Tactics

People use tactics to move their story forward. You do. I do. Story people do. We play for keeps. At the top of our game, no matter what. We deploy expertise, skills, history, myth, games, sex, manipulation, seduction, bribery, threats, warning; the past, present and future. You name it, we probably use it. Here’s the thing, though. When a writer crafts a tactic into a scene, bim-bam-boom, we got story. We got action. We got engagement. Any fiction. Any screenplay. Any theatrical play. Any poetry. Tactics activate story.

Story is provoked by desire/intention. But wanting something isn’t enough to produce story. A person taking on the world to get what they want isn’t story either. Story happens when desire forces a person to act on their present circumstances so that a recognition is produced. All the desire in the world doesn’t make a story. All the action in the world doesn’t either. But don’t cry in your soup, yet. Tactics are born of desire.

Desire plus action produces recognition. A recognition is an event. A move forward; a progression. An event is the reader’s/audience’s emotional experience of story people working their present circumstances to get what they want. A series of events stacked up one after the other equals story. Event’s the reason we all read literature, go to movies; it’s the money shot we all pay our $17 for. Tactics can provoke events.

Tactics are the reason we take this action or that action to get what we want. Intentions produce desire. And desires shove us into action. It’s when we actively seduce, manipulate, seduce, top, undermine that we have the chance of allowing surprise, discovery and a-ha‘s. A-ha moments (recognitions) produce new intentions, desires, actions, fresh recognitions/events and, of course, consequences. The way we writers can craft this organic algorithm for story is to allow story people to deploy tactics such as false/genuine expertise, historical evidence (personal, familial, geo-political); Game (Mums the word. Top this. Tag. Hide and Seek. Mother, May I? Simon Says and so on.) and so many more. Look around you. Right now. Watch the people near you. What are the tactics being deployed? Politeness? Choosing the right word? Biding their time? As story people deploy tactics intention, desire, actions, recognitions and their consequences must be activated. Boom-boom. We get event. We get story.

Try this: Two siblings have to make decision (e.g. which room, meal plan, doctor visits, etc.) about the care of their elderly parent. They are at an elder care facility.

Let each sibling use tactics to get the best for their parent. For instance, one sibling knows that it’s best for their parent to be on a largely vegetarian diet. The other knows that their parent needs red meat everyday. Write the scene. Remember, it’s not the outcome that we are here to read but the use of tactics. To what lengths will each deploy their expertise, seduction, threats, religious faith, hearsay, etc. to get the best for their parent? Go for it.

 

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