Through the first eight sections of his book Rust Hills illuminates ways in which character and action are interconnected. He doesn’t say, “Here’s how you nail them together.” Instead, he says, “Here’s how these things relate to each other.”
How you connect character and action in any story is up to you. Hills doesn’t care what words you use for the two concepts, or how you go about integrating them through the specific details of the stories you have to tell. What he does want you to do is create a kind of seamless integration that goes well past the put-tab-A-in-slot-B construction that so many storytelling gurus and how-to-write authors champion.
Here Hills explains the effect of this kind of seamless integration on the reader:
The action of a story, then, takes a character past a decisive point down into one or another of the forks in the road. As a result of “what happens” there is one chance less that he can become anything other than what it is inevitable he will become.
The simple graphic in this section does a great job of explaining how this feeling of inevitability comes about in a story. Apart from specific choices and motivations, how a character responds to each crossroad or fork says something definitive about that character, and that’s what you want to dramatize for the reader. [ Read more ]