Today’s Daily Prompt was a real character development question: Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?
I know what I’d grab. My King James Bible, our server (which has all our pictures, novels, and business records on it), my Solo Classic GP saddle, the tablet (which has all our ebooks on it), and one other book. I simply can’t decide which one – probably the beautiful graphic novel version of the Book of Revelation, though.
It’s far harder to answer this question on the behalf of somebody who doesn’t exist.
A very large part of being a writer is simply stepping into someone else’s shoes. The fact that you first have to imagine the someone else makes this somewhat harder, and it’s difficult to let go of your own thoughts and feelings and write purely from your character’s point of view. As a Christian girl with not much backbone, a lot of sentiment and little experience of grief or family trouble, I had quite a task writing from the point of view of a courageous if sarcastic young man who has no room for softheartedness, grieving for his sister and suffering from absent parents and massive responsibilities.
After a 95 000-word journey with aforesaid sarcastic young man, though, it’s becoming much easier to slip into the mind of Flann Hildebrand. His conversion in chapter eighteen (or possibly sixteen) made things much easier, too. He became a softer and much stronger soul, and an altogether much more agreeable person to pretend to be.
It’s as the Flann of early days, in the start of his (unpublished) story Another Sword, that I’ll answer today’s Daily Prompt. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the Most Honourable Marquis of Hildebrand, Knight of the Noble Order of the Lion, Sir Flannery Hildebrand. What five items would you grab?
You’re thinking like a typical civilian. Your home is on fire. Okay, everyone’s safe, but grabbing a whole lot of stuff and heading for the hills is sure going to help to put the fire out. Please, people. Can we make a bit of an effort here?
What you should do is quit worrying about your stuff and start worrying about the flames spreading. Scream “Fire!” extremely loudly and clearly, but please not too shrilly, and do stop once you hear the alarm bells ringing. Send someone to the nearest Knight of the Lion (they’ll be guarding most of the gates and all of West Ardara, den of thieves that it is) and you should have a regiment of Knights helping you out within ten seconds, Knights being a good deal smarter than the average civilian, in other words, you.
While waiting for the Knights, run to your neighbours and scream your lungs out at them until they wake up. Bully them into forming a bucket chain and first wet down the houses and outbuildings nearest to the fire. The Knights will have arrived by then and will take over, usually quenching the flames.
No five items in your own house are more important than everyone else’s houses. Unfortunately, you won’t heed my advice. You’re a civilian, after all. It’s no wonder you need us Knights running around protecting your sorry backside.
I did warn you about the sarcasm.
Flann 120 pages later would have answered the same question entirely differently. I’m still getting used to a fervently believing, meek and mild Flann Hildebrand. He managed to hang onto his grumpy voice, but he became a quite different imaginary person on the inside. One I’d be proud to be.
If only changing your soul was as easy as changing an imaginary one.