“Where’s Tegwyn?”

When people are in trauma, they often try to hold on to normality by carrying on with routines and plans as if nothing were happening. That’s what we see in this snippet.

(And this doesn’t mean they are in denial; it means they are living in two worlds, one in which there has been a tragedy, and one in which someone needs to put the bins out.)

"Where's Tegwyn?" I ask.

"She's home looking after Grammar."

"I could've done that."

"I want you . . . with me," she says. 

This conversation is a banal discussion about the logistics of the situation: who should be doing what.

This snippet does a couple of things at once:

  • It draws out the action, delaying us getting to the accident.
  • It reincorporates background characters, letting us know what’s happened to them, why they’re not here.
  • It heightens the sense of trauma because the characters are talking about something mundane while we know they are distressed.

Logistical question: One character asks a simple logistical question.

Answer: The other character answers.

Challenge: First character challenges the answer.

Response: Other character responds.

None of this should be dramatic or high-stakes. Go as small and mundane as you can.

"Did we lock the office?" I ask Emmanuel.

"I gave the keys to Rashid."

"You can’t rely on him."

"Jojo," he says, squeezing my hand harder, "leave it."

"Can we cut through?" I shout at the Woodsman.

"It’ll take longer," he calls back.

"We can go around the hill."

"They’re not ponies… they’ll break a leg," he says.

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