I was reading Military 1 today and came across an article about what Navy SEAL’s keep in their survival kits. These kits, which are used if a SEAL is caught behind enemy lines, are pretty impressive.
Each kit is only 4 inches by 2 inches by 1.5 inches, and comes in your choice of tan or green.
SEALs are able to use the kits as a digging tool, and a pot to cook food in (though not at the same time) – and they contain an impressive array of items: a mini, stainless-steel Multi Tool with pliers, wire cutters, file, and awl; button compass; LED Sqeeze light; fire starting kit; full-sized blanket; 2 x 3 signal mirror with aiming hole; bobby pins; safety pins; rope; first aid items and more.
They’ve got to be prepared for anything.
This got me thinking about our characters and what they might pack as “survival” items in our stories.
The lead character in my work in progress carries some specific demon-banishing items in her purse at all times, since lately, she’s been plagued by demons. Part of her kit includes holy water, holy chrism (oil) and salt which has been blessed by a priest. She uses these items to seal windows and doors, and in a pinch, they become weapons against the demons.
So, she’s always prepared, right?
Wrong. Where’s the drama in that? (She’s going to learn fairly soon that her kit no longer works.)
Here’s Your Prompt:
- Create a “survival kit” for your character. It could be as small and jam-packed as a Navy SEAL’s, or could be as mundane as the items your character habitually loads into his pockets every morning. Whatever it is: have a good reason for the items to be there. It’s got to be something your character carries with him every day. It’s too Deus ex machina if the items show up only when your character needs them.
- Think about all the ways those items can be countered. What logical things could happen to make the survival kit less than useful?
- Write the scene where your character realizes that all his or her prep has been for naught. Lead him or her through determination to get the job done, frustration after frustration of items in the kit not working, realization of failure, decision to quit and/or determination to succeed no matter what.