by Jean M. Cogdell
A reaction for every action? Large or small?
The short answer is yes. I think so.
Once I grasp this concept, things began going a little smoother. Now in each scene, I stop and ask what will the characters consequence be for each action.
Even the smallest of decisions can move a story forward. For instance, stopping to buy a coffee can result in meeting the right or wrong person. Turning left instead of right can result in an accident or a chance meeting. See. Each decision your character makes must have a consequence sooner or later to drive the story to the end.
It’s simple cause and effect.
My current work in progress I’m using action-reaction to move each scene forward. Even the most mundane of things.
- action: she pulled her sweater tighter
- reaction: draws unwanted attention
- action: he seeks her out
- reaction: love or hate, life or death?
This could go further and carry on in another chapter. And with a little luck, things will fall into place like a row of dominos.
Look at a scene in your WIP. Is there any action that could use a reaction? Even if it is ordinary, mundane and everyday stuff it might be what you need to fill in the gaps.
Guest post contributed by Jean M. Cogdell. Jean grew up in a small SC town, near the Great Smoky Mountains. Her stories and essays are available in Fiction Southeast, Anthology Once Upon A Time, Flash Fiction World II, Scissors & Spackle, Squawk Back, WTD, YAREAH, and Angie’s Diary Online Magazine.