Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cause And Effect

For every action there is a cause and effect. This is vital to remember both as people and as writers. Something causes us or our characters to act in a particular way or to take a specific action. That action has an effect. To fully develop and understand that effect think of a pebble dropped into a pond. We as writers need to look not just at where the pebble dropped, but at the affect it's action had on the entire pond. If you are patient, sit long enough, and look hard enough, you'll see the ripples reach all the way over to the other side of the pond. Sure the ripple effect is reduced drastically by that time, so much so that it may be hard to see, but make no mistake, it is felt.

When you get stuck in a particular part of your story or want to add depth to a character or scene, think back on this pond. Imagine your character's action is like the pebble dropping into the pond, or your story. What effect does this action have on the entire manuscript as a whole?

Sometimes a boulder is dropped into the pond (or our story) and all seems completely hopeless for the character. No matter how much water is displaced, it will find it's way back into the pond, it will be filtered, enriched, and changed, but it will return. This holds true in life just as it does in our writing. That which seems irrevocably altered may in fact be, but what we end up with is just as amazing if not more than what we started with.


Author of The Secret Of Spruce KnollBorn Of FireChanneler's Choice, and To Ride A Puca. A short story of Heather's is also available in the free In His Eyes eBook anthology. 

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  1. Such a valuable thing to remember, and what a great way to get out of a spot when you feel hemmed in with nowhere to go. Thank you!

  2. A friend sent me about virtually the same advice about cause and effect in my WIP. Perhaps she read your post! :-D I've had to rewrite part of my WIP because I was not paying attention to the very principles you brought up (and of which she reminded me). So, I totally agree with you!!!

  3. I just noticed my comment was somewhat nonsensical. My friend sent me an e-mail about cause and effect. There. I hope that makes sense.

  4. Heather, so true. And boy I think I have several pebble dropping into the same pond on this fourth novel. Got something different going on, and showing some of the character's backgrounds--like Bill, and Vasyl. The cause and effect is perfect. The pitch for each one has to be felt some how.

    Great post and as usual, you hit on something I'm working on. (^;

  5. So true Heather. I love this. Thanks for a great reminder!!