Well, I thought it would be fun to write a post where I put each of them in the same situation and then write a micro-scene of their reactions in their individual writing style. So, here is what my five characters did when they found a lost teddy bear in the park…
Bethany (2nd Person, Present Tense)
It looks like a balled-up sweater from a distance, but when you get closer you realize it’s a stuffed bear, and just like that, you are having a terrible day.
You think of the child and how they must be missing their toy, but more than that you think of the mother of that child. You imagine her retracing her day, looking for the wayward teddy, and then finding it, and then pressing it back into the arms of her son or daughter.
Jealousy wasn’t the right word, because it implied some degree of resentment, and you don’t feel that for the mothers out there lucky enough to have children. You are happy for them. Really.
You pick up the bear and set in on the bench to make it easier when the hero Mommy comes in search of it later. You hope that woman realizes how lucky she is.
Cider (3rd Person, Present Tense)
Cider is in the park with Daddy, and this is wonderful because Cider loves the park! The park is full of fresh smells and people and… and that! Cider sees something new and exciting and runs over to it.
Oh, yes! This is amazing. Cider has found a new toy, and it is almost like the squishy toys he has at home.
“Cider! Get back here. Come on!” Daddy says.
Cider knows the game ‘Come on.’ It is almost the same game as fetch, except he should not bring something back with him. But surely Daddy is mistaken? Perhaps he just meant to say fetch. Yes, that’s it!
Cider picks up the new toy and brings it back to Daddy, so he can get treats or cuddles. Or both! But cuddles would be better.
Snowiks (1st Person, Past Tense)
I stood there for a solid minute, trying to decide what to do about the lost teddy bear. My first instinct, naturally, was to bring it down to the police station when I went back to work and wait for the owner to come claim it.
The only reason why I hadn’t done this yet was because I didn’t quite care for what this said about me and my career. And supposing someone saw me do it? Supposing one of the new rookies spotted me walking in with a stuffed animal?
But then the alternative was to leave it here. Possibly let it get rained on. Get Moldy. Get thrown away. Make some kid cry.
Well, it wasn’t like I had much pride left anyway.
Zabby (1st Person, Present Tense)
Yeah, that’s definitely a teddy bear.
I pick it up and see that it has patches of fur loved off—so it can’t have been left behind on purpose. I check around for small kids, and see one walking around the pond along with their dad and baby in a stroller.
I start chasing after them…. No, wait. Maybe I shouldn’t. What if they think I stole it or something? It might start up a big scene, and I really, really don’t want to be in the middle of it.
But that’s stupid, right? I mean, why would I steal some kid’s toy just to give it back later? I should just…
No. It might be the wrong family. And if they say it doesn’t belong to them, then what? If I walk around to every house, I’ll be late for my shift at the diner. Maybe it’s best to just leave it on the bench. If the kid really loves it, he’ll come back for it. Right?
Yeah he’ll be back.
Then why do I feel like crying?
Willow (3rd Person, Past Tense)
Willow was strolling in the park, looking for just to right place to read. These things needed lots of careful consideration, after all. Sunlight, the softness of the grass, noise level.
As he considered using the bench, he noticed the stuffed bear. “Hey, where did you come from?” he asked it conversationally as he picked it up and brushed off the bits of dry grass. “You really shouldn’t wander off like that. Someone’s going to be missing you.”
He thought of the bear’s owner, feeling abandoned and betrayed, as if the toy had made the decision to walk off on its own.
But maybe it had! And if that were the case, wouldn’t the child feel slightly better about the situation? Wouldn’t it to be better to imagine that when a favorite toy was lost, it had actually been away having some grand adventure?
Willow found an old-styled cloth hankie and gathered some acorns and attractive-looking pebbles—things that a traveling teddy might gather as souvenirs. He bound them to a little stick with the hankie, creating a small knapsack, and then positioned the bear on the bench so he looked like he was holding it.
“Farewell, good sir,” he said, giving the bear a casual salute. “Many happy adventures to you.” Then, Willow got away from the bench so as not to spoil the magic when the child came back looking for his toy.