Imagine sitting in a crowded train and it suddenly stops and then everyone has to wait. Three minutes pass before there's an announcement. Facing you, sits a man who you hadn't taken much notice of but now you can see he's perspiring and his mouth is twitching. You suddenly feel concerned and decide to keep an eye on him, just in case he's unwell. At the same time you're feeling slightly annoyed because if he is unwell then there's a chance he could vomit all over you.
After the announcement, the man becomes agitated and begins exhaling loudly. He looks annoyed and you feel sorry for him and inwardly sympathize. Moments later the man shouts: "Come on! What's holding us up?" And, you feel glad that somebody has vented but at the same time you too begin to feel anxious. He doesn't shut up. "This is bloody ridiculous! All the money we spend on tickets and the service is crap!" You see his point but you also feel annoyed. What is now a ten-minute wait has turned into an eternity and it's eating into your day. You think: We all feel the same way, shut up!
You're stuck opposite an increasingly angry man and he's glaring at you, through you, all he can see is his emotion. You become angry too and could happily throttle him then, the train begins to move. In a second you feel a surge of relief which quickly turns to resentment. The bloke is still going on about how much time was wasted. You feel superior. You didn't vent, there was no need for it and you think: What an idiot. He goes back to being just another passenger who isn't on your radar.
|An image from my book trailer for Temptation lends itself well to this scenario|
NOW - put a reader through the same experience.
You can be the man, yourself or another passenger. You could even be a conductor who, when he opens the train doors at the station, finds a scene he will never forget.