So, I was talking to a very dear friend of mine about natural laws. You know stuff like - for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Those laws are what they are because God created them to be that. When writing our MASTERPIECES we need to keep these firmly in mind. Action always results in consequences. Both for ourselves and our characters.
My friend, Brenda Minton, knows a whole lot more about the writing process than I do. She's one of those wonderful people who is very determined to have all the information she needs to be successful. While I spent a few years quietly trying to figure this mad writer's world out on my own, she found some fantastic writers willing to share their knowledge. That's not to say that Brenda didn't 'make it' on her own. She did, but in the process, she formed some friendships that have given her shoulders to lean on and sounding boards for her questions. While we were talking, yesterday, the subject of action and consequences came up. We weren't discussing writing, but somehow ended up discussing how our fiction should mimic real life. She brought up something about crafting scenes that completely missed the mark with me. Being me, I just dumbly nodded (we were on the phone!), and said, "Yep, it's exactly like that." Because, while I've never read anything about what she was describing, I knew instinctively that the concept is right. For every action our characters take, there must be a consequence for which they must take another action. This circular movement builds wider arcs as each action becomes more important, each consequence more life changing.
If you find that your manuscripts fall flat, or that they seem to drag when they should be moving along quickly, think about action and consequences. Ask yourself - what will the consequence of that action be? What decision will have to be made because of that? What action will have to be taken? How can I build the stakes, make each decision, each consequence more important than the next?