What I mean by that sentence is, of course that feeling one gets (or is it only me?!) when everyone else in a group of individuals seem to be in agreement on a single point of conversation or agree on a single idea, and you throw yourself out there on that lonely, windy, scary limb, the one where you’re in the spotlight on your own.
Then of course, you’re stuck in the spotlight, like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming car, left there to substantiate your claim, your wild idea, the one that goes against the tide.
Imagine yourselves in a group of like-minded writerly types, discussing anecdotes that you are turning into short stories. You are happily discussing if each is character driven or plot driven and dissecting each one as it comes along. Who would be the protagonist, who would be the antagonist, where could the story go?
Enter your friend, who regaled the group with tales of her trip to Japan where she and her friend came across this cute little monkey, both exclaiming “Awww, how cute!” To which the owner of the cafe they’d stopped at quickly responded as he deftly startled the little monkey with a pebble shot forth from his trusty slingshot “Monkey’s are a problem here.” Both women looked on aghast as the little monkey ran away quickly.
After eating, the women went outside to have a look at the area, and while leaning up against a fence that dropped off into a fairly steep and rocky mountain side, they again saw monkeys. This time, however, the monkey’s had gotten hold of their bags and were in the process of flinging around their unmentionables all over the sheer rock face as they watched in horror.
Return now to the class, the story hangs in the air like rapidly dissipating candle smoke. Suddenly, the class comes back to life with interjections from around the room.
“One of the two women should be the protagonist” shoots out from somewhere at the back.
“What about the monkey?” Points out another from the other side of the room.
“I think it’s character driven,” shares another
“Yeah, but from the monkey’s point of view could be really fun,” another counters.
You sit there and take in the din around you.
Where do your thoughts go in this instance? Who should be the protagonist, the antagonist, what genre of story would you write?
I can tell you where I went with this – and it is this, that coincidently spurred this blog post on – prepare yourselves…
This is sort of what I expected to have happened to the women in Japan, but without the car and probably with fewer clothes, since they only had a backpack each. My protagonist would still be one of the women, perhaps both jointly, but the story wouldn’t be from their point of view… Oh no! Do you remember the cafe owner who said but one sentence, and then startled the poor little monkey with his big mean slingshot? He’d be my antagonist. For you see, he really is a mass-murdering psychopath, he lures tourists to his remote mountain-top cafe that is surrounded by beautiful views and wild, but cute monkeys. When the unsuspecting tourists venture into his little nest of evil, he first poisons them with the food they buy. It’s not fast acting, nor does it kill them. It simply slows them down, dumbs them down, perhaps even has some sort of psychoactive drug that creates some intense hallucinations… but all that comes a little later. Once the tourists venture outside to check out the views and ooh and aahh over the cute little monkeys, he instructs his army of monkeys (think like the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz) to attack, terrorise and generally freak out the tourists before bringing them back to the cafe to be prepared into the next unsuspecting tourists meal.
Now, I’m not saying that being different is wrong, but sometimes I’d like to not be that slightly strange person all on my lonesome out on the limb.
Have you had this experience before? The feeling of your brain being wired so differently to everyone elses, where you seem to be at odds to what everyone else agrees on?
Share your experiences or your story ideas based on the prompt provided below!