Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Cause and Effect.
Yesterday I was talking with a friend about setting up the scene in a novel. Ya know, giving your reader all the tools necessary to envision your characters, their surroundings, touch them, feel them, relate to them, love them, hate them. The whole enchilada (just so happens we were having Mexican). So, after dinner I dropped her off and headed home with some obnoxious curtain of guilt, determined to squash any hope of basking in the afterglow, after having way too much guacamole (never, ever, ever, look up the fat content in guacamole, just saying). Naturally I started thinking about cause and effect but not in a way that you might think. I immediately went from apologizing to my thighs (yet again) to thinking about how important cause and effect is in our writing. Then fate stepped in. I get home and decide to flip through the mail (hoping for another free breakfast coupon from Denny's, same as you) and find my brand new January edition of Writer's Digest. So I smile at my lot and dive right in. And there on page thirty seven was an article called....3 SECRETS TO GREAT STORYTELLING by, Steven James. You thought I was going to say Cause and effect didn't you? Well I am, only it wasn't the title, and it wasn't on that page. It was on page thirty eight. I'll give you his number one secret. "Everything in a story must be caused by the action that precedes it." Boy don't I know it, especially, after having the enchilada supreme with extra sour cream Mr. James. Preach on! And just like how I stayed up till way past two this morning reading Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, thinking I'm off and I have nowhere to be. I can sleep til nine and leisurely enter into my day with Cooper( household pup) and coffee. But who gets pulled from a perfectly good conversation with a fallen angel who simply asked for directions ( hey its a dream, not like I have any control over them) at seven o'clock in the morning (that's a lie it was 8), all because somebody was in the bathroom, using somebody's straightener and it wasn't fair. Humph! I had a whole list of not fairs to offer two teenage girls this morning. So, now I've been up all night reading, talking to angels, thinking about my own WIP, and too much guacamole. So I'm sleepy and maybe even whiny and I'm convinced someone put my pjs in the dryer for like...ever. But on a good note, I've learned so much from all of this and awareness is everything, right? So, does everything in your WIP have an action or event that precedes it? Are you showing reaction before you explain motivation? If you can find the article or order Writer's Digest, do so. It's chocked full of goodies to aid in your craft and you'll be glad you did.