Most stories with party scenes I read usually go like this: the MC and best friend go to a party, the best friend goes to another room to get a drink, the MC sees the person who threw the party and talks to them for a bit, then they dance, then the MC gets a drink (but possibly before that, the MC’s drink gets drugged), then they go blackout drunk to where the next day, they wake up half naked in bed with a guy and can’t remember anything. How do I avoid this whole cliche party scene to where’s it’s actually fun to read? What if I include the MC is drunk and goes home with another guy that she actually knows, but she didn’t kiss him while she (and possibly him) was drunk? Would that still be cliche? What can I do?
Ok. This is similar w club scenes. Things to avoid: cliche party games where Li & mc r made to kiss (tbh past Highschool no one rlly does this anymore), try add food to the party (to make it more realistic), no drugging. It’s a v sensitive topic. If the mc was drugged then had sex w someone (even if that someone did not drug them) it’s a not probably consensual & then if that person is a Li, I think that’s rlly low of them for not noticing. However, if they’re both under the influence of alcohol, it’s different. Also, there’s nothing wrong w following a cliche briefly as long as it’s not problematic. Just write what u wanna write as long as it’s not too toxic or problematic. I hope this helps u ty for tagging!!
Hey! So I’m (unfortunately) all too familiar with frat parties. I tend to write party scenes from my experiences at these parties, and I’d be happy to share some with you over PM if you’d like.
Note: This applies to college parties.
Talking to the host:
I seriously didn’t know people actually do this. I wasn’t a partier in high school, but this really speaks to college parties depicted as if college is the same as high school, which is another rant I could go on.
College parties can be divided into a couple of different sections. You have your kickbacks, your frat parties/organization-related parties and your formals, etc.
Kickbacks are extremely small gatherings. Typically, these parties are BYOB. They might be held in a frat house or, most of them I’ve been to, have been held in someone’s overcrowded dorm room. These are super chill. Usually watching movies, listening to music, playing boardgames, etc. These parties are invite-only and typically don’t have a guest list. They’re like twenty people max. If it’s at a frat house, then you’d probably only get an invite from one of the brothers as a plus one. Drinking games at these parties will typically be smaller-scale things like ring of fire, ride the bus, never have I ever, truth or dare, etc. (Really anything can be made into a drinking game.) You may know the host in this case, but you wouldn’t have to go out of your way to find him/her. They probably invited everyone in the room. Attire is casual. I’ve worn pajamas to these.
Frat/organization-related parties are quite different. Typically, they have a guest list and you have to know someone to get in, which is never how it’s portrayed. Sometimes, especially as a female, you can get in if you’re pretty. These parties typically feel to max “cap” and once they get there, they won’t let anyone else in. These are the parties which “permanent lists” are associated with and these are the ones that sometimes get out of hand or get shutdown. Most frat parties have a theme (ex. togas, foam, wine night, etc.). Though you’re probably going just for the substances, there will be other things happening. Drinking games at these parties will be larger-scale things such as beer pong, rage cage, etc. Keg stands are sometimes a thing. At these parties, the host will probably be the whole organization or frat. You won’t know who the host is, necessarily. Sure, you can talk to whoever invited you, but this isn’t really a house party. One person isn’t hosting. This is organized. Clothing would be club attire or, as I affectionately like to call it, trashy night out.
Formals, etc. are organized. A lot of the time, clubs will be rented out to host and you’ll be screened for any substances before you enter. They’re usually associated with sororities or fraternities and you have to be on a very explicit invite list. Typically members can invite one or two people to go with them. You have to dress semi-formally or formally. If it’s a frat/sorority event, you may get a complimentary dinner out of the deal. On a larger scale, my university my freshman year rented out a museum for our formal and we were able to do flight simulations while wearing full-length gowns.
The difference between being drugged and getting high/drunk:
Being drugged does not make you more drunk. You don’t think to yourself oMg NoW i CaN pArTy FoR lOnGeR sOmEoNe GeT mE aNoThEr DrInK. You will not wind up sleeping someone consensually or of your own drunken volition. If you’ve had sex with someone while drugged, you were probably r*ped. I have been drugged at a party and a friend of mine had to carry me home. I don’t remember anything after nearly collapsing in a bathroom on campus. Another thing: if someone drugs you, it takes longer than 5 minutes for anything to happen. If you want to have your MC be drugged and the LI make a move, have him see she’s been drugged, not because she’s partying too much but because she’s not acting quite right, and take her home, tuck her into bed and have him stay to make sure she’s okay (because it doesn’t end when you tuck them in) or alert a roommate/family member/friend/doctor to her being there and potentially being drugged. He could also call the cops.
Taking drugs or being drunk is completely different. Some people use specific drugs just so that way they can have s*x. A lot of people take drugs at parties. They’re not being drugged. Yes, they can overdose, but it’s far more likely that they enjoy the rest of their night and deal with the consequences the following day. The same applies to alcohol. For the record, if someone is under the influence, they technically cannot give consent for any sort of intimacy. With that said, their mental state is altered of their own volition meaning that they’re probably enjoying whatever route they’ve gone down. Most people who get high/drunk aren’t getting high for the first time. An interesting thing you could do with that, though could be having the MC get drunk/take drugs for the first time and have a really horrible experience with it (vomiting, a bad trip, overdose, etc.) and the LI rescue her from that (hospital, staying with her during her bad trip, etc.). One thing I hate is when the LI, who at the time has no real connection to the MC, just decides that she’s had too much to drink. If she’s at a party, then clearly that’s the point and he needs to leave her alone because that’s called being annoying.
Going home with people:
Parties are extremely dangerous places. You could be drugged, you could overdose on something, you could blackout and forget everything that happened because you drank too much and wake up somewhere you don’t remember going to. More than that, the party could be shut down and you could wind up running from the cops before the end of the night. It’s not smart to go to a party alone, and most friend groups have rules in place that they come together/leave together. If your MC leaves with someone who did not come with her, that person should be alerted so that way they’re a) not looking for their friend and b) not left there alone, either. Anyone who just up and leaves a party without telling the people they came with is a low human being and it would be a horrible thing for any respectable MC to do. It can genuinely endanger the friends they came with.
I had another thing I was going to add then completely forgot what it was because I rambled for too long. As I said, any specific experiences/questions feel free to PM me.
I think! maybe the MC has a boyfriend, MC goes to the party and get’s drunk…a guy helps MC to get home, but MC ask him to stay, they didn’t make out, kiss anything sexual. But when MC boyfriend came to visit her bamb!?!
First off, to avoid being cliché, revert expectations. When the scene starts (MC and best friend go to a party), what does the reader expect will happen? You gave a great example of what readers expect, right? So do something completely different.
Second, I hope it’s a given but just in case anyone else is reading this and doesn’t know: please remove the whole drugging/blacking out part as that would be considered sexual assault, or at the very least it would be in that grey area. If you are going to write about sexual assault, you need a whole lot more tact, knowledge, research, experience, and it’s just a lot more work to do it right. So I would say if you’re just starting, just avoid this. But if you really want to include it, I can’t stop you, just include a trigger warning at the very least and a choice to skip those scenes.
Third, I’m not sure if I understood your question so I’ll answer the way I understood it and you can let me know if I’m on the right path or give me more context:
Personally, I’d still advise not going with that since when you’re intoxicated, you’re not able to make sober decisions (duh, thanks Ally…) and most people who were sexually assaulted were assaulted by someone they knew. Therefore, MC knowing the guy she’s going home with doesn’t change much regarding my second point.
I’d take this “party scene” opportunity to introduce what I propose we call “the 3 Es”:
Exposition: Show the relationships between the characters and their traits.
MC: How does she feel in this setting? Not everyone is comfortable in a party. Where is she likely to go? What is she likely to do? Think of yourself or people you know and how they act at parties in real life, not in the movies.
Best friend: How responsible is the best friend? How attached are they to the MC? Will they worry if MC goes home with someone while intoxicated? Are they likely to get drunk themselves to the point of not being able to make well thought-out decisions? What will they do when they see MC is potentially in danger?
“The guy”: Same as the best friend but also… What are his feelings towards the MC? How well do they know each other? Maybe introduce part of his own point of view, how does he feel at the party? Is he sober? Is he responsible? In which case, if he is taking care of a drunk MC, how does he do it? Does it annoy him? Is he very worried about her? Does he call a taxi? Or if they’re staying at the house where the party is happening, does he take care of her in the morning when she has a hangover? How do the best friend and him interact with each other? Is he trustworthy enough to the best friend that she’d let him take MC home? Most likely not, right?
Emotion: In your example, you give what you (and frankly many of us) expect from “the party scene” and usually, those scenes are devoid of any emotions. Where is the drama we all know always happens at parties? Where is the bonding between girls in bathrooms which happens a lot in clubs and parties, especially when we’re drunk? What happened to all your emotions being heightened because of the alcohol? The non-sensical crying, the overly affectionate moments, the drama and/or regret that ensues when you know you or someone else has said too much? What happened to the admitting to things you’d never admit to if you were sober? Think of all the funny, dumb, sad, or plain weird stories people have of that one time they got so drunk they…
Education: What to do in a situation when you or your friend is drunk and someone wants to go home with them.
How to possibly prevent getting roofied: never take your eyes off your drink or leave it unattended, never accept a drink that you aren’t 100% sure hasn’t been spiked, watch which bottle your drink is being poured from: was it already opened before?
Before you go to the party or get drunk: Is there anyone with you whom you can rely on if you’re intoxicated? Anyone you can call to come pick you up?
If you’re starting to feel drunk, is there someone sober you can rely on? Can they call a taxi for you? DON’T let them “give you a ride”, ask for a taxi. Is there a place you can go to and wait to sober up? If you’re still able to think a little straight, DON’T do what sober-you wouldn’t do. Don’t put your trust in someone who’s also intoxicated or that you are not absolutely certain is not going to take advantage of you.
And most importantly, if anything happens to the characters (refer to second point), never forget to educate the reader and let them know it. is. not. the. victim’s. fault. It’s good to know ways of prevention and protection from SA but no matter what, if something happens to you, it is not your fault.
Hope that helps! I’d love to give more opinions and ideas, feel free to PM me if you want and good luck~
Oh! Also! Important to note in “Education”: It is important to be careful about how you sleep (or your drunk friend, whoever, sleeps) when you’re drunk. Sleeping on your back, face towards the ceiling, can be a huge chocking hazard and can actually lead to death, since some people are too intoxicated and unconscious to realize that they’re throwing up and not breathing.
I do actually have a party scene in my story which is HS based but I can’t say I’m an experienced party go-er in real life hahaha the couple I’d been to in high school, people just stood or sat around drinking beer and talking. It was mostly chill. No one really danced at all but some people do dumb sh*t when drunk like one guy rode a children’s tricycle into the pool and ya know just random shit they could film and upload onto their insta and snap stories hahaha. But that’s just my limited experience and unfortunately I couldn’t try out uni parties or clubbing because of covid this year so LOL.
My scene just follows my MC who is kind of shy in big social settings as he/she goes to chat with his now friends about the whereabouts of the LI as they only came to have talk with her about something and she’s missing from the room. Whilst the background characters just sip drinks and chat amongst themselves. It doesn’t have to be anything big or crazy or detailed, especially if the party itself isn’t that important.