Daily Archives: December 12, 2011

Up the Conflict Meter: Assume

You know what the say about assumptions.  They can get you into a lot of trouble.

This past weekend, DH and I attended Middle Son’s basketball games.  Friends of ours needed to finish a bit of last-minute shopping for a vacation, so we took their boys after the game.  In tow, we had four boys and one girl (5, 7, 9, 10 and 15), all blonde.

We took our crew out to eat on the way home.  When we finished our meal, the waitress–bless her poor heart–asked, “Will this be one or two checks?”

I suppose we looked very much like a family in the process of blending.  Masses of kids, close in age.  I’m sure it didn’t help that DH had his hand on my knee throughout lunch, or that neither of us wore wedding bands (his lost, mine getting fixed after knocking two diamonds loose).  Throw in the fact that the boys called us by first name a time or two and I’m quite certain the waitress felt confident in her assumption.

In life, these assumptions can be embarrassing.  In writing, they can be a gold mine of novel fodder.

What if I had been a jealous wife who thought my Hubby was cheating on me?  Imagine the scene this could have caused if I would have confonted him right there.

While in public, I try very hard to keep my what ifs to myself.  Yet, this doesn’t stop me from letting my imagination run wild on the page.  By letting my characters make assumptions based on limited facts, I often infuse my stories with unexpected conflict.

What off-track assumptions have you made in life?  Have you written any into your novels?

Curious minds want to know!