A friend and I were discussing writing drama. Being amateur writers we couldn’t agree on what drama actually was. She considered it action and I proposed it was a mere conflict. We debated for a few hours before we agreed to have lunch at a local restaurant. As we ate I observed many other patrons in the restaurant. I began wondering what drama meant to each of them. What were they facing in their lives? What type of life did each led? Could they be characters in a story?
As my mind wandered so did my eyes. Sitting in the far corner of the restaurant was a young woman. She was seated by the window and was sitting all alone. Occasionally, I would see her look down at her watch. It was obvious that her luncheon companion was late. The wheels in my head started turning. Why was her companion late? Did something happen? Then it occurred to me drama was unfolding right in front of me. It wasn’t action or something that a quick glimpse would tell. Drama was in her thoughts, her fears, and it could be seen in her eyes. My friend disagreed. She felt drama had to be more active.
Getting into the car I was thinking about writing a story about the woman in the restaurant. A story about the worry, the fear and anxiety she was going through as her thoughts played out in her mind. I was so engulfed in my own thoughts that I pulled my vehicle right out in front of an oncoming car. DRAMA! In those few split seconds a million things raced through my head. I felt as if my heart had stopped and I believe I held my breath. Those few seconds with the vision of the car, the sound of the screeching tires and the anticipation of impact was a very dramatic moment. It was a quick moment of drama for us as it was for the other driver. Luckily, there was no impact and we all drove off safely.
Not only was drama present inside the restaurant, but outside as well. Drama is everywhere. It’s not only action; it’s so much more. My friend didn’t feel like debating the topic at the moment but later told me that the action is what caused the drama. In that situation I can agree with her, but I still think drama is much more. I think drama can exist in thoughts or emotions, and it’s up to the author to bring this drama to light.
Writers weren’t born best selling authors. So how does an author write drama? Draw from experience. Practice is the key. Write what you know.
Elaine Lemons is an author on a site for Creative Writing ( http://www.Writing.Com/ ). Visit her portfolio at http://www.writing.com/authors/october2002