Cascade of Events

I had to clear the dishes out of my kitchen this evening, in order to allow for pest control to come and do their work.  This is not a fun task, but I found something interesting about it that does apply to writing.  Bear with me; we’ll get to the connection eventually.

In order to empty cabinets, I needed someplace to put dishes, pots, and cutting boards.  I really wanted to stack things on surfaces as much as possible, rather than packing them into boxes.  I mean, they’re only going to be out for a day; it’s not like I’m moving.  Clearly this plan required clear surfaces.  Thus, in order to vacate my kitchen, I had to put away clean laundry, organize my desk, and finally find homes (however temporary) for several items that had been languishing on my dresser.  It felt strange to be cleaning my bedroom when the goal was evacuating the kitchen, but the process made sense.

This is not the first time I have encountered a necessary cascade of events, when the urgent task couldn’t be completed until several other, seemingly unrelated tasks were complete.  This process is very common in nature, in our offices, and in our real day-to-day lives, but we often forget it in our writing.

(See, I told you it related to writing!)

Finding the cascade of random events that leads to the final, climatic moment can be fun!  Not everything in your book needs to be obviously related to the plot; it’s the extraneous characters and events that are often the most interesting.  And they can, in the end, lead nicely to the final conclusion.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. deshipley
    Nov 04, 2011 @ 17:54:17

    Nothing like an expertly-woven cascade to earn a speechless slow-clap for the genius author. (:

    Reply

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