I have talked some about reactive writing. In short, reactive writing is where you don’t let things wash over a person, but instead have the character react, or something bad happen, at every possible moment. This takes a lot of work and a lot of skill, but it is effective at writing a really good piece eventually.
Yesterday, I watched an episode of Caprica, which you can find here, The best thing about it is that you don’t really need to know what is going on in the story to see what I mean, except that the holobands (the bands they have around their head, brings people into a virtual word. Zoey, the daughter, is really a computer generated representative of their daughter who has a personality of her own.
What you really need to look at, however, is Clarice’s rule in the story, along with the two guys. Here you find a good example of how many things can go wrong.
- They have a plan. Break in, block transmissions out, cut power. No big deal. In and out in no time.
- They break in. Discover a robot servant. They shoot robot servant but robot servant calls 911.
- They head towards where Greystones are, only to have a security door fall in place.
- They try to bypass the security door, but the genius person is having some problems since it isn’t like he’s ever experienced before.
- They open the security door, only to find another door.
- Guy starts to bypass second door, puts in some kind of explosion and gets his hand caught on fire.
- They get the door open, and capture the people. Finally things are looking up. However, the robot comes back to life and takes a swing at the people. The people run. Plan fails.
Now, as I’m writing this I’m realize there isn’t a lot of reaction on the robbers part, but there is still a lot of reaction or things going wrong.
My sister commented on that with one story I wrote called Miles’ Love. No. It’s not here. I haven’t edited it enough yet because I don’t like it. However, in it Miles gets captured and escapes with his girlfriend. However, nothing bad happens once they escape. They walk a lot, yes, but that’s it. No last minute chase. No need for Miles to shoot someone. Nothing. They just escape and live happily ever after.
Hopefully this helps point you in the direction of how to get a clue about writing reactively. I could give you some more examples from my own writing, both how it works well and when it hasn’t worked out well, but a) a lot of them come from my mermaid novel and b) I don’t want to bore you.