The F.A.D That Never Ends–Character Reaction

F.A.D. stands for feeling, action, and dialogue. Whenever anything happens (motivation), this is the order your character’s reaction should take. (F.A.S.–speech instead of dialogue, proved less popular)

It’s based on two things: on paper, there is no simultaneous. Everything must be in sequence, for simultaneous the best an author can do is “Meanwhile, back on the ranch…” And, this FAD sequence duplicates our response in real life.

So you have something happen.
The quake sent rocks rattling down the slope. (Motivation)
(Reaction) Fear gripped Helen, (feeling)
who floored the Honda’s accelerator. (action)
“Hang on, and pray.” She yelled to the twins… (dialogue)

Yes, it’s that simple. Motivation/reaction. Something else happens, again a response. That is the building block a story consists of. Each can be written simply, or elaborately.

Not all steps have to be there every time. A long chase scene might skip dialogue for several motivation/response units, for example. But, do not skip or delay feeling. Your story is one of emotion, feeling must be present throughout.

Need more? Go to Techniques of the Selling Writer, by Dwight Swain, for expanded discussion, more examples.

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Beginning Write

Began writing at 12, and began compulsively reading every writing book and magazine I could get my hands on. It's been a great hobby that I've enjoyed and now wish to share. I've led two writing groups, been a part of many more, and see this blog as an extension of that.

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