This is a simple example of how two people in the same situation will experience it, and react to it, in different ways - according to their past experiences, or their current states of mind.
Lisa on the left, often feels sad. This morning she had a fight with her her brother and she's sulking because he blamed it on her and she got punished. Now the whole world is against her. Her friends roll their eyes at her most of the time because she gets 'stuck' under a dark cloud of her own making. She's no fun to be around when she's like that. She refuses any help, preferring to be alone with her negative thoughts.
See how she's crossed her arms, standing in a "closed" position. She looks unapproachable, doesn't she? Lisa tries to make herself small and insignificant, so no one will notice her, but she's lonely. She spends a lot of time looking back at what has happened, holding grudges, and analyzing what she did, or said, that was so wrong. She hates the way her parents are always fighting, especially when they don't think she can hear them.
Poppy on the other hand, has the opposite outlook on life. Although she's from a poor family and wears hand-me-downs, she's a happy girl. With an active imagination, she's always off in the land of the fairies, making up stories, or pretending she's an explorer seeking out new lands. Poppy loves to spread her wings, to run, laugh and try new things.
See how she's "open" with arms stretched wide and a grin on her face? She looks fun to be with, doesn't she? She spends a lot of time making plans for the future, living in her imagination. Although there's little spare money available for "treats" for her and her five brothers and sisters, she's happy to play outside all day in the summer.
Both girls are in the same situation and yet react to it in very different ways. As a fiction writer, using two contrasting characters is a great way to inject conflict in your stories.
Shuna Meade is the editor behind Final Polish Editorial. She writes fiction and non-fiction as well as editing. She loves to work with new writers, passing on the nuggets of advice that have worked for her over the years. She is a developmental editor (big picture), copyeditor (balancing creative style with technical accuracy), and proofreader (the detail work). You can contact her on: email@example.com.