Jump Off the Bridge

When your protagonist has reached a decision about his or her next course of action, it’s important for that individual to take immediate action.

Stalling at this point accomplishes nothing except reader frustration. Yet I see this mistake repeated often in student fiction. Polly Protagonist has dried her tears, weighed her options, and decided what she’ll do next.

Ah, good, thinks Rita Reader. Atta girl! You get out there and take action! Let’s go!

Instead, in the hands of the unskilled writer, Polly Protagonist immediately calls her best friend and they yak in a bar for eight pages about how miserable they are.

Phooey!

What’s happened to the plot? It’s fizzled. All the building of the reader’s anticipation during the sequel has been wasted effort.

Writing tip: Fiction isn’t real life, where people talk and procrastinate in order to avoid taking risks.

Your protagonist must take action on the decision. Anything less is a disappointment. Too many disappointments in your story will crash it.

Also, when you don’t write the action that should happen next, you’ll find yourself losing your way. Stay on track.

This isn’t to say that you can’t be unpredictable in what’s going to transpire. Plot twists can work beautifully here.

Just get your protagonist off the sequel bridge and back into scene action.

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