I haven’t written about the Olympics yet (mostly because when you work with a Canadian it’s all you hear about) but one story caught my eye.
“On Wednesday the four-man No. 1 sled from the Netherlands pulled out of the Olympics. Because their driver was terrified.”
Obviously this is not just a simple case of nerves. The intense speed of the track combined with Nodar Kumaritashvili’s unfortunate death no doubt influenced his decision, still, it’s amazing to think that an athlete who has spent his entire life preparing for this moment would just walk away.
After I read the story, I tried to imagine it as a movie. At first, I imagined what it would be like if he decided to race despite the danger. Would it have a triumphant ending, like Rocky V, or a tragic ending (presumably), like in The Wrestler?
Next, I considered how the movie would play out if he decided not to race. Would the driver be more or less heroic if he stood up to his coach and teammates and pulled out of the Olympics? Is he just thinking about his own safety or the safety of his team as well? Did he consider his family when making his decision? What are the consequences of his decision?
As an exercise:
Think of a moment in your own story when your character is forced to make a difficult decision. Do they decide to take the risk or walk away? What do they think about when making this decision? Do they regret it? What does their decision cost them?