Plot is based on character action. Nothing happens unless your characters act.
That’s true in story and it’s true in life. Everything we do – we do for a purpose. The purpose might be simple, like getting a glass of water, or it might be more significant, like running for President of the United States, but in either case we take action in order to achieve something.
The thing to remember is, when we take action in life, or when our characters take action in our story, there will be a reaction. If you sleep with your best friend’s wife, there will be a reaction. If you steal the Golden Fleece, there will be a reaction. If you attack the size of Donald Trump’s hands, there will be a reaction.
Things do not happen in a vacuum.
No journey is without opposition and resistance.
Words and physical behaviour, whether real or in fiction, have an emotional impact on others.
If Romeo declares his love for Juliet then how Juliet responds to that action will depend on how Juliet feels about Romeo. And Juliet’s response will have an emotional impact on Romeo.
If she says, “No, I don’t love you,” then Romeo can give up and we have a very short story, or he can try a new strategy to win her heart. But he can only win her heart by taking action. And it is usually better in life and in story to take action than to wait for something to happen.
Your plot in your novel, or your film, or your play is a series of character actions and reactions.
Action = reaction = action all the way to the end of your story.
Other blog posts you might be interested in:
Hungry Characters: We don’t just hunger for food – we hunger for love, understanding, power, money, knowledge, and happiness.
Something Bad: Good people love bad characters. In life and in fiction the bigger the risk the bigger the consequences. That’s dramatic. That’s interesting. That’s compelling.