• Beth Daniels, aka Beth Henderson, J.B. Dane

Action and Reaction: Moving Ahead Logically

One of the easiest ways to move ahead in your novel is to present an ACTION and then have the characters REACT to it.

An action early on can be the introduction of a new character.

An action can be something said.

An action can be information given or discovered.

An action can be physical movement -- taking a swing at someone, kissing them, turning away from them.

An action can be destructive -- shooting someone, blowing something up, slapping someone, rejecting something (such as a suggestion) or a person.

The reaction is how the character reacts to that action. They could be interested in the new character or hate them on sight, or be suspicious of them. They could respond to whatever is said, be it verbally or emotionally or physically. They could take the information they now have and move on it -- heard there was an opening in a different department and headed to human resources to ask to be considered for the position, realize they have to go in a different direction to gain better or further information. Get punched back by the person they hit, get kissed back or rejected. Need to get safely away.

The handy thing about REACTION is that it is also an ACTION that feeds into the next REACTION. In other words, it's a logical progression of steps.

And for every action it is possible to dream up more than one reaction that is equally likely. That's what makes one author's story different from another's.

The true treat, of course, is when the action isn't what the reader is expecting in the least!