Posted in Writing

Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect Blog postMany years I go, I heard a really good piece of advice. Or maybe I read it somewhere but I can’t remember the exact details. However, I will say that that advice stuck with me even now. It floats around in my head and pops up when I’m writing or reading over someone else’s work.

As I write this, I suddenly remembered that I read about the advice while researching how to write action.  That piece of advice is this “cause and effect”. Something happens before something else. Or another way to say it: there’s an action and then the consequences.

Take a look at the sentence that follows:

“Ron stumbled back as Henry punched him.”

The punch should come first and then the stumbling. At least, that is how I see it. It wouldn’t make much sense that someone would drown before falling into the water either or someone falling before tripping down some stairs.

Action isn’t the only thing that I use this advice for. I also use this when I writing in general. It’s how I create tension and conflict. If a character says something (cause) others will react differently (effect). It’s a fact that there are consequences for everything. Some might be mild, but others aren’t. I find it that this keeps my characters human. It means that they have real emotions and they react like human beings. They aren’t just filling up space. They have purpose.

Plus, I find it helpful to make a list of all the actions and their consequences so that I may, not only remember all the tiny details, but also so that I can bring that into the story along the way. Maybe a character holds a grudge over what was said. I have to remember what was said first in order to further develop that. That list of action and consequences aka cause and effect also helps with plotting. While it might not help for all instances, it can help for some.

For example, the protagonist is part of a special suit unit and they have a job somewhere. They jump out of a transport. Said protagonist suffers a malfunction and is seperated from the group. Now, we have consequences. If the protagonist can’t reboot her/his suit fast enough, they’ll be a pancake. Drama. Tension.

This is just but one example. Another I can think of is when it doesn’t involve actual writing instead. How can that be? The Cause and Effect list that I mentioned can be used before any writing begins.

Maybe you have a story in mind but you don’t know where to start. Write

I’ll use one of my stories for this. It’s has low sci-fi western vibe to it.

My protagonist is in a desert with enough provisions for himself. He comes across another human being, hurt and starving. Now, he has to ask himself  ‘do I help and deplete my resources faster or do I continue on my way?’ Not only is this a great situation to showcase the protagonist’s personality but it builds up to the potential consequences of running low on food. There’s also perhaps the mental trauma of leaving someone to die. In the end, my protagonist does help and now I have a lot of things to work with as the consequences unfold.

So, remember: action and then consequence. Cause and effect.

Posted in Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt – Game Over

 

Game Over
Find Source Here

I took a shuddering breath. My lungs felt like they were about to cave in. What was this? I must be seeing things. There was no way this was a video game. Stuff like this didn’t happen in real life. This was real and I knew I was going to die. There was no way around that.

Somehow I managed to look away from the screen. There were figures around my bed but I couldn’t tell who they were. One of them held my hand, squeezing tightly. I felt their warmth but didn’t have the strength to squeeze back. Their voice sounded familiar but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. There were two others by the foot of the bed. I couldn’t recognize their faces either.

My memory was a bit hazy. I remember an accident and that my parents had been with me. No one had told me about them and I couldn’t manage to. Would they tell me if I asked? I couldn’t move either. My strength faded with each passing moment.

Again the screen flashed with the two options.

Maybe I was crazy for entertaining the thought. It wasn’t like I had any regrets. I got into a good college and attended school for two years, but I hadn’t enrolled for the next semester. There wasn’t anything I wanted to be. I’d thought if I took some time off, I could decide.

My parents had been okay with it. It’s why we decided to go on a family vacation . . . but then the accident happened. It was all coming back to me. And I knew, deep down, even if no one told me, that my parents were gone.

At the thought, my throat squeezed painfully. There was no point in staying then. There was nothing for me here.

Tiredly, I looked at the screen again. ‘Try again’ or ‘End Game’, huh? The decision was easy enough.

End Game.

Gradually, my vision darkened. The darkness started from the corners of my vision. It spread towards the center, darkening the blurred figures. Finally, the darkness reached the center and my vision went black.

Posted in Resources, Writing

Unnecessary Characters – Are they necessary?

 

unnecessary characters
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One of the things I try to look out for in my writing is unnecessary characters. Sure, as writers, we must populate the story but when is it too much? How can we identify these unnecessary characters?

I like to use the sexy lamp test. This test doesn’t apply only to the relevance of a female character, it applies to other characters as well. If you can replace a character with someone else – or a lamp in this case – they aren’t necessary. The test can also be applied to your main characters.

If, for some reason, you really want a certain character in the story because they bring something unique then, maybe the character needs more work. Flesh them out. Every character has some sort of motivation that gets them through the day and if after all that, the character still doesn’t work then, cut them. You can always recycle them for later.

 

 

Posted in Resources, Writing

Food Timeline

food history

Now that I’m feeling better, I can put this put. It’s a neat image that I found on Pinterest. The website gives you a timeline on Food, where specific food began, and the start recipes with certain food items. This is a great tool if, like me, gets obsessed over learning if people ate ice-cream during a certain period of time or not.

Posted in Writing

On the Road to Recovery

I’ve been MIA for the last week. Most of that is my fault. Planning a wedding is probably the hardest thing I have ever done. I’ve narrowed it done to two venues but I have to wait and see about that pricing if you know what I’m saying.

More good news. I began writing and publishing the sequel to The Vampire Prince goes to High School on wattpad. As I mentioned, I don’t think it’s the greatest work out there and it is terrible and so cringy but my fans think it’s perfect. It’s because of them that I’m even writing a sequel. I have enough material to write a sequel and shouldn’t have trouble writing but, at the same time, I can’t help but feel that I’m going to have a tough time creating content weekly.

To top it all off, I was even told that my better written story, and also published on wattpad, (Crimson Queen) showed a lot of potential and should be edited. I don’t know how to feel about that.

But I can tell you how I feel health wise. I feel terrible. So, my finace started clinicals for nursing school and goes to a hospital for twelve hours or less. He comes home and starts hacking up a lung. Well, I breathe the same air and bang, I’m done for the count. I’m not as bad as him and he has medication but, at the same, I laid in bed and on the couch a few days because I feel terrible.

The road to recovery is slow. Hopefully, I get better soon.