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Sorry - one more question, this one about snooty parties (1 Viewer)

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I am the opposite of snooty and so have NO idea - but my MC will attend a highfalutin fancy pants party that celebrities and movie stars go to.

So, my question is:
Are these things a dinner, then hang around to talk affair, or do people just show up and drink champaign without dinner?

Sure sound dull to me, but my MC's gotta do it.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Hahaha... Well, the way I see it, there are a number of scenarios. There can be a sit down dinner. Often they are charity events and the guests pay $50,000 or so for the table. Proceeds go to a worthy cause. There is often an auction and silent auction that accompanies the event. They can also be stand-up affairs. In this case, servers would be circulating with trays of hors d'eouvers, such as beluga caviar, oysters, canapes, and other yummy things.

Just a thought, but wondering if you want to avoid any reverse snobbery. Or do you think that will appeal to your reader?

 
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indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
MC is new to the elite crowd of Silicon Valley, but he’s fitting in. He’s become a celebrity with a product that will revolutionize society, but the government want it under their control, if they got it they could literally control the minds of everyone.

MC knows they are after him but needs to save a cyber entity that is at the heart of the technology, and he wants the product to be used to better the lives of the disabled. So he’s attending a fancy party to promote his company.

So you’re saying just drinks and finger food. That will work.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
I am the opposite of snooty and so have NO idea - but my MC will attend a highfalutin fancy pants party that celebrities and movie stars go to.

So, my question is:
Are these things a dinner, then hang around to talk affair, or do people just show up and drink champaign without dinner?

Sure sound dull to me, but my MC's gotta do it.

Hmm, let me think of all the fancy dos I've been to. Okay, now that's done, my impression is that people at such things won't want to be seen as raging boozers or greedy, or in any way not in control of themselves, so drinks and food might take second place until later. To my mind, they're networking events, society galas - places to be seen and to make connections, places to show off a little and build your brand. Currency will take the form of the scathing put-down and the pinnacle of fashion, the turned-away shoulder and the weaponized commentary masquerading as subtle self-effacement. In other words, they are perfect drama devices.:)
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
MC is new to the elite crowd of Silicon Valley, but he’s fitting in. He’s become a celebrity with a product that will revolutionize society, but the government want it under their control, if they got it they could literally control the minds of everyone.

MC knows they are after him but needs to save a cyber entity that is at the heart of the technology, and he wants the product to be used to better the lives of the disabled. So he’s attending a fancy party to promote his company.

So you’re saying just drinks and finger food. That will work.

Yes, the stand up ones work well, because the characters can form different groups through out the night, so a great vehicle for dialogue. They likely would have small round bar-height cocktail tables to stand around. I just wrote one in my novel, and used it as an opportunity for characters to overhear snippets of conversations (foreshadowing), and briefly meet certain key people that cause trouble later on.

You might want to make the party revolve around something else. In my case it's a fashion show. For your story I could see the event being a product introduction. Perhaps there is as fun demonstration where the product is showcased in an amusing way.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
I am the opposite of snooty and so have NO idea - but my MC will attend a highfalutin fancy pants party that celebrities and movie stars go to.
I also am missing snoot experience except for movies and TV portraying the glitterati.

One question, what kind of event is this for? The reason I ask is that a charity gala is likely to be a little different than a political rubber-chicken dinner which is probably not going to bear a lot of resemblance to a Hollywood star or billionaire internet mogul's birthday party.

So if you could explain the type of fancypants required?
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I also am missing snoot experience except for movies and TV portraying the glitterati.

One question, what kind of event is this for? The reason I ask is that a charity gala is likely to be a little different than a political rubber-chicken dinner which is probably not going to bear a lot of resemblance to a Hollywood star or billionaire internet mogul's birthday party.

So if you could explain the type of fancypants required?

I'm in the early plotting stages, and haven't figured out what the party is about yet. It's midway through the story, and things are about to go south for the MC. He'll learn something about why the government wants control of his invention, and their failed history with the concept. He'll also gain insight as to what he's up against. So, I guess the party could be about anything. This is the first draft of the complete plot, so there are a ton of holes in it. I usually go through between 5 and 8 plots before I start in on the 1st draft of the story.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
Aha! Science & technology. I have seen parties celebrating the announcement of a new invention portrayed in fiction, I assume that this also exists in life. Having been in marketing probably the bigger the noise the better most of the time so even if the event isn't for his own invention it could be a similar sort of big party/lookit us/press conference only fancier event if you want.

I'd say if you go that direction you're probably looking for the strolling & sipping and waiters-with-trays-of-canapes sort of thing. I would imagine that would be before a speechifying in some setting or other. If there is a bigscreen media reveal then you might have them go into an auditorium for that. If it's for the unveiling of something big then they might have a showroom-y sort of space at corporate HQ or something. It really depends what the focus of the evening is.

Whether he likes it or not, he's got to dress up. Sorry, dude, no sweatpants today.

(I know you know that, indianroads, I just wanted you to feel the agony)
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Aha! Science & technology. I have seen parties celebrating the announcement of a new invention portrayed in fiction, I assume that this also exists in life. Having been in marketing probably the bigger the noise the better most of the time so even if the event isn't for his own invention it could be a similar sort of big party/lookit us/press conference only fancier event if you want.

I'd say if you go that direction you're probably looking for the strolling & sipping and waiters-with-trays-of-canapes sort of thing. I would imagine that would be before a speechifying in some setting or other. If there is a bigscreen media reveal then you might have them go into an auditorium for that. If it's for the unveiling of something big then they might have a showroom-y sort of space at corporate HQ or something. It really depends what the focus of the evening is.

Whether he likes it or not, he's got to dress up. Sorry, dude, no sweatpants today.

(I know you know that, indianroads, I just wanted you to feel the agony)

Personal backstory. I was an early employee of Cisco Systems - an internet company, that's a big deal in the SF bayarea (yes, that's how natives spell it). I met John Morgridge, and John Chambers several times - both pretty cool guys, even though Chambers came from Marketing. So this memory relates to your sweatpants comment.

I was in a meeting (way in the back) led by John Chambers, who was talking about the direction of the company. A guy near the front raised his hand and asked:
Cisco used to be a really casual place, but I'm seeing more and more people in the halls that are wearing suits; what's the deal with that? Are we losing our original culture?
Chambers answered (masterfully as usual):
The culture isn't changing, however we each should dress for credibility within our field. Say for instance that you work in Marketing; if you don't wear a suit you have no credibility. However, if you work in Engineering and wear a suit you have no credibility.

So yes, at this fancy-pants party, my MMC will bite the bullet and wear a suit. The FMC, who is a Project Manager at another company (she's a friend but they're not an item yet), will enjoy the primping and associated nonsense more than he does.
 

ehbowen

Senior Member
Reading Miss Manners will probably prove useful....

Disclaimer: I have little personal experience with the really highbrow circles. However, my resumé includes:
  • Crashing a reception thrown by a software company introducing a new top-of-the-line product.
  • Providing background music (as a member of the Bluejacket's Choir) for politicians and senior officers at a Palmer House reception.
  • Political banquets in my former capacity as a precinct chair in the local Republican party.
  • Time in the Green Room at Reagan's second Presidential inaugural gala and (the next night) at Bush's VP gala...got to meet Don Rickles, Mr. T., Ray Charles, and others.

Basically, you have three kinds of parties to choose from. There is Alcohol-First-and-Last, or the "cocktail party", normally used to rid oneself of six months worth of social obligations at one go. Think small cocktail tables, some canapés, and lots of participants throwing down as much booze as they can in a short time. Best to schedule these before or after the dinner hour, not during, or you'll find your guests eating the flower arrangements for sustenance. There is Alcohol-Most-But-Not-All, which generally features sit-down tables and more substantial canapés which one could make a light meal out of, although still no danger of confusing it with a real dinner. Think little roast beef finger sandwiches with horseradish, wine and cheese with crackers, fruit plates and veggies with dip, that sort of thing. The reception by the software company fell into this category. Finally, there is the dinner party, which generally starts around $125 a plate and goes north from there (as a fundraiser).

When it's a gathering for social obligations or (rarely!) genuine friendship, there will often be entertainment provided and often a dance floor with a deejay or live band. When the Bluejackets sang for the admirals and generals and politicians, though, we might as well have been part of the wallpaper...no one paid attention to us at all. But sometimes you'll have a party which resembles a lively wedding reception. If the gathering is for fundraising or other commercial purposes, such as selling software, entertainment is optional (rare in my limited experiences) but extensive speeches and presentations are obligatory.

Hope this helps, a little. Good luck!
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
The FMC, who is a Project Manager at another company (she's a friend but they're not an item yet), will enjoy the primping and associated nonsense more than he does.
Is she the FMC you've questioned about before? About outfits and cutting her hair? If so yeah she'll probably enjoy the opportunity to wear out the credit card and get everything perfect.
At a rough guess he won't get a word in sdgeways as they talk about themselves...
Not necessarily. The successful people I've met inspire those around them and make them feel valuable.
I'd have to agree in my limited experience and I personally enjoyed meeting successful people who are adroit conversationalists and have been surprised when I met successful boors. I was not high up on the hierarchy from my company so any boorishness was immediately in evidence - I wasn't someone that person had to impress so they didn't bother.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Is she the FMC you've questioned about before? About outfits and cutting her hair? If so yeah she'll probably enjoy the opportunity to wear out the credit card and get everything perfect.

No. Very different women. The one that cuts her hair is in my WIP - just finished the second full edit of that novel and it's looking good.

I'm currently working on the outline of another novel - inspired by Taylor - that takes place in near-future Silicon Valley in California. The woman in this novel is much more down to earth. She works in engineering as a project manager. She's always like the MMC, but his stutter has made him extremely reticent. She has a BF that's kind of an @ss. MMC and her will hook up when he gains some self confidence.

I'd have to agree in my limited experience and I personally enjoyed meeting successful people who are adroit conversationalists and have been surprised when I met successful boors. I was not high up on the hierarchy from my company so any boorishness was immediately in evidence - I wasn't someone that person had to impress so they didn't bother.

Another John Chambers story, he's the CEO of Cisco Systems, a big deal internet company in Silicon Valley.

There was a 'Bring your Daughter to Work Day' and I brought my two girls along. Chambers hosted luncheons at all the buildings, where there were games etc. for the kids to play. Then he took questions. Before he did though, he said that although he has to answer to the Board of Directors, Customers, and Investors, the questions he got from kids were the most challenging to answer.

So, one little girl at the front raised her hand and was called on... and her question was: "You're not an engineer like my Daddy, so what do you DO anyway?"

Completely unruffled, Chambers went on to explain in simple terms, how companies are managed and told her how he fit in with all that - while giving full credit to everyone that worked for him.
 
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