Have you ever fallen down a flight of stairs? A whole flight, I'm talking about, top to bottom, not just a couple of measly steps. That is one of those things that I've always wondered about the mechanics of, you know, for research purposes. What if I wanted to write about a character falling down the stairs? What would it feel like? Does she fall head over feet or slide down feet first? For obvious reasons, I wasn't about to conduct said research on purpose.
Well, today my questions were answered when I slipped off the top step of a flight of stairs and bounced all the way to the bottom, feet first, like I was riding a slide. What did it feel like? It hurt. Weird thing was, for the first thirty seconds I had no idea exactly what hurt. It was like my brain didn't register the damage. In the end, it worked out for the best. No broken bones, no concussion. If you ever plan to fall down the stairs, this is the way I would recommend doing it.
You're probably wondering "what is the point of this stairs thing?" Well, the point is this. In the moment I was awash with emotions: embarrassment (did anyone see?), anger (why do those steps have to be so slippery?) and frustration (why am I such a klutz?) Then one magic little word occurred to me.
Lousy things can happen in life. Sometimes you have crummy days or weeks. Sometimes you embarrass yourself so badly, you wish the ground would swallow you up. Sometimes bad things happen and just when you think it can't get worse, it does. But no matter what, it can always serve as research. Whatever happens, good or bad, it always has the potential to become a great story.
So if I ever have to write about a character falling down the stairs, now I know exactly what it's like.