I’ve read through the comments of the last few days and wanted to answer a few questions that popped up. Let me highlight one sure-fire way to know if a paragraph is Motivation or Reaction.
A Motivation is objective and external (to the viewpoint character).
A Reaction is subjective and internal (to the viewpoint character).
Now a Motivation is definitely going to be something the viewpoint character can see or hear or feel or taste or smell, but it’s not necessary to tell the reader that. The reader is smart and knows that if you show us a flash of lightning, the viewpoint character can see it. So it’s never necessary to write, “Chuck saw a lightning bolt hit the ground three feet in front of him.” It’s sufficient to say, “A lightning bolt hit the ground three feet in front of Chuck.”
Now on to the questions that popped up:
Yeggy asked why I took out the time indicators such as “suddenly” and “before” when I critiqued Alie’s piece. The answer is that “suddenly” is generally a useless word which actually slows down the pace because the reader has to go through another 8 letters to get to the action. So it’s almost always better to eliminate it and just get on with the show. Likewise, the word “before” is almost always redundant, since if two things happen in sequence (one before the other), then you should write them in sequence. The reader is smart enough to know that one happens before the other. If you write them out of sequence, you’ll jar the reader, so it only makes sense to put them in order. Words matter! Extraneous words should be ruthlessly eliminated.
Joleena asked if I might have mislabeled which were Reactions and which were Motivations when I critiqued Caprice’s work. The answer is no, I labeled them the way I intended. I understand the confusion here, but my comments about a Motivation being “external and objective” and a Reaction being “internal and subjective” are apropo here.
Caprice asked if it’s plagiarism to just take my rewrite and stick it in her manuscript. The answer is no. Cut and paste all you want. Go ahead and send me a cut of your advance, too! I probably earned two cents there. I’ll take it in unmarked hundred dollar bills.
Finally, several people were interested in knowing who was outside that door in Yeggy’s piece. Me too! Who is that unseen knocker???
I’ll do another critique or two tomorrow.