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How to Make Gift Exchange Flow (1 Viewer)

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thethreetearedeye

Senior Member
I'm looking for advice on how to write a scene in which several presents are being exchanged. Their are four characters giving and receiving gifts, and I'm having trouble finding a way that isn't grating to read. What do you all think would work best?
(Assume P1 and etc are stand-ins for names, and "gifts" are provided in detail in the examples)

Example 1:p1 got gift from P2, got gift from P3, and gift from P4.
This is the lamest and worst in my opinion. Just listing off what was received.

Example 2: From P1, P2 received gift, and from P3 a gift.
I feel that this works better, but I'm uncertain of the flow.

Example 3: P1 gave P2 gift, and received a gift from P3 as well.
Problem with this is the same as example 2.

In the story, the gifts of P4 can be withheld till the end, so I suppose the focus can really be placed on P1, 2, and 3.
Any advice on how to make gift exchanging better or not boring would be appreciated.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
I'm looking for advice on how to write a scene in which several presents are being exchanged. Their are four characters giving and receiving gifts, and I'm having trouble finding a way that isn't grating to read. What do you all think would work best?
(Assume P1 and etc are stand-ins for names, and "gifts" are provided in detail in the examples)

Example 1:p1 got gift from P2, got gift from P3, and gift from P4.
This is the lamest and worst in my opinion. Just listing off what was received.

Example 2: From P1, P2 received gift, and from P3 a gift.
I feel that this works better, but I'm uncertain of the flow.

Example 3: P1 gave P2 gift, and received a gift from P3 as well.
Problem with this is the same as example 2.

In the story, the gifts of P4 can be withheld till the end, so I suppose the focus can really be placed on P1, 2, and 3.
Any advice on how to make gift exchanging better or not boring would be appreciated.


Why not - quite literally - make a scene of it. Don't try and put it all into one sentence; instead, marionette the characters about, giving their gifts. Make something narrative out of it. Load it. Charge it with emotion. I often liken such things to the business-card scene in American Psycho, where something ludicrously mundane is afforded immense social weight.


P1 enters the room. There's no announcement, but she desperately wants one, probably imagines a fanfare too. "Ah!" she cries, fluttering over to P2, dispensing pecks-on-the-cheek. Her gift - an elaborate flounce in a monstrosity of pearl ribbon - commands immediate attention. We're waiting. What pronouncement will P2 favour us with as she contemplates the wrapping?

Across the room, beside the authentic Cotswold dresser, P3 attempts to hide their tiny box. It's a poor effort all round, and I watch P4 pretend not to be offended. The moment's only saving grace is that no-one else has noticed it.


^ just a silly example to illustrate what I mean and hopefully give you food for thought.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
I thought something similar.

Taking off her glove P2 rooted through her bottomless bag until she found a carefully wrapped box that she presented to P1 with a small flourish. "Oh" said P3 and nipped out to the car for ...

And so on and so forth. I don't see how you can avoid some sort of order, unless they conspire and all whip out their presents from behind their backs at the same moment "De Dah!"
 

TheManx

Senior Member
Have these characters been introduced into the story, do they have names? (I'm betting the answer to both questions is yes.:))

Do they have any memorable traits -- do they behave in certain ways that will affect the scene?

How is anyone going to answer this in a way that could be meaningful without any kind of context?

P1 and P2? Really? :) Come on.

Why don't you just write it and see what happens?
 
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