|Stories - Part Six: Problems and Power|
A panic situation is where a problem for one, or a few people, effects many. If someone in the underground shouts out "There's a fire" and starts to run, other people may panic, not knowing what to do, and acting impulsively in a way that causes more confusion.
The situation moves through several stages:
Up to the point of confusion, it may still be possible for someone to create order again by shouting directions or doing something meaningful. Once panic sets in then chaos quickly follows, which might then lead to disaster.
The type of situations that can lead to this include:
Catastrophes make good stories. Putting your characters in a panic situation is a good way to show their character. The effects on people involved in situations beyond our experience help us guess how we would react ourselves.
Imagine there is bad weather and the possibility of a dangerous flood, what options would be available to those endangered?
In a war the preventative action would be to fight. The evasive action would be to run away. The controlling action would be to stay alive as best you could within the enemy territory.
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