05 October 2012

Airport Ideas - Small Changes

I was at the airport yesterday, always an interesting experience during school holidays. As I was a little early (useful as the car park was full!), I spent some time wandering around. Watching people arrive and depart (doing my writerly duty), I was reminded of the opening lines from the film Love Actually – yep always a sucker for the sentimental.

‘Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.’

I’ve travelled on my own enough to know that moment when you stop momentarily in the arrivals lounge, and look around for that special person (or people). There's nothing quite like it.

As I mentioned the car park was full, and for a moment I experienced the sinking feeling of where the hell do I go now? Then a lovely man in a high viz jacket approached, asked me how long I would be parked, and directed me to some other parking.

Even though it was bedlam inside the airport building (school holidays!) the lady on the desk was polite, friendly and very helpful. 

Even simple experiences can turn on the edge of a coin. Nowhere to park and working to tight timeframes can change even the best mood into something less than lovely. I’ve known people be very polite, while still being extremely unhelpful and obstructive.
My experience yesterday was good, but it made me consider how small the change of events needed to be, to make it an unpleasant experience.

Consider your characters. They should already be under pressure with the big challenges and conflicts you’re throwing at them, but do you have any situations or events where everything goes okay for them, or scenes that could do with a little more tension? How could a small, seemingly insignificant action change the way the situation unfolds? It doesn’t have to be the main conflict or plot, but something else in their life that doesn’t run according to plan.

This has been on my mind recently, and in changing a few small things, I’ve made life so much harder for Tom, just as in the real world – tomorrow probably!

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