Thursday, May 22, 2014
Write with Impact Definition: Action
“The fiction writer must take responsibility for choosing how the reader will experience the story, because the choices the writer makes will, according to Schorer, be the story’s meaning.” Jack Hodgins
The cause-effect structure decisions will impact your reader’s emotional experience. Hodgins says we are like floor designers who decide what kind of journey it will be. If we push our reader to a cosmetic counter via a fishmarket or a toy department, he says, we will leave quite a different impression. The writer needs to choose the techniques that will allow the strength of the story to unfold organically—unique to itself.
Do we know who the murderer is from the beginning and watch how the detective brings him to justice, like an Inspector Columbo? Or do we analyze and deduce and ponder along with a Miss Marple? Each style will provide a different perspective both emotionally and mentally. What meaning do we want to linger long after?
The structure choices run throughout each scene. Jordan E. Rosenfeld notes that each scene is to mark an experience and not a lecture. The emphasis of each aspect should reflect the intended design. Intention=impact.
A suspense scene should open with immediate concern for your character. Action scenes need to be quick and intense driven with a sense of urgency. A dialogue scene carries a main purpose of revealing character or plot or backstory. Are your characters going to argue, accuse, declare love, plead for forgiveness, or lay down a challenge?
Think of the timeless stories you have know since childhood. What makes them stick? The ebb and flow of drama and stillness? The cadence of the reader or protagonist breathing their fear or purpose into your own heart beating alongside each step they take?
Word choices, atmosphere, tone and pacing can all be influenced by mythic qualities of significance. Sometimes one word will be sufficient. Sometimes an entire scene or chapter needs to be painted with precise brush strokes.
What do you want the reader to experience? What need so to linger long after the final page? Those decisions bring about action with impact.
Share: What action by a key character in a book or movie have you always remembered? Why?
Read deep, marcy