In my book, five middle-school students are stranded in a desert when their small plane crashes. The pilot dies saving one of them, and there is no civilization within hundreds of miles. How long should it take them to realize that there's no way out, and become determined to survive?

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    I would suggest asking this question on the Worldbuilding Stack Exchange. Your question has more to do with the (rather subjective) plausibility of character motives, which is something that's much better-suited for the Worldbuilding site. – The Spartan Nov 13 '17 at 22:02
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    Honestly, this will probably get closed on Worldbuilding as well. And the more pertinent question is how long until they die - no water, no food, no civilization and no survival skills. Perhaps even worse for a bunch of young teens - no internet. – user18397 Nov 13 '17 at 22:36
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this question belongs to WorldBuilding SE more than here. – FraEnrico Nov 14 '17 at 8:52

Five students, five different characters. Probably five different lengths of time to become aware of the seriousness of the situation. Some of them might never get there.

There might be a time when they all reach a collective interpretation, but the interesting writing (and reading) is going to be the conflict in views leading up to this.

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  • Good point. What do you think should be the average? A few days? A month? – Redwolf Programs Nov 17 '17 at 18:57
  • No idea, I'm afraid, and I'm not sure I'd be able to guess even if I knew your characters. I'm not convinced an average would be meaningful in terms of plot or dialogue - you could always have a "Twelve Angry Men" style reversal. – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Nov 18 '17 at 8:59

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