amazon. Paperback preorders go through my website and will all be autographed! The book will officially release on 3 May 2022.

My prequel novel, Blood/Lust is also available as an Amazon exclusive. Starting this Sunday, Blood/Lust will be free to purchase on Kindle for five days!