Teens/preteens clustered in groups at the edge of the dance floor, some kids dancing wildly in the middle showing off moves & goofing off, scattered loners or pairs leaning against the walls, wanting to be part of the fun but too shy or unsure to move away from..
Loud music, deep base thumping off the walls, people shouting to be heard, laughter, feedback from a mike, the DJ making announcements, a crinkly chip bag, the hiss of a pop can tab popping, girls gossiping, teachers handing out verbal warnings…
Hairspray, too much perfume/cologne, hair products, scented lip gloss, sweat, BO, taco chip breath, possibly a skunky pot smell, stale cigarette smells & booze breath.
Water/juice/pop/punch as provided by the school or canteen club, liquor snuck in, chips, chocolate bars, snacks or pizza as provided by the event coordinators…
Grabbing onto a friend’s arm, jostling/bumping/nudging while dancing, toes stepped on, slinging arm around another’s shoulders, holding hands, fingers nervously plucking at clothes, sweaty palms, fiddling with bracelets, pulling out a phone to text, hugging, arms…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: I peered out from behind a cluster of girls as Mark made his way over Clarissa and her friends. With the loud drum solo blasting out the speakers, he had to lean right up to her to deliver my message. He probably had to shout in her ear too, which I kind of felt bad about, but from the way she covered her face and bolted for the bathroom the minute he turned away, she obviously understood that I was breaking up with her…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile) Kids bounced and bobbed in time with the music like fizz from a glass of pop…
Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.
Angela Ackerman says
The online Emotion Thesaurus is in no means complete, more a sample. We are creating a complete and enhanced printed version, however.
surprised not to find *humiliation* in the emotion thesaurus…
Ahhh! This is so neat. I followed a link here from another blog you posted on and seriously… my mind is blown. Such a great idea!
I’m tempted to go write a dance scene just to see what I can make of it.
Becca Puglisi says
I was no dancer in middle school. My first dance was junior prom, so if I ever had to write about a junior high dance, I’d have no idea. That’s what I love about these entries. You don’t have to have been there to write like you know what you’re talking about :).
Susanne Drazic says
Oh, my. This brings back some memories from long ago!
Elle Strauss says
Sounds like you’ve been to a school dance or two 🙂 Thanks for this!
Laura Pauling says
Great timing. My daughter was just at a middle school dance/activity night – last night! They have the cafeteria for dancing and the activities over in they gym so the kids have option. My daughter noticed there is a definite difference b/t the 6th and 8th graders. 6th graders dance awk. not close at all. In groups, they just jump up and down with the occasional goofball boy spinning on his head! Great job! And so far this year, Stairway to Heaven has played every single time!
“raccoon-eyed girl who was spurned or dumped”
This made me want to write something about teens right now! LOL
Thanks! I love it here =)
Great choice for setting today. There is a middle school dance in my current WIP.
Angela Ackerman says
Good add Bish–I’ll put it in. 🙂 Glad this helps, everyone!
Traci Kenworth says
I needed this!! Thanks!!
Charmaine Clancy says
great lists of inspiration 🙂
Bish Denham says
Very good! I might add one sight…a girl or two (or boys) who are the wallflowers, the shy ones, standing off by them, hoping to be seen and not seen at the same time.