While the title might suggest
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And if you master these simple principles for shaping great stories, your writing will be transformed forever. Everything in a story must be caused by the action or event that precedes it.
Because you might be surprised by how more careful attention to causation will improve your writing. As a fiction writer, you want your reader to always be emotionally present in the story. Stories that move forward naturally, cause to effect, keep the reader engrossed and flipping pages.
If you fail to do this, it can confuse readers, kill the pace and telegraph your weaknesses as a writer. With trembling fingers she locked the door. She knew the killer was on the other side. Then he reads on. Oh, I get it, the killer is on the other side.
If you find that one sentence is serving to explain what happened in the sentence that preceded it, you can usually improve the writing by reversing the order so that you render rather than explain the action.
The killer was on the other side of the door. She reached out with a trembling hand to lock it. The killer is on the other side of the door. Think about it this way: She locked the door because she knew the killer was on the other side.
If written in this order, the sentence moves from effect to cause. She knew the killer was on the other side of the door, so she locked it. Here, the stimulus leads naturally to her response. Of course, most of the time we leave out the words because and so, and these are very simplified examples—but you get the idea.
Remember in rendering more complex scenes that realizations and discoveries happen after actions, not before them. Continually move the story forward, rather than forcing yourself to flip backward to give the reason something occurred.
He began to doodle. Suddenly he gulped and stared around the room, embarrassed, when the teacher called on him to explain cause and effect structure.
This paragraph is a mess. As it stands, at least seven events occur, and none are in their logical order. Here is the order in which they actually happened: Greg sits in the workshop. Greg gets called on. He gulps and stares around the room Each event causes the one that follows it.
With all of that said, there are three exceptions, three times when you can move from effect to cause without shattering the spell of your story. First, in chapter or section breaks.
For example, you might begin a section by writing: Immediately, the reader will be curious who is screaming, at whom she is screaming, and why. If this same sentence appeared in the middle of a scene in progress, though, it would be wiser to move from cause to effect: He told her he was in love with another woman.
The second exception is when one action causes two or more simultaneous reactions. In the paragraph about Greg, he gulps and looks around the room. Because his embarrassment causes him to respond by both gulping and looking around, the order in which you tell the reader he did them could go either way.Wikipedia can be a great tool for learning and researching information.
However, as with all reference works, Wikipedia is not considered to be a reliable source as not everything in Wikipedia is accurate, comprehensive, or unbiased. Many of the general rules of thumb for conducting research apply to Wikipedia, including.
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The Purdue University Online Writing Lab serves writers from around the world and the Purdue University Writing Lab helps writers on Purdue's campus. "How to" Guideline series is coordinated by Helen Mongan-Rallis of the Education Department at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
TIP Sheet WRITING ABOUT NON-FICTION BOOKS. At some point in your college career you may be asked to review a non-fiction book to enable you to learn more about some aspect of your course work.