Quick Tip: Use Causal Writing to Connect the Dots

Causal writing connects the beginning of your story to the end, meaning that each scene and chapter you write builds naturally from the one before it and causes the scene or chapter that follows.

Think of your writing as connected, one word to the next and one page after the other, just like a setup of dominos. When you hit the first domino, the entire structure falls right down to the very last piece because they are all perfectly aligned.

You can’t motivate your characters if your writing is not causal. Their motivations, just like your writing, must cause the next action and then the next. One external action causes another action. Causal writing keeps the characters’ actions focused toward the climax of the story.

After you’ve determined your main character’s primary external motivation, consider how it feeds into the rest of your story. Does it contribute in a clear way to additional motivating factors? If not, you’ll need to work on your character’s external motivation until it drives his actions directly toward his goal.

Excerpted from Breathing Life Into Your Characters © 2009 by RACHEL BALLON, with permission from Writer’s Digest Books.

This article appeared in the May/June issue of Writer’s Digest. Click here to order your copy in print. If you prefer a digital download of the issue, click here.

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