1. Merlin
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    Merlin Member

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    Lack of Ideas (or the return of the writer's block)

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Merlin, Sep 19, 2011.

    Okay, picture this. You're on your first day to college, and you step on a bus with about twenty-odd people inside. Outside it is raining. Due to the bus being full, you're forced to sit down next to somebody who you don't know but is in your year.

    Midway towards College, the bus lights begin to flicker, before dying completely. And then, you're knocked unconscious.

    When you awake, you find yourself in a different room with the twenty other people, with no way of getting out of the room at the moment. How would someone about sixteen years old react to this?

    I need possible reactions for a variety of males and for a variety of females if that helps. Bearing in mind, they're sixteen and on their first day at college, and just find themselves waking up in a room where they have no way of contacting the outside world.

    (And yes, I know this is similar to the thread in the Research forum, but thanks in advance for your help anyways).
     
  2. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Terror would be a good place to start. Confusion, maybe even disbelief. Of course, if they're just in a dingy room, it might not be so bad. But it'd be safe to assume that people would be crying and scared and such.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not sure I understand questions like this. You're the writer; you're the one who should be telling US how your characters react. I'm pretty sure there would be a variety of reactions, but YOU should be the one telling US. You should not be the one asking us. Writers should be the ones who create characters and their situations, not the ones wondering about them.

    Write your story well. Write your characters well. Then you will convince us of how they would react in the situation you've given them.
     
  4. Hawwyboo
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    Hawwyboo Member

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    It's difficult to know exactly how anyone would react in a situation like this, but I'd stay away from the sudden group panic that might seem the obvious reaction. Personally I think I would take a while to work out whether or not I was dreaming, or whether I had been dreaming on the bus, or I'd feel as though I'd simply forgotten what I was doing there and how I got there. I wouldn't wake up and suddenly scream "shit, where's the bus gone?" I don't know about everyone else, but when I wake up it doesn't immediately occur to me that I am in my bed, and if I wake up somewhere else it won't immediately occur to me that I am not in my bed.

    Of course, this state of mind probably wouldn't last long. Once everyone's mind clears I suspect there would be some people panicking and searching desperately for ways out, and a couple might be calm enough to try and get everyone to co-operate to work out what's going on, how to escape, etc. Most people probably think of themselves as belonging to the latter group, but few actually do. Personally I'm pretty sure I'd panic, but in a 'rabbit caught in the spotlights' sort of way; I'd basically just go into my own little bubble until some big change occurs in my surroundings.

    As far as genders go, I don't think it really makes that much difference, though stereotypically I guess girls would be more likely to either collapse into a nervous wreck or go about comforting people, while the guys would squabble among themselves debating on what's going on and how to get out, etc. But I'd avoid actively using these sorts of stereotypes as there isn't really any fundamental psychological difference between men and women.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with minstrel. I also think it depends on what kind of story you want to write. Is it horror? Mystery? Fantasy? Comedy?
     
  6. Marranda
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    Marranda Senior Member

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    I agree with Tesoro, and only to a degree with Minstrel. Yes, you as the writer need to come up with your own characterization of the scenario, but like your title suggests, you've worked yourself into somewhat of a writer's block (or what I like to call a dried out writers lake, because 'block' reminds me of the kitchen and so forth on that train of thought...) You're looking for inspiration to rehydrate that lake of creativity, right? So, thus, why I only partially agree with Minstrel.
    You do need to explain where you want the story to go if you're looking to get your writing juices flowing, so please answer Tesoro's questions :)

    In my off-the-bat response, and if I were in your shoes, I would list the people (names or numbers, whichever works fine) with a brief description of who they are (male/female, average/beautiful/ugly, age, tax bracket [lower-middle class/upper class, etc], and etc.) Then with each 'person', step into their shoes and assume their 'life' and go from there.

    Example:
    A 40 year old white male, married or divorced, has kids. His first thought would be about how to get out of there because he wants to be with his children. Or his first thought might be about how missing class is going to keep him from recieving his grant money and his first concern is a financial issue while he completely disregards the fact he's in a shabby room with 19 other college-goers.

    An 18 year old prior high school cheerleader still wearing her letterman jacket and high school class ring, might be the first to panic, or might be the first to try and calm everyone down. Does she know gymnastics? Can she monkey her way up that random pipe into the overhead vents and help try and get everyone out?

    Do you see where I'm going with this? Step into each of the 20's shoes, and write what they feel. If it helps, close the blinds at your window, and have a friend/roommate/spouse block your bedroom door (or wherever it is you write best), and try to enact your 20 character's actions/reaction to the envisioned scenario. But first and foremost: Where do you want this to go? Is it going to be like the Saw movies where everyone is given a chance to redeem themselves and given a second chance or else are killed for outright selfishness? Or is it going to be like a labrinth where they eventually get out but find themselves in a massive, impossible to navigate maze?
     
  7. Gracia Bee
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    Gracia Bee Member

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    Confusion at first. Maybe a little nervous. depending on what their reply to the question "Where the hell am I?", either terror, more confusion or another emotion.
     
  8. Merlin
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    Merlin Member

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    Thanks for your help guys, and for the Genre, it's science fiction for now.
     
  9. Toxic Black
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    Toxic Black Member

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    Fear, panic, confusion, frustration.. And I think with 16 year olds these heightened emotions would spreak like wildfire throughout the group.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'd need more info in order to give you an opinion:

    how are these kids going to college at only 16?... the normal age is for freshmen 18...
    what kind of bus is it?... a city bus?
    if so, there would be passengers of all ages/walks of life on it, plus the driver...
    college kids don't get delivered via school bus, they have to get there on their own...
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Hang out with college freshman, if possible and not creepy. That is the best way to know characters in your demographic.

    From there, it is up to you to decide how they will react, each one individually, and to make the reader believe.

    Much as I may dislike Stephen King in many ways, this is one thing he does pretty well. You may feel his characters are extreme, but most of them are believable despite their extreme nature. He is a decent observer of human nature.
     
  12. Merlin
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    Merlin Member

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    Thanks for your help guys. My story's based in England by the way, and we to College at 16. It helps that I'm a freshman myself, so yeah. I haven't read any of Stephen King's novels outside the first two Dark Towers, but yeah - I'll look into some of his other work as well.
     
  13. echughtai
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    echughtai New Member

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    college in the uk is from 16-19 onwards, some people go to college when they have left compulsory education at sixteen to either do a-levels, btec vocational courses or NVQs or they stay on at school till they are 18.
     

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