Some days ago I reached out to some of my beta readers for a kind of extended brainstorming session for a particular interesting scene of the novel I'm currently working on. The motif was "graduation ball".
My findings after having summarized and consolidated all of the notes were quite interesting. While there were some common themes like "dance" and "buffet" there were also associations that couldn't have been further from each other. I think that gave me the opportunity to take a better look into the whole scenario from a few different angles besides my own pretty romantic concept.
While quite some unpleasent associations came up (like excessive alcohol consumation and violence as well as physical pain and emotional stress) some of the participants seemed to share an equally or similarly romantic view of the whole ball idea.
At least two participants mentioned the opportunity of relationships changing during the ball night or new chances revealing themselves, often combined with the aforementioned dancing. Another popular idea was the introduction or familiarization of new faces during that social event.
Something that struck me as particularly sad was people losing their enthusiasm or joy about balls after having been on their own, where mostly working is very important and the aspect of just being glamorous and pretty is overstated when compared to reality. Mind you I'm not speaking from experience, since I had little to do on my own graduation ball.
Personally I'm looking forward to the ball as the scenario my characters are in requires them to wear uniforms most of the time. While I'll go back to writing in a short time I want to share a translated part of a conversation I had while explaining how I work.
Alex: I want a nice opportunity to display the ladies in dresses instead of uniforms.
Alex: a ball is the perfect chance for that
Alex: I've a quite vivid imagination about that. My actors are puppets that have to be dressed, styled and coached in order to play their parts in the novel
Alex: There's a puppet house in my head in which they're to play their roles
Alex: actually a damn huge puppet house - more like a puppet town.