1. J.W.Exeter
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    J.W.Exeter Member

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    How would you react?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by J.W.Exeter, Aug 12, 2014.

    Magic has just unfurled before your eyes, real, tangible, and impossible. Describe how you would react.

    Here's a very short excerpt from my current work:

    "Melina made it three quarters of the way in before she looked up and froze. Her breath caught in her throat, making a noise like a hiccup, and it felt like her heart skipped a beat."

    Feel free to be as descriptive as you like. Original entries and existing works are both welcome.
     
  2. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    I would literally smile and think, "impressive."

    I do not gasp, cry "oh my gosh," freeze, or have my heart skip a beat over anything. There may be a sight increase in heart rate over the excitement, but that is as my reaction would go so long as the magic does not directly affect me.
     
  3. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    whatever it was, I think I would ask "Can you do that again?"
     
  4. Chaos Inc.
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    Chaos Inc. Active Member

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    A huge smile would form over my face and my eyes would light up. After a loud and exuberant "Whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" I'd top it off with, "Where do I learn that?"
     
  5. J.W.Exeter
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    J.W.Exeter Member

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    Mmmm, so the general consensus thus far seems to lean towards fascination rather than fright.

    I more closely associate "Magic" with "supernatural", but I have characters who could definitely adopt this more optimistic approach.

    Keep em' coming =)
    Also, including both a "positive" and a "negative" reaction would really help in terms of perspective.
     
  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, when I watch a magic trick, I go like this: wide eyes, gaping mouth, just staring speechless and waiting for the next trick. And if the trick's finished, I'd ask, "How did you do that?" If the person's holding a prop, I'd ask, "Can I see that?" (or simply take it when they're not looking - propriety wouldn't stop me lol)
     
  7. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends on what kind of magic. If it was something like making an item float through the air, I'd be fascinated.. Wide eyes, possibly a smile or sitting down from the weight of knowing magic exists. But if it was something bigger like controlling the weather, I'd be frightened. Rapid heartbreak, anxious sweating, running away. lol

    It all depends on what I saw.
     
  8. Chaos Inc.
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    Chaos Inc. Active Member

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    Should also consider the result of the magic. If you're watching someone blow up something with their mind and its engulfed in a giant fireball, the reaction would be to the result. It's pretty much the same as watching a bomb go off. the magic at that point is something I'm no reacting to.
     
  9. J.W.Exeter
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    J.W.Exeter Member

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    Ok. So, based on your answers, I've decided to give some of you guys a bit more direction. So I've drafted up a short piece.

    "There's a slouching slim figure sitting on a low wooden stool at the far corner of the old barn. The dim noon-day light filters in through cracks in the rotting wooden paneling, forming shifting, foggy beams in the thick, dusty air.
    Movement catches your eye. You look down, only to notice how the shadow he casts on the floor is shimmering, waving, suddenly shifting like some amorphous thing. All the shadows in his vicinity come alive.
    Instinctively you take a step back. This isn't like anything you've seen before.
    A breeze sweeps in under the ruffles and laces of your dress, draining the warmth of your body like a leaky cup.
    The very air itself around the sitting figure darkened and dimmed; the shafts of light that reached him faded and disappeared.
    You want to turn around but you can't.
    The silver platter you're holding in your hands has a destination, and the task has been entrusted to you alone. You must serve dinner to this monstrosity."
     
  10. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nope. Nope, nope, nope. lol I don't care what my task was, I'd run. Ruunnnn away. Quickly.

    BUT, if I had to serve him, I would, respectfully and trying not to appear scared... THEN I'd run. :)
     
  11. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    I think I lean more toward the cynical and skeptical side of things so would probably be hovering somewhere between disbelief and awe, trying to quickly rationalize an explanation and when unable to find one, it'd probably change to confusion and/or trepidation.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    How would your character react? Different types of personalities would react differently - so what kinda person is your character?

    In response to your snippet - I'd be a bit creeped out, shivers perhaps, awe and wonder and wide eyes. I don't see why making shadows come alive makes the person a "monstrosity" - if anything, it makes him fascinating and powerful. Scary perhaps, but not a monstrosity.

    My reaction would also depend entirely on whether these living shadows can hurt me or not. If they're just flapping around, then it's fine. If they can curl around me and kill me, I'd be freaked out. Rooted to the spot, I suppose, and move forward with great difficulty, careful not to do anything at all that would offend him and thus give him reason to send those shadows after me, and then run for my life.
     
  13. J.W.Exeter
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    J.W.Exeter Member

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    @Mckk You bring up a lot of interesting points milk. (can I call you milk?)
    I was just interested in the general audiences opinion of how they would feel in the above situation. That way I can use my great trigonometry skills to triangulate a realistic personality for my character.
    I'm also just generally fascinated by people. The wide range of responses so far has been really eye opening. Having real, credible opinions from sources other than in my own head is instrumental to crafting a personality (and a whole character) that people other than me can relate with (more than usual)

    That being said, the piece I constructed was heavily derived from a story I'm currently working on.
    The MC identifies the figure as a monstrosity because of beforehand knowledge. She's been told he is evil incarnate.

    Also, I think some of you underestimate your own fear-responses. Have you ever seen a door creak open by itself in the middle of the night? The one you were just heading to?

    Or maybe that's just me. I dunno. That's why I created this thread. The pursuit of knowledge!

    So? Forwards and onwards my defrosted tuna team!
     
  14. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I saw a shadow pass over my head in my closet, and I about had a heart attack. lol And I love scary movies.. But scary in real life? Not so much.
     
  15. Lae
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    Lae Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd first wonder why the hell i'm wearing a dress. Then i guess i'd take a step back but my curiosity is often insatiable and i'd have to investigate, find out what's happening. Set the plate on the floor maybe, make him come out so i can see better.

    on the fear note, I often find myself in old buildings by myself late at night so my 'fear response' is a bit numb. I wouldnt run unless i felt my life was in immediate danger.
     
  16. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You're a funny guy :D "My defrosted tuna team" hehehehe. And "Milk" also amused me.

    You're probably right about people underestimating their own fear responses. I guess when I told you my reaction, I'm thinking more of seeing magic tricks on TV or on the streets - gaping and speechless really is my natural reaction to those.

    Personally I think I'd freeze. Unless, of course, I'd somehow prepared myself beforehand. For example, if I'd previously told myself, "If there's a fire, run like hell." And then one day I find myself in a fire, my reflex response would be to run like hell - it's become my natural response because I'd decided before the fact that that's the smart thing to do. So I guess it also depends if this character knew what she might be getting herself into - if she already knew he was evil incarnate, she might be expecting something strange and that would affect her response too. Because shocking though it is, it wouldn't take her completely by surprise.

    I didn't describe my feelings entirely - when I said creeped out, I was thinking a chill, shivers running down my spine, goosebumps, and an overwhelming desire to NOT find out what it is while at the same time drawing closer to find out.

    There was once, quite recently, I suddenly heard a series of loud banging. Sounded like someone banging on a door (we live in a block of flats) - but there was something off about it. I drew closer to the wall to listen to it more clearly while getting a little worried, but not too much so cus I still thought maybe it's just someone knocking on the neighbours.

    Then I heard screaming. Hoarse, horrific screaming and a young child wailing and then I heard the word: Pomoc. Means "Help" in Czech. At that moment, I had no feeling - I was numb and I just looked at my husband and I asked, "What's going on?" I was scared, but I didn't feel it. That's when my husband told me that someone's trapped in the elevator.

    It was a teen and a smaller boy, probably brothers, and they got out within an hour or so, so nothing much happened. I was quite freaked out after that and neither me nor my husband used the lift that day. I couldn't stop hearing the screaming for a day or so afterwards and I had an image in my head of the boy screaming and banging and - as with anything horrific - it's like my mind wanted to HOLD onto that image. I kept replaying it and shuddering and then telling myself, "Nothing actually happened. The boys are fine. Stop freaking yourself out."

    To give some context, I have a terrible fear of getting trapped anywhere. Sometimes I don't even lock the bathroom door in restaurants cus I'd rather someone walks in on me than to be trapped. So this particularly shook me.

    I know that's not a reaction to magic - but it was a reaction to something unknown that scared me. Perhaps that'd be more realistic for your purposes.

    Another time I thought I was trapped in a spiral staircase in the deep underground, I almost had a panic attack lol. However, the one time I was actually almost trapped in a lift, I didn't panic at all. I reasoned with myself on both occasions and my mind was fast considering every possible way of escaping (I have my phone, I can ring my husband, I can try the door, I can check what's getting it stuck, I can press the alarm bell, etc).
     
  17. J.W.Exeter
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    J.W.Exeter Member

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    This has actually been my favorite response =)
    Lea pretty much hit the nail on the head with how I had planned my character to react.

    Although, based on the majority of the responses I now think maybe my MC is a bit too scaredy-cat as well. I'll probably rewrite the segments I have worked out now.



    You make a lot of interesting points. The bit with the boys in the elevator especially so. It raises the question, How much of your fear-response is purely psychological? (rather than physically stimulated by the senses)

    I used to suffer panic attacks in my sleep when I was younger, so I'm no stranger to irrational fear.
     
  18. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd say it's almost entirely psychological. I have an irrational fear of spiders after getting scared by one when I was younger. That's gradually been changing as I sometimes stare at a spider and tell myself, "It's more scared of you than you are of it." And other things like, "It's fascinating. Look at how beautiful its colours are, how elegant its legs, how lovely the web it's making."

    And it's been helping. I'm not as bothered by them these days. I still don't like them and find the big ones scary, still can't stand tarantulas, but it's getting better.

    Fear is basically anticipation, isn't it, of something bad happening to you. Usually ingrained in you because your parents told you when you were younger that it could hurt you, or else because of one experience when you were physically harmed.
     
  19. Howard_B
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    Howard_B Active Member

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    OP I think you should write it the way YOU feel your character responds. You can't write by committee. For myself I have never encountered a hiccup as a response.
     
  20. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    What's the point? The reaction will vary depending upon the individual. If I take myself as an example, a reserved, intellectual with a natural bent for the esosteric I wouldn't be surprised or startled at all. I would have an internal dialogue something along the lines of I knew it!. Followed up with an intense determination to learn the secret of how to do it myself. I agree with the others that said the reaction has to follow from your own character's motivations and fears.

    What does Melina fear? What does she hope for? How does this revelation play into your psyche? Then you'll have your reaction.
     
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  21. J.W.Exeter
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    J.W.Exeter Member

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    I was chased and bitten by a dog when I was around 4 years old (had to get stitches, so I know it was of some severity. I still have the scar) , but growing up I still loved dogs, and I love them now.
    Unfortunately, I am not my character, and though I always use facets of my own being in the characters I create, still as much as possible I attempt to detach myself from them, mostly because I believe in the fundamental differences that exist between one person and another. Naturally, observing and studying others is an excellent way of creating impressions in your head of other people as different entities from yourself... Uh, it's a bit hard to explain it exactly. I hope you got it though.
    I also consider myself a reserved, intellectual with a bend towards the esoteric. In fact I believe a majority of male authors feel the same way.

    One night I was driving home from a friend's house. Now, this sounds fabricated, but it was indeed a very red moon, the closest to a blood moon I've ever seen living here in Canada.

    He lives in a combination industrial/agricultural area, but there is a railway that runs through it regularly, so it's by no means wild with animals, though occasionally coyotes are heard in the vicinity.

    Now, sitting pretty in my car, awe-struck by the moon, cruising patiently along the unlighted roads, I glanced back through my rear-view mirror and froze with horror, for a very brief time. My sweater in the back had looked like the head of a person sitting in the back seat. So I just laughed it off, heartbeat elevated, and focused on the road.

    It had the silhouette of a dog. It was standing sideways in the middle of the road, head to the right of its body (from my point of view), neck turned towards me and green orbs for eyes. I couldn't see any of its features. I don't remember a tail. But it was tall, it's body taller than the hood of my car, and it's neck was thick and unnaturally long. I don't remember how but it disappeared.

    I've seen plenty of deer since, and moose as well occasionally, but it didn't look like either of those. More like a dog, but not quite right.

    I like to tell myself it was probably an animal, or my own imagination. But I can't shake this doubt that knaws at me, stirs up my superstitions.

    And that's really it too. As I grow older I find myself becoming increasingly superstitious. I spent my adolescent years convinced there was nothing more to this world than what made sense. Nothing more than what other, reasonable-sounding people told me to be true.
    Now I'm not so sure anymore.

    I am certain of this. When I saw that weird animal thing, it wasn't fascination that gripped me. I wasn't curious. I was terrified.
    Curiosity came later when I was sitting safely at home.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  22. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You, as the writer, create the reader's reaction with what you write. You make the character dark and the setting ominous and readers will see dark magic. Make it less than credible and readers will guffaw. Make it questionable and the readers will wonder if it was a trick or real.
     
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  23. DPVP
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    DPVP Active Member

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    knowing me i whould want to take, capture, use the magic, as i try to figure out how to monetize it at the same time.
     
  24. Aanya
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    Aanya New Member

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    Very Interesting, I enjoy till the end always stand front line. Some time ask please show with me too :)
     

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