Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ahh! Not the Lunchroom Scene!

Recently I started reading over one of my WIPs I had put off and a few chapters in stumbled upon the dreaded cafeteria scene. Ahhh!! You know which scene I'm talking about. The one where your main character walks into the cafeteria and then gives a rundown of all of the cliques and where their designated area is. In my defense I started this WIP about three years ago and that was before I knew much about the YA book world. Now I can't even tell you how many times I have read a tweet or a blog from an agent that specifically points to this type of scene with a big red X through it. 

I've also read that it is not true and high school cafeterias are not set up this way. Um. This is where I disagree because my high school cafeteria followed this seating arrangement to a T. All the jocks sat together, the so called Goth’s all gathered at the same table, the trouble makers at another, the "Skaters" close by and then tables like mine where there was no defining characteristic among us but we didn't fall into the other categories. I'm not saying that there was no interaction with the other tables there definitely was, but every day for most of the period people sat with their cliques. So you can say it is cliché but for me it was reality.  

So I guess you can say I am on the fence about it. I can see both sides and I agree with both sides. On one hand it seems cliche to categorize students. But on the other isn't that how it really is? 

My WIP is about bullying and basically the hierarchy of high school and I feel like the cafeteria scene is important, especially since something big happens during it. I'm just thinking I may need to go about it a little differently. Kind of take the cliche to a different place. 

What do you think...Are the lunch scenes overdone? Did your high school cafeteria sit in cliques? If so what clique were you a part of? 


  1. In Canada it was a bit different or at least in my high school. The popular kids sat together regardless if they were jocks or not. The head bangeres(yes, we had those) sat together, the skaters, and then everyone else.

    I sat no where really. Um, yeah I stayed away from the cafetiere. I think the best thing to do is add a twist to the scene.

  2. Hmmm... this is a good question. I sat in the same place everyday and I would assume everyone else did too but I remember the people that sat with me varied depending on the day. I think that was because I was in the 'undefined group'.

    How to make the cafeteria scene different... I can't wait to read what you come up with :)

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