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The Action/Response link

Action and response is the DNA of all story.

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

Action and response are the heart of all stories. It is the DNA. If I had to strip story down to one concept, it would be action/response.

A character’s want is revealed in their action. They are doing something to get something. They are fighting, running, or arguing for something.

And something or someone responds by fighting, running, or arguing against them.

Action and response reveal want and obstacle.

But action and response are also linked. Any action leads to a response.

If a character punches someone else, it will cause a reaction. The other character might punch back, run away, cry, or do any number of things. To make it more complicated, the choice not to do anything is still a response.

Whatever that character does will lead to further responses and further actions until either your character gets what they want or they don’t

Action and response are forever linked; understanding them will help you embrace your story’s powerful and unpredictable potential.

David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.