Kaycee’s Outline: Family Reunion

Do you have a particular subject in mind for the scene and
time/location?
Could you do a family reunion, taking place in Oakland, CA in May.
.
-Will this be for your book/story? Who are the characters and what are
their names? And relationships?

-The main characters are a girl who just graduated from NYU majoring in dance, minoring in musical theatre, named Danielle Wright and Daveed Diggs who played in Hamilton. During the Broadway debut, they are developing feelings for each other and during the reunion they are a couple.


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Part One

    1. Describe the relationships and how people are gathering. Whether they are all loving or any animosities between characters.

»A. Are all of them related by blood or is there extended family that could potentially have romantic interest in a character because they are not related. Ex: A cousin of your cousin from their father’s side is not related to you. How are they coming together as one? What are they bringing and how are their moods? ?

I. Are there any words or phrases that would get under someone’s skin? Has the character not forgiven their sister yet? What is considered forbidden in the family to talk about, mention or even wear? Does random people such as friends that are not apart of the group join? How much of an impact do they have on the reunion?

II. Who acts as the mediator and who starts the arguments? Are there any physical fights and how does the family react? Anyone cheering them on or trying to break them up? Was this a long time coming? Does this happen every reunion and this is going to be the reunion where they make up for good? How are the characters expected to act? Reserved? Loud? Life of the party? If they come to the reunion acting differently people will notice and may ask questions.

III. How is the peace kept in the reunion ahead of time. Maybe John and Mark can’t sit together because ever since they were three they have been arguing. So it is made sure that they sit across the room from each other and there are even times where they may accidentally make an encounter but just ignore each other. If everyone is loving to each other then who sits with who? What friendships were made unbreakable? What about if two best friends haven’t seen each other in decades then do they still have the same bond as if they spoke to each other yesterday?
 
 

»B. Do they greet with peace or fake smiles? Does anyone make the situation awkward and if so, who makes it peaceful again? Is an ex-boyfriend now dating her sister? Or her father who left to the grocery store ten years ago finally decided to return after all these years? Is it because she is famous that he did?

I. Family reunions can either bring out the best in us or the worst and family tend to show the true colors around each other. With that said, if the character is usually laid back and easy-going maybe at the reunion they are. It could be because someone is stressing them out or because they feel more alive when they are at a family. And visa versa for a character is is excitable usually but maybe around family they are more reserved.

II. Is anyone facing problems in the everyday life and do they leave it at the door before coming to the reunion or do they drag in their misery and sadness? If they lost a job do they come in the reunion ready to tell everyone about their bad day, having a sad look on their face? Or maybe they leave it at the door before entering. It could be because they do no want anyone to know what is wrong. Well, if that is the case then maybe have someone like a wise older aunt or grandparent who can tell something is wrong with the character… even when no one else can. Almost like a special connection.
 

Part Two

    1. What activities, food and resources such as electricity, outlets and refrigeration is at the reunion?

»A. Maybe the ice cream is melting or flies are sitting on the food so they have to shoo them away every five seconds. These quirks add life to the scene. It also brings the reader in because it adds “breaks” to the plot. Let’s say the scene has a lot of drama then writing about how uncle John continuously whacking flies left and right can lighten the mood of the story. Or maybe it can be symbolic. Such as the ice cream melting while the atmosphere around the family grows increasingly stale. And let’s say there is no outlet to plugin a radio. Then maybe they all start singing and dancing to together to create entertainment.

I. Activities can include but are not limited to: Bringing old pictures from that time in their lives, like old class pictures and pictures they all took of each other from when they were in class together or growing up.

What did they do when they were together? Did they play kickball? Then they could have a kickball game? Trade stickers? Have them use a sticker book or a foam board of stickers, what games did they play at home, plan on playing some of those games at the party, A round or two of those games would bring back old memories. Play tag, Simon says.

Did they have a yearbook? Bring it to the party and have them go through it. Were there any videos from plays etc, the guests could bring them. Were there any talent shows that anyone did, ask them to re-enact what they did at the show.

Play music that was popular at that time. They can even try and dress that way.

Make a time capsule, which they could open at a future reunion. Also, have everyone write a “prediction” for everyone else, and include that in there (i.e. how many kids they’ll have, what they will be, etc)

Jumpers for kids

II. Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Ribs…with homemade potato, macaroni salads, coleslaw, and homemade baked beans. Grilling, fire pits, ice makers, cotton candy spinners.
All fixed on the grill:
Brats
Hotdogs
Hamburgers

Other items can be brought:
Fried Chicken,Potato salad,Marinated Veggie Salad,Baked Beans,Slaw,Mixed fruit/melon,Dips/chips,Deviled eggs,Mac & Cheese,Veggies,Cheese,Hamburger/hotdog buns,Chopped onions/relish/mayo/mustard/pickle…,variety of drinks/colas & water/tea,Desserts/pies/cakes/cupcakes/cookies/c…,Miscellaneous others.

Paper plates/large & small/heavy sturdy (some not so sturdy for chips/dips snacking)
napkins/paper towels
Plastic ware/cups
Foil/wet ones
First-aid kits/some one usually always had some kind of aspirin/tylenol/tums…etc.etc.
Cooking utensils for grill/serving utensils for all the foods
Charcoal/lighter fluids/ water-spray bottle/pot holder

Decorations/tape/tacks/nail/hammer

Radio/Lawn chairs/blankets/pillow

III.If you want you can throw in a food fight or prizes for the games being played.

 

»B. Give a thorough or brief description of the activities your characters are doing at the reunion, such as games, dancing, sports, swimming, etc. Maybe there is a talent contest or old pictures are looked at. But make sure the activity reveals more character and gives the readers an idea of what to expect from the overall plot.

I. Is anything noticed in those pictures? Can someone not dance the way they used to? What is different or better about the activities? Does it help release stress or bring back terrible memories? Ex: A man fell while dancing with his brother as a child. It ruined his future and dancing the same dance makes him sad.

 
 
II. What is the character’s thoughts while doing these activities. How are they feeling and what is keeping them from doing something they desire in the activity, if at all. Ex: They want to do the splits but realize that they may not get back up because they are getting too old. So no they are thinking negative things about themselves and even though the activity was making them happy at first, now it’s not. Maybe it makes them anxious.

 

Part Three

    1. Bring up memories, important conversations, gossip, and/or arguments.

»A. What memories are shared, discussed, or forgotten by some and not others. What handshakes or songs were sung years ago? Is everyone still alive? Who has changed the most? For the worse or best?.

I. What is the mood of the family reunion? Is there any family therapies going on? Resolutions or forgiveness? Did someone assume something about a person but realize they were wrong after all this time? What songs are sung and why are they? Is it for someone who is no longer around? Does someone remember something different from someone else? How can they figure out who is right or wrong? Maybe a grandmother or cousin can set them straight.Conversations about health, living arrangements, abuse, love, school, anything is allowed at family reunions including sex, religion and politics. This does not mean everyone is peachy about the subject. Crude jokes can be made about things outside the family or even family members themselves. This may show how close the family is depending on who gets offended on not.
 

»B. Important conversations can be a mother telling her daughter a secret she’s wanted to share for ages. Or maybe a loved one asking for forgiveness for something they did in the past. What about gossip? Always juicy to listen to. Who is dating who? Who’s pregnant? Who is tattling on who? Anyone arguing? About what and why? Does anyone join in? Does it become a whole arguing fest?

I. You can either cover most all the characters conversations or a few. Make them entertaining for the reader and these conversations do not have to reveal much about the plot rather than how the family is together. Also, how does the main characters react to what is happening at the reunion. Are they joining in or maintaining their distance? Give details about that pregnancy or that awful job Aunt Joy had. Have the character respond and have their significant other respond as well. How do they differ? One may be polite and try to seem interested in the conversation. The other may be blunt or walk away altogether. You decide.

 

**

Part Four

    1. Who’s coupled? What families have been created or broken up? How successful is the reunion turning out to be?

»A. What has the years done for these people and have they all kept in touch. Some will note what is different about their loved one and say it out loud or ask person in private. What problems are there in the individual families? Maybe a marriage looks perfect but really isn’t. The man/woman had been silent about it for all these years but wants to tell someone. Who do they decided to tell? That was just an example but try coming up with a scenario where the family would think it’s odd or unusual for a problem to even be there.

I. There could be someone who looks sick and is waiting for someone to ask how they are doing. Does your character notice this? And if so, do they go ask how the person is doing? Does grandma still look sad even though grandpa died five years ago? Who seems to care the most and do they care genuinely or do they want something? How do they approach their loved ones? Who is the bad cookie in the family?

II. Do people look bored? Are people on their phones? How is their body language or their attitudes? Are people mixing in together? The old and young? The educated and non-educated? The rich and poorer part of the family? Or is it like high school and everyone has their on clique? Maybe they all only came for one person and promised to ‘play nice’ just for the reunion.

 

»B. Does everything go as planned? Does anyone get injured? Is love in the air for those two characters who are NOT related? Does anyone leave early?

I. There could be as much or as little drama as you want there to be. But remember, these are your character’s family members. There is an extra feel or love or pain if they are hurt by these people. How does the reunion shape the relationship they are in? Does it make them closer or draws them apart? Does the other character not like the family or get along with them? Maybe there is only one person that hates their guts? How do they deal with it? Leave it alone or tries to get the person to like them?

II. How does the family embarrass the character? Any funny stories, photos from the past about childhood or exes? How about dancing or singing or burping and farting? How much class does the family have in front of the guest and do they even care or change their ways because he/she is there? Does the family force the character or their partner to break out of their shell? How? Does Aunt Joy dance with your character’s boyfriend? Does Grandpa Lee tell loud, obnoxious stories (most likely lies) of how he was captured in war and the sole survivor of his team? Does the sister ask inappropriate questions or questions that can make the main character look bad? Is this all done on purpose for payback?
 
 

**

Part Five

    1. As people start to leave, what is said? What physical interactions are made or what presents are given? Was this reunion ultimately regretful or successful?

»A. How does your main characters walk away from the scene? Improved, worse off or content with life whether the reunion was good or not??

I. What are they wanting to say to their partner right when they are alone? What questions do they leave with? What is answered? What mood are they in and is it written all over their face? Is their partner aware they feel that way? Does it change their mind about the relationship?


II. Was anyone injured? How stable or unstable are the relationships after? Is everyone leaving with the same person? What is said? Who has the last word? Any hugs or cheek kisses given?

III. How does the character feel complete after attending the reunion. Have they always wanted to go to see their long lost cousin and now that they have their life is complete? Did they tell the family they are gay and have been holding it in for years. Now they feel complete? Do they plan on dropping out of school and joining the army but know everyone was going to hate it but didn’t care. They were just happy to finally get it off their chest? If so, how do they feel complete and what is show through body language. A deep breath out? A lowering of the head and closing of the eyes as if in meditation? A sharp smile of content?
 
 

 

 

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