When we think of what impacts our lives and decisions, we often think of something tangible: a person we regularly interact with, our job, our pay check, our family. But often our choices and our self-concept are also defined by what's missing, or by who's missing. This missing piece floats in the background of our lives, rarely spoken of but just as real as something that is actually in front of us. Think of yourself or your character. What's missing in this person's life?
Maybe what's missing is something that she used to be able to physically hold on to: a person, a car, a house, or maybe it's intangible. Perhaps hope is missing, or security is missing, or fear is missing. Maybe that's what led to Sally's downfall when she tried to outrun that train.
Maybe something that had always held a person back is suddenly gone: an illness cured, an abusive partner out of the picture, a life of poverty undone by winning the scratch off loto.
Maybe the things, people, or achievements you thought you'd have by now have never come your way. Is that perfect partner missing, or just a partner? Has that rock and roll dream slipped from your grasp, and now all you want to do is suck yogurt out of packets while watching episodes of Just the Ten of Us on YouTube?
Maybe something that used to be a constant in your character's life will never again be attainable, like the tough football player who lost his limbs after a freak laser tag incident, or the beauty queen who lost her pure complexion after a freak laser treatment incident. Maybe lasers are missing from Mr. Gregory's laser emporium after it was burned down by a rival laser emporium's lasers. Please stop me.
Take some time to explore this prompt. When/how can we see the impact of this absence in your character's life? What situations does this absence lead to? Let me know how it goes!