Can’t say this too often. Set up to write. No point in reading through this. Write through it.

5 Minutes each node. Several nodes in each section. Grab one and write!

The Call

As much as normal life sets your story stage, the call works to further expose yummy parts of your tale. Two paths work to expose the reader to your story’s foundation at once: The request -and- how your character responds. Here are tons of offers everyday, but this one holds the promise of change. Is it obvious? Maybe not immediately.

The introduction of a new idea or way of doing things challenges your character’s routine (as established in Normal Life).

A challenge that arrives by email, news program, gossip, witnessing an event, or personal discussion. It is something that says “Hey, what is your response to this?”

Express the call as action. Instead of saying it happened, show us how it happened.

Is it an invite to escape?

– Normal life

– Boredom

– Incarceration

– Leaving home

– Leaving relationship, parents, significant other, oppressor, enabler

Or to diving deeper to their everyday life?

Straightforward Call


Job offer (new or upgrade of existing)

Escape from bondage

Leaving home for any reason

Helping a friend in trouble

Indirect Call to Action

Not so straightforward:

Wrong Person Arrest



Stranger in Trouble

Blind Date / First Date

The key to it being indirect is how it arrives on our doorstep. Wasn’t something we planned to do and it is out of the scope of our normal life. This is something that happens to us, instead of because of us. Both have advantages and it is important to know which side of the fence you character stands so you may respond appropriately.


The Call - Action and Dialog

A flower is cut, a face slapped, eggs are broken into a hot frying pan, man smacks his fist into his open palm, welder flips up a blackened helmet to reveal a woman’s face, crying boy runs his thumbnail along the inside seam of his Levi’s, woman examines the man at her breakfast table, she prowls the shadows behind him, the hair on the back of his neck stiffens, white knuckles wrap around the handle, the hammer sings the wind a song…

These are all examples, but how do you make your own so they fit your work? Practice. Let’s start simple by alternating one line of your dialog with one line of action. Keep it simple:

Jerry walks in the front door and closes it behind him.

“Thanks for seeing me today.”

Jack balances his big arm cast and sits down slow in the middle of the couch. He gestures to a side chair.

“It is good to see another soul.”

Jerry sits on the edge of the chair, slides his satchel off his shoulder and onto the floor.

“How are you?”

Jack looks away and into the dark kitchen. Jerry follows his gaze, then returns to Jack.

“Lots of people ask.”

Jack looks at Jerry and considers him for a moment.

“Would you like some water?”


See how it works. You don’t have to say how anyone is feeling, you show some physical cues, just like we are sitting there. Play with it. Try it on a scene that you have already written or one that is scratching around in your head.

You can read about writing until the cows come home, but to get something written you have to write. It is how books get written.

Great thing about these exercises is you can do them over and/or you can do them for 10, 15, 30 minutes.

Do them in a way that works for you.

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