character / editing / high school / life / mistakes / writing

Pulling the Fire Alarm

firealarm2

One problem about writing about a girl in high school is that I haven’t been in high school since 1986.

In the manuscript I’ve been working on, my main character pulls a fire alarm at school. She does so on impulse, in one of those it seemed like a good idea at the time impulses. I realized that I didn’t have her get in trouble for this.

Now, when I was in school, you would get in trouble for a false fire alarm, but only if they caught you. And odds were good that if you were smart and fast, you’d get away with it.

These days that seems unlikely. Don’t you think? Do all schools have cameras? What about low-income schools? And every fire alarm in every school?

She could in trouble, but it simplifies things if she doesn’t. All it has to be is plausible that she doesn’t get caught.

Is it distracting if she doesn’t?

But if she doesn’t, how much trouble? How does that take away from the plot line?

I could reconsider her actions, but she needs a way to get out of one situation and into another. Contriving another way to get her from point A to point B would add a snag. I feel she pulls that alarm.

Ever read stories where the character does something that makes you stop and shake your head, pulls you out of the narrative because you know that it could never happen that way?

5 thoughts on “Pulling the Fire Alarm

  1. She could definitely pull the alarm. It’s a high school action and would move her from A to B nicely. My son’s school doesn’t have cameras everywhere, so if I were reading it I would think it were absolutely possible.

  2. It depends on where else the plot is moving and whether she needs to get into trouble or not. :-) Will her getting into trouble add to the story? Will it tell us more about her character or the character of those around her. The device of cameras is only a prop. You can do with them what you will!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s