prompt 174 Meet the Natives
“Persons appear to us according to the light we throw upon them from our own minds.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder
In last week’s prompt, you created or borrowed a character, dropped them into a completely unfamiliar place, and described what they saw from their point of view. Now, things are going to get even more interesting. This week, your character is going to meet a character native to the unfamiliar place in which you’ve dropped them.
(A note: some of you have already had your characters encounter someone from the alternate universe in which you’ve dropped them. Do you continue the meeting this this character or do they move on and meet someone else? Entirely up to you.)
Here are a couple of suggestions of how to approach this (although you are certainly not limited to these approaches):
- Your character(s) meet(s) someone who is very similar to him/her/it/them in some way – perhaps they are of the same profession, ideological belief, religion, social class…or perhaps your character and the native person have very similar personalities. Using one of last week’s examples: what might the twelve century Brahmin priest from India think of a Catholic priest from the twentieth century Midwestern steel town? Or how would Sherlock Holmes react to Miss Marple? Would King Arthur find any similarities between himself and President Kennedy?
- Your character(s) meet someone who is strikingly different from himself/herself/itself/themselves. Perhaps they are so different, even to the point of where the person in question is a complete opposite (or even an antithesis?) of your character. Using one of last week’s examples: what might happen if an uneducated first century fisherman from Galilee were to meet Commander Data? How might Mahatma Gandhi perceive Julius Caesar? Your dog, meeting a housecat from Ancient Egypt?
In any case, your character is going to reveal his/her/its/their reaction to this person, which will be colored by perceptions, mental filters, prejudices, and so forth. Your character could have a very strong reaction to the other person – either positive or negative. Two characters that are similar to each other can dislike each other. Two characters who are complete opposites can get along famously. Your character’s reaction can even be lukewarm or indifferent. The possibilities are endless.
Now, are you having fun yet?