Here's the situation: A kid from a different race (literally different race, like think elven or dwarven) gets struck by an older human child (humans being the majority and causing much of the grief for that kid) who was clearly happy to do so for pleasure (bullying). The kid is tough and knocks the human down. The thing is, the bullying reminded the kid of her traumatic past (humans murdered her family) and it hurt her to see the same disdainful smile on the human boy's face. Where I'm stuck now is (not literally stuck, I'm still writing, I just don't know if this is specific part is what I want) whether she felt remorse immediately after doing so. She's not SLIGHTLY stronger than the older boy, she's much stronger (she'd been working out daily for a few years at this point). I intend for her to be emotionally stronger at this point (than she was immediately following the murders) and that it was the boy's recognizable grin that hurt her. The boy who attacked her was a complete stranger to her (he attacked her because he's the bullying type and she's from a minority). My first response was that she knocks him down then confronts him with anger and contempt (she IS still a kid after all (she's ten), but she's probably written a bit more intelligent than you'd find a ten year old), but then I got to thinking I don't want readers to find her cold. Personally? I've read of remorseful characters in other novels and I've never liked that section because I felt it was unrealistic. There was a section in a novel called codex alera (the second book I think....also, spoilers) where a kid (forgot his age...14? 16?) gets attacked by people who've been regularly bullying him at the worst possible time (he was running as fast as he could to save one of only two remaining blood relatives who loved and raised him (this one specifically was like a mother to him)). They were looking to have fun bullying him while he was trying to save his aunt's life, and after he knocked them both down (breaking the jaw of one), he immediately felt remorseful that he hurt them (and they were MUCH stronger than him, he was simply the more skilled). I hated that he felt remorse because in THIS situation they were looking to get their kicks at a time when, again, someone who was so important to him was going to die. I personally stopped being able to connect to the character at that scene because being a good, nice person is one thing, but this was (I felt) unrelateable. The thing is, my intention for this kid is that she IS a good, sweet person who doesn't lack for self confidence. She's got someone by her side, offering her strength, so she doesn't feel alone in the world (and doesn't hate the world either). When I think about it, I guess I can see her being remorseful (again, she was clearly stronger than the boy, this would be like an MMA guy knocking down a rude juvenile), but my original take was that she's angry and contemptuous of him (it feels more appropriate to a kid's reaction when they're bullied).