When it comes to writing a story, the big action scenes often receive a lot of attention. Characters are making decisions, taking actions, and experiencing consequences. These moments are filled with conflict, tension, and high stakes, which are all crucial elements of a compelling story.
However, the most impactful moments in a story are not the actions themselves, but rather the reactions of the characters to those actions. Character reactions play a critical role in determining the significance of events in a story and serve as the measure that readers use to gauge the importance of a scene.
Let’s take the example of a volcanic eruption at Yellowstone. This event is certainly significant and could have a major impact on the story, especially if the protagonist’s brother is missing in the disaster area. But if the protagonist hears the news and goes about his daily life without taking any action or showing any concern, readers may question the significance of the event.
It is essential that you met every significant action in a story with an equally significant reaction from the characters. If the characters don’t react appropriately, the action, no matter how impressive, will fall flat and deemed inconsequential by the readers. A mismatch between the readers’ understanding of events and the characters’ reactions can lead to frustration and may even cause readers to abandon the book.
In conclusion, character reactions are an essential aspect of storytelling. They provide the readers with a way to understand a scene’s impact and should receive an equal amount of importance as the action itself. By paying attention to character reactions, writers can ensure that their stories are compelling, engaging, and impactful.