3 Action-Reaction Misfires That Flatten Your Writing

Action and reaction—everything in a story depends on what the characters do about whatever the story pits against them.

Stiff, disconnected, or missing character reactions snap the chain of cause and effect that constitutes your story. When readers can no longer see how and why the characters are doing what they’re doing, they lose the thread.

The three most common action–reaction misfires I see in manuscripts are:

1. Missing or insufficient reactions
2. Jumbled responses
3. Purposely obscured stimuli

My latest post as a resident writing coach at Writers Helping Writers explains what to do about these action-reaction misfires.

  • What happens when characters appear indifferent
  • Layering internal reactions with external reactions
  • Voluntary vs. involuntary reactions
  • Maintaining the physiological chain of responses
  • Mysterioso Syndrome—the refusal to show what the characters are clearly reacting to

Visit Writers Helping Writers to read—

3 Action-Reaction Misfires

That Flatten Your Writing

Related: The secret to authentic character voice

Related: Revealing emotion means more than “playing the organ”

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