To be carried along downstream, or to fight against the rocks, branches, and everything else

I’ve been thinking a lot about reactive writing. See, I read that in general, a story can be made up of three basic crises, and each one with the possible exception of the first one caused by the character reacting to the previous crisis, and thus causing the next one.

Initially, I thought that was ridiculous. You don’t need a few good crises tossed in to make a story. You need complications.

But what is complication?

Allow a momentary side note on my part. I quoted someone who said that your life doesn’t make a good life story. This is true, and I’m going to explain the reason why this relates.

In writing, we can’t just let the problems and complications wash over the hero, and the hero does nothing. That’s why writing a story about my time n school doesn’t work. Yes–things happen. But I don’t react strongly enough to how they react. So I don’t have the money for tuition this semester, well, I’ll take out a loan. So now I get a chance at a special scholarship, well, I’ll submit the papers and see what happens. I don’t decide to cheat on the applications in hopes that no one else will notice, or sneak into the office and steal the other applications.

This is also why journeys don’t work well in writing. In general, a journey has things happen, but they don’t have things that the character can react to happening.

So my new name for this is reactive writing. A story can’t just be about how something happy happened. It has to be how something happened in which a character overreacted and caused even more of a problem.

Unfortunately,  I’m not doing so well at this in something I’m writing now, but hopefully with much editing it will come out.

So, how reactive is your writing?

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About Abigail

I'm an elementary education major at a college in the Midwest. I might graduate as early as December '13 but more likely May '14. I write when I can. I also knit on occasion, draw, do homework and contradict teachers to make people think. :)

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