As a writer, I like to work with assumptions that readers may have. It’s sorta like a red herring, where we assume one thing, but witness a completely different outcome. For example, a geeky-looking guy walks into a bar full of beautiful women and gorgeous hunks. We’ll call him Geek. He approaches an amazing blonde standing at the bar wearing a skintight dress that reveals her dedication to CrossFit. We’ll call her Blondie. I know, these are creative names.
The audience assumes the geek will buy her a drink, trip over his words trying to start a conversation, and then crash and burn when he asks for her number.
Geek doesn’t offer to buy her a drink, but tells the barkeep he wants a Hefeweizen. “Hi,” he says. “My name is Geek.”
“Hey,” Blondie says. “I’m Blondie.” (I know, masterful storytelling here.)
Geek looks her up and down. “I love that color. Your dress. I’ve been looking for a cool color to paint my den in.”
Blondie laughs. “Oh my God. I bought this at a second-hand store. Never in a million years would I go into a place like that. But something called to me, and I went inside.”
Geek smiles. “So I guess you’re high maintenance?”
“Definitely. Be scared, Geek.”
"I totally am," Geek says and play-pushes her away. “At least you’re secure enough to admit the truth.”
At this point, the audience is amazed that Geek has fared this well. I am, and I’m writing this stuff!
Outside, a loud motor revs as the valet taps his sneaker, waiting for the driver to open the Ferrari car door. Like floodlights turning to shine on the main act of a rock concert, the door lifts open, and Hunk steps out onto the concrete ground in his snakeskin shoes. To say that Hunk has a granite jaw and a superhero build would be like saying Superman is super.
Hunk makes his entrance into the bar and scans the patrons like a king would his subjects. His deep blue eyes catches sight of Blondie. Hunk struts over, leans on the bar next to her opposite of Geek. Hunk, however, doesn’t even acknowledge Geek as if Geek has a cloaking device making him invisible. Yes, he’s a geek, so that’s the simile I’m going with.
“You’re gorgeous. I’m Hunk."
“Hi, I’m Blondie."
The audience knows Geek has met his match and feels that Blondie will go home with Hunk. I would, and I ain’t gay.
“What do you like to do for fun?” Hunk asks.
Hunk checks her out. “I think every woman is jealous of your body.”
Blondie smiles. “What about you?”
“I love to drive. I just ordered my third Ferrari. They’re amazing machines.”
“I meant, do you CrossFit?” Blondie says and leans back. “This is Geek.”
“Hey,” Geek says. “I love to drive too. My Jetta kicks ass. Most people think it’s a girl’s car. Psh. It is.”
“I’ve had to fight off many gay men,” Geek continues. “So, please, Hunk, I'm not gay."
Hunk narrows his eyes. “Can I buy you a drink?” Hunk asks Blondie.
“No, thanks,” Geek answers. “I’m a cheap date.” Hunk has a blank stare. “It means I can’t hold my alcohol."
“Thanks, Hunk,” Blondie jumps in, “but Geek and I were in a middle of a conversation."
BAM! The audience is enthralled at Geek’s success. Now, I know what you’re thinking. This is the best story ever. But, as I’ve tried to demonstrate both in dialogue and commentary, that leading the audience or reader one way, using their expectations against them, we can make the most mundane scene at least be somewhat more interesting.