Sometimes I over react. Ok it may be more than sometimes. I over react to a fear for myself or others, to a piece of criticism, really to most events in my life. My, rather active, mind always seems to be churning on something. The over reactions thankfully go both directions. I worry hard, but I also celebrate with abandon things that make me happy.
I recognize over reaction as one of the many flaws I have to work on in life (the worry part anyway). I practice different methods of controlling my reactions. Thinking about how my husband (the most calm person I have ever met) might react in a given situation. Thinking about how the person I am about to “go off on” will feel. Trying to see the larger view of what might be behind my emotions.
Over the years I have gotten much better at it, although I still find myself clapping at the tv screen when a character does something that pleases me then worrying about what people think. Sigh.
My reactions have been at the front of my mind lately. I was getting too wound up in my internal thoughts and it was preventing me from my usual happiness and blocking my creativity. When I’m worried about the little things (whether the lady down the hall thinks I ignored her in the street, or if my boss asking for a meeting means I am about to be fired [no by the way]) my mind is too tired to be creative. But this week while thinking about my reactions and focusing on being positive, I had a great idea for a writing exercise. Let’s hope it gets me over my creativity hump.
How a character reacts to a situation tells the reader about that character. Writing the reactions to good and bad news reveal our character’s traits and provide us as authors with an excellent opportunity to “show” something about our character, their back story etc., without stepping outside of our plot line. Think of a character you are familiar with. It could be one you write or a favourite from fiction. Now write their reaction to each of the following statements.
<Situation one: boss to employee while at a company event.> “We have to talk on Monday…Your review came back and we have some hard decisions to make.”
<Situation two: your character meets an old friend.> “It’s been so long. Did you hear I’m getting married?”
Explore how you can show things about your character through their reactions. Aim to write for twenty minutes.