Character Actions: Should There Be a Reason Why?

Andrea Lundgren

Characters do all kinds of things in fiction. Their actions make up the stories we write, and if they did nothing…it’d be pretty boring.

But how much motivation should there be in what they do? Do you, as the author, need to always know why they’re doing it, or can they just “do something for doing it”?

Let’s take a look at a scene and see how it works.

She walked over to the glass. On the other side was a habitat, all sand and rocks with only a few scaly plants, the surface of their stems mirroring that of the creature who should’ve been inside.

Slowly, she touched the glass. Her hand stayed there for a long moment, not moving, in firm but gentle contact against the clear silica-based partition until it slowly began to warm to her touch.

Then she backed away.

Now, we, as readers, don’t need…

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2 thoughts on “Character Actions: Should There Be a Reason Why?

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  1. Well, certain actions, yes, some are self-explanatory: walking, sitting, stretching, even sex. I think authors know when to explain an action, but it should really lead on from something else. If for instance, a character suddenly jumped off a cliff we’d want to know why, of there was no reason, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

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