I wrote about 600 words last night, and I was attempting to use the Motivational Reaction Units (MRU) style. The idea is that the narrative follows this format:
Event (motivation) happens. It’s something that anyone in the room or scene could see or hear or sense. For example, Elsa, Anna, and Olaf walked into the room.
Characters react instinctively; then with thoughts; then words.
The protagonist first reacts instinctively. Taylor threw up her hands. This happens first because it’s the natural reaction, the instant reaction.
What is that? she thought.
Then she finds her voice: “A walking, talking snowman?” she asked.
Let’s view that as one unit:
Elsa, Anna, and Olaf walked into the room. Taylor threw up her hands. What is that? Taylor thought. “A walking, talking snowman?” she asked.
Then you repeat the format. What would happen next in a scene where a young pop singer meets the cast of Frozen and they’re real? Remember the format:
By making up these motivational-reaction-units, you will create strings of an interesting narrative, in the sense that each one will move the story along in a brisk manner. Taking the elements out of order is jarring to the reader. The order is exactly how it would be done in a movie. You don’t hear speech and then see a reaction. It’s the other way around.
Sure, it’s easy to say, but does it work? And does great literature employ it? What about great fiction? If I go to Mr. Tolkien’s opus and try to match this method up to his fiction, is the template going to fit, or did he do something different? You’re saying, but, but, that’s TOLKIEN, dude, that’s different, he can break rules because he’s the man. So what? Does he have a good commercial sales technique, does he employ MRUs or not? And if he does something different, why does it work and what is his method?
And does any combat vet pan his books by saying, “Tolkein doesn’t know squat about cavalry charges, everyone knows who’s done one that it isn’t like what he wrote.” or “Helm’s Deep was totally unrealistic, I fight in the SCA and that’s not how combat really is.”
As a side note, the Hobbit clearly doesn’t utilize the Scene/Sequel format.
Back to MRUs. I am doing my best with them, but then my characters want to talk to each other and it doesn’t fit the MRU template. Maybe it does. Is this a format you have attempted, and if so, was it successful or was it an exercise?