A Writer’s Approach to High School Reunions (Part 1)
Why do people go to their high school reunions?
Dr. Matthew Lieberman, in Psychology Today, noted that, “for many of us it’s the same reason why we would watch a Friends reunion show all these years later. We know it wouldn’t be very good, but we still want to know how the story turned out. Humans are storytelling, story-loving creatures.”
For writers, the motivations of the other participants can provide a wealth of storytelling ideas:
Curiosity and comparison. Some people are there because they want to see what their peers are like after all this time—and perhaps to show everyone how much better they’re doing by comparison.
Justice or closure. Some might want to finally put their high school nemesis in his or her place, even if just by recognizing how the tables have turned over the years. Others might want to more formally reach closure with that person, or to apologize to someone for some long-ago incident.
Hope. Some might want to rekindle romance with an old boyfriend or girlfriend.
These are basic—and dramatic—human motivations. Use them to your advantage!
Attend your reunion as an observer as well as participant. Pay attention to what others do and say, and how they carry themselves.
Add a little imagination and “what ifs,” and you’ll have plenty of juicy material to work with—and the results might be very good, indeed.
—Ann Kellett, a proud Wampus Cat from Conway, Arkansas.