30 November 2011

Creating Character Emotions - Apathy

by Diane Carlisle

From Dictionary.com - apathy   [ap-uh-thee] noun, plural -thies.

1. Absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.
2. Lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.


The floating scaffold moved side to side, sloshing about the soapy water in his bucket. He whipped the squeegee downward in a quick motion, the excess fluid sprayed off into the wind like a mist. The muffled voices inside just another part of the scenery, a hundred feet in the air in front of his 15th window of the day.

The screaming on the other side seemed like a movie playing in the background. He pressed the spongy strip to the glass and made square patterns on the surface, the liquid dripping toward the bottom pane and carrying a summer’s worth of dust and pigeon shit in its stream. A green and white speck hitched a ride inside a soapy bubble the size of a nickel.

The woman threw a vase across the room, "I hate you!"

The man ducked and the fixture shattered against a closed door.

He'd witnessed this scene before in his own living room, back when Margie used to watch the Soap Operas. He would leave her alone, engrossed in her favorite episodes. Something else could occupy his time. Make a sandwich. Swat at flies. Anything.

He flipped the squeegee over to its rubber side and pulled downward, pressing hard against the glass. The water flowed quickly, gravity forcing the drips to race each other to the bottom.

In two large strides, the man closed the gap between himself and the woman, placing his hands around her neck. He looked angry.

The wind shifted the scaffold back and forth and the clean surface he just uncovered gleamed in contrast to the rest of the window. He again placed the squeegee back to the top and pulled down. A pigeon stopped in for a visit and perched itself on a side panel.

“Hello there little fellow.”

The pigeon cooed back at him.

The woman tried kicking and punching, but she looked as if she was losing in her struggle for air. Her punches and kicks slowed down and then she was still.

"People will be people, eh?" he said to the pigeon and then raised the squeegee to remove the rest of the soapy liquid before moving on to his next window.


  1. Disturbingly good! Great story to show the meaning of apathy.

  2. Thanks Kelly. I never knew what apathy meant until this assignment came along. Silly me, but fun stuff.

  3. That's a great story! Unfortunately, probably more "true to life" than I want to think about. On another note, I totally didn't realize my last blog post borrowed from the title of your blog until just now. Subliminal inspiration, maybe?

  4. Thanks, Lara and Lynn. It was really hard until and hunkered down and got in touch with my ice queen character. Not really me, but I find that I love to write in that voice!

    In real life, I seem to care too much, so this was like a release. lol

    Thanks for stopping by. Next week, I'm going to deliver some coffee to you all! Mwahahhahah. I've gotten addicted to iced coffee, homemade, not that Starbucks stuff!

  5. Great story! I really enjoyed your descriptions and the minute details - they definitely elevated the conflict and emotion in the story.

  6. Thanks Christinea. Gotta love those window washers; they see everything! :D

  7. Oh this is so perfect. When I read the post title, I thought, "When was the last time I felt apathetic." And you know what? This story really depicted apathy perfect! It makes you think, "Am I more apathetic than I realize I am?"

  8. Thanks, Nicole. Sometimes I ask myself that as well. I've stopped watching the News because of it. :)

  9. Well written and without any passive voice. I would not think this was written by a woman except I saw your name before I read. Dark.

  10. Wow, John. I'm embarrassed to say, I'm actually a man who happens the have a feminine name.


    Just kidding!!

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  11. Well done -- so much told in so little words. You remind me of the QPB stories in 50 words each; I have books of those old contests.

  12. Thanks! I once entered a 15 word hint fiction contest. It was really hard and there were so many great entries.


I welcome feedback, so please leave your thoughts.

Contact Diane


Email *

Message *