One Writer’s Journey

November 21, 2014

Action and Reaction, Scene and Sequel

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:17 am
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scene and sequelWhen I started writing, long, long ago before the world was color, I remember hearing about scene and sequel.  Basically, the scene contains the action — wow!  exciting!  edge of my seat!   The sequel gives your character space to react — how does this change things?  What will I do next ?

I haven’t seen much on this topic in quite a while so was thrilled to read K.M. Weiland’s Make Your Character Reactions Twice as Interesting. Her post is all about character depth and using sequel/reaction to create both this depth and empathy with your character.

One of the reasons that we need to see your characters react is that it gives us (the readers) insight into their motivations.  At best, a character who goes from one action to another without a thought in between is going to seem impulsive and shallow.  And that might be your point.  Maybe your character is impulsive and shallow and it creates all kinds of trouble for him.  If that’s the case, make that trouble oh so obvious.

But the other risk is that if we never see your character react and mull things over, we won’t have any clue why your character is moving from action a to action b, unless of course action a is climbing a mountain trail and action b is panting for breath.  That’s sort of obvious.   We won’t know what your character’s motivation is or why he does what he does.

Your reaction time doesn’t have to be extended.  In fact, some actions don’t lend themselves to long, drawn-out reactions.  Accidently pull the pin on a grenade and you might need to react rather quickly unless this is one of those from the grave stories.  But if you make the effort to build in some reactions, readers will know your character that much better, an essential ingredient in character driven stories.




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