Not only did I dj last night at tango (not a new occurrence), but I did the move of the week. I’ve only done that once before. Showing a move in front of people makes me nervous. It’s one thing to know how to do something, quite another to explain to someone else how to do that thing.
Last night, a person came to talk to me that rarely does. “What kind of pattern do your shoes have?”
I love to talk about my shoes. Pulling them out of my bag, I showed her the floral pattern.
“Oh, I thought they might be like mine,” she said.
“Not quite. Yours have a brown background. These have a blue background. But they are similar.”
“Did you get your jacket in Buenos Aires? I found one kind of like that in the San Telmo market, but it snagged on everything.”
“No, just Urban Outfitters or whatever it’s called.”
Then she got around to the real reason for her visit. “Did all those women in the corner show up to see you demonstrate your move?”
Oh dear, is that an overtone of envy I hear in there? So I told her no. At least I don’t think they did. Most came to take Richard’s class and hung around for the milonga. Thankfully someone came and asked her to dance, ending the awkwardness.
It made me realize I’m not much for jealousy/envy as an emotion. Wanting something another person has or does? Meh. If I want to look better on the dance floor, why envy the person with better footwork. That gets me no where. Hard work and study, now those will more likely pay off.
It’s the same with writing. Why envy another writer’s career/success? That doesn’t get you anywhere. Hard work, hours writing, scrubbing your eyes blind while you edit, those pay off (or might).
So for today’s prompt, think about your main character. Put them in a situation where someone has something that they value (a relationship, a pair of shoes, better moves on the dance floor). How do they react? Do they get jealous of the other person’s ability/possession/relationship? Do they work harder to be better than the other person? If they want to be better, is it so they get more acclaim? How do you maintain reader sympathy for someone that self-absorbed. (Oh, burn). Or is the situation reversed and they have ability and someone is jealous of them. How would your character react?