A Page-Turning Plot = A Character-In-Action (Secrets Of Narrative Drive), by Sarah Mussi
A plot driven by a character-in-action is the most compelling kind of story and the one that will most effectively create narrative drive. So I’m going to list a few things to consider around this point.
I’m suggesting that a page-turning plot = a character-in-action
If character is conveyed by the decisions a person makes under pressure, when faced with situations that force that person to the extreme, then pressure on someone is a precursor to motivation.
This leads me to :
Secrets of Narrative Drive
Secret Number 9
drum roll… tada!
Dramatic action is equal to decision
Since dramatic action, arising from character, is shown through the decisions someone makes, let’s look a little further at what kinds of decisions someone can make. Decisions in a novel can be:
- internal (resolutions), or
- external (actions).
External decisions are made by the character. They are proactive. They do not happen to the character, with the character’s actions treated as a function of things happening to them. The character’s decisions become the reader’s means of working out the character’s motivations. In other words:
- The goal of the character is shown in actions.
- Motivation is what makes the story dramatic.
- Obstacles are what creates conflict.
- A character-in-action with obstacles shows external or dramatic motivation.
- Why a character seeks out conflict shows internal motivation through goal orientation.
- This adds up to ‘something meaningful is going to happen’.
So how you can use this secret?
- Make sure your protagonist makes decisions that result in action.
- Make sure each decision to act takes your protagonist further toward their goal.
WATCH OUT FOR THE TENTH SECRET OF NARRATIVE DRIVE COMING UP IN MY NEXT POST