Find the relationships in the scene; for example the presence of love, absence of love, betrayal of love etc. Who are the other persons in the story, in the relationship to your main character? Are they the mother, daughter, son, lover, husband, etc. What are your characters histories with this other characters? Don’t forget the characters relationship to their physical surroundings, the environment, and the things they own, steal, use and live around. We all have reactions to our surroundings; smells, sounds, touch and taste.
Use the ‘magic if’… if the character was such and such how would it react? This magic if makes your readership care about your characters, care about what happens to them. You achieve this by having the readers take on your character’s needs and goals as their own. This is call identifying with the role.
Relationships are not just with people; your characters also have to deal with the environment all around them. How they fit into the room, train, cars and how the other character change the environment. How often have we walked in to a space and felt lost, cold, welcomed and comfortable. We have relationships with food; drink… that nice hot chocolate or the bitter taste of cold coffee. How you use a weapon, the true weight of a gun might just surprise you. Take the time to live your characters environment when possible, your imagination can work wonders here when you use the ‘magic if’. Exercise that gray matter and let your child like wonder take you to the places, the events, those hair–raising moments you write about.
Fiction, stories and books compresses life, as the writer you must write the conflict as if the disasters were looming just around the corner. You must write the urgency that directs the action towards achieving your characters goals and winning their struggles. In a book, where a lifetime of meaning is compressed into a few pages of a story, you must make every moment count. That is when you want your readership grabbing for more of the story!
To Learn and sign up for the course: Learn Writing from Acting: with John Rakestraw!
John and Toni Rakestraw are the owners of Rakestraw Book Design. Toni is the editor; she keeps all those words in line. John is the voice of the company. He can often be found hosting Google+ Hangouts on writing and issues writers face online. Archives for his shows can be found on YouTube.