Who Would Do What?

I recently spent a day at a theme park. It was hot, fun and full of a wide range of emotions. A fun little writing exercise I thought of while waiting in line for a ride has sparked today’s post.  My imagination run’s wild at times.

I like to think a lot about characters and how each behaves differently from the other. How would they react in certain situations?

More importantly, how would each character act if put in the same situation. It would be erroneous to believe they would act the same or all act the way I would have behaved.

I want to make sure I keep my characters individual as possible. That doesn’t mean that they can’t react the same, but that some would not. So how does that work? How can I keep enough variety?

I’ll start by setting up the scenario so you don’t have to read it over and over.

It’s a hot sunny day at a loud and overly busy theme park. The line up to get on to a popular ride is at least an hour-long. There is no shade and irritability is a common sound among parents hissing ‘stop’ at their children.

This particular ride is terrifyingly tall and raises the riders to the top to drop them quickly. Every time I looked up at it some would grit their teeth, some would pale while others would become excited and some nervous.  It has six sets of four seats in a row. Groups of people vary in size.  The excited and relieved people corralled in the staging gates are let into the area to find seating. A lone rider sits leaving a single seat open on a row of three unbeknownst to him. A family of four wants to ride together but there is only the single seat on one side and the three empty beside the single rider on the opposite side.

Example 1

“Excuse me, sir. Would you mind moving to the single seat on the other side so we can ride together?” The father asked.
“Oh, yeah sure. I didn’t realize there was an empty seat.” He said getting up to move.
“Thanks, man.” The father smiled. 
“No Problem.”

Example 2

“Excuse me, sir. Would you mind moving to the single seat on the other side so we can ride together?” The father asked.
The man threw his eyes up to the sky. “Fine. Even though I just freaking sat down and buckled in.” He said begrudgingly.
“I appreciate it man, thanks.”
“Sure whatever.” The man stalked off to the other side to sit.

Example 3

“Excuse me, sir. Would you mind moving to the single seat on the other side so we can ride together?” The father asked.
“I do.”
“It would be nice.” The father prompted. “We’d like to sit together.”
“Not my problem.” The man ignored the protests of the children for the separation.

Example 4

“Excuse me, sir. Would you mind moving to the single seat on the other side so we can ride together?” The father asked.
“Piss off.”
The tired family separated unhappily yet silently.

With each example, I had the single rider’s response increase in hostility. There are infinite ways this could go. The father could involve the ride attendants. The man could involve the ride attendants. They could get physical and evicted from the park. The ride attendant could get physical with the belligerent single rider.  The family could have been lying about the one empty seat and the single rider would have to wait another turn. Karma could get either and the ride breakdown.

How a person responds is as important as how a person initiates.

Example 5

“Seriously? Come on man there’s a single seat on the other side. We want to ride together.” The father said frustrated.
The man looked at the Father, seeing he was tired from the long day…

Again the single rider can respond in any way from polite to outright rage. This would depend on who that person is on a basic level. Unless there are extenuating circumstances well foreshadowed I wouldn’t have someone kind and calm, tell the man to Piss off.

Assessing the possibilities of alternate outcomes can also lead to possibly a more interesting angle, change the story or direction completely or cement the readers’ feelings toward a specific character, which is very important to do. If a reader doesn’t care one way or the other they might just stop reading or complain about wasting their time.

My advice about exploring the possibilities.
It’s honestly a lot of fun and if you take the time to try you might find a better angle or even another angle for another story altogether.


Other reactive posts

What Do I Do About That?

What’s Your Story?

My Posts From The Start   

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8 thoughts on “Who Would Do What?

  1. I’d personally fall in the no problem category. However, having said that, knowing human nature and witnessing it at it’s best, I can definitely say I’ve seen some in the “piss off” category and some who would begrudgingly move. I loved how you wrote this. The difference in personality is very clear. It’s also rather fun to write a character who would normally move (after having the most horrid day possible) perhaps riding to escape fall into that category then hate themselves and the ride for doing so. smirk smirk. Great examples! :):)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Giving a character and ‘out of character’ moment can definitely lead to some fantastic guilt or even start them on the journey to change. FYI you’re most recent two comments landed in my spam. I marked you as not spam so hopefully, that doesn’t happen again.


      • I’ve been missing quite a few posts that show up days after comments were exchanged. I thought at first it was because of the new site. 100 views per day dropped to 10 to 20. It seems ppl are finding me again, slowly, but I’m wondering if there is something more going on. Not sure where to look first. This new site is confusing I find. Getting around more so. Thanks for letting me know. Appreciate your thoughtfulness indeed, Sheryl.

        Liked by 1 person

          • I used to have 100 views a day. Now I get 20 maybe as high as 50 so I guess that might explain why no one is visiting any more. I’ll have to check that out. I couldn’t contact anyone on reader either. I can now. I have a special setting, I’ll find out what it’s called, with you and a few others on it, dial something, and I copy your URL into it so I can click on you every day to check out your blog. That’s how I managed to maintain a few readers. Everyone else, I contacted through reader. The special ones I used on the dial whatever it is. Good thing too . I don’t have it on the tablet or I’d look it up now. I will nectar time on the comp. You can add any URL to it and have immediate contact and they are for me huge squares easily readable. Makes my life less comp,I cater and frustrating when trying to find you.☺ I,myself glad my son found it. I’ll have to mention it to Marilyn Armstrong since she has troubles with seeing. I’m really glad you explained this. There must be dozens of others with the same issue since many visit but when I Clive
            Ck on their name, I get 404 error or they don’t exist. That’s been going on forever hmmm long before the new site.

            Liked by 1 person

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