Today I had to write a scene where Person X found out that Person Y did something horrible. So I had to figure out the most appropriate and believable reaction to this revelation. Easy right? Nope, not so much.
I always, always, always second guess a character’s reaction to a situation and my main concern is always:
“Is this a reaction that an actual person would have in reality?”
Sometimes I feel like I’ve gone too far into fiction and written something that a reader will definitely roll their eyes at. Sometimes I feel like the character is over-reacting and I’m like “Whoah, whoah take it down a notch Person X” haha.
But today as I was reading through my reaction scene (for the gabillionth time), I suddenly recalled Newton’s third Law of motion. Now you may start wondering what the hell kind of story is this that would induce thoughts of physics (lool, I actually started asking myself this question too and thought maybe I should reconsider the entire storyline and not just the reaction scene, anyway, I digress). Back to the point, Newton’s third law of motion is stated as follows:
“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
And this got me thinking:
If my action were, tasting a piping hot piece of meat straight from the pot whilst I’m still cooking resulting in my mouth burning up, then the equal and opposite reaction would be me rushing to drink a lot of cold water to cool it down. The cold water is what opposes the hot meat and the drinking opposes the eating haha. And what do you know, it is actually something believable that happens in reality!
So, I started thinking of all kinds of actions and their equal and opposite reactions (just for fun) and here’s a list of a few of my favorites:
Action: Walk into a sharp edged table and bang up your knee.
Reaction: Jump around backwards as far away as possible from the object of your pain.
(Well walking and jumping aren’t perfect opposites or equals but close enough and you would definitely jump backwards in a direction opposite to the table so that was accurate-ish).
Action: Steal someone’s loot and run off with it.
Reaction: Get chased to the ends of the earth.
(Now this is definitely equal, everyone is running, unfortunately for the thief the reactors aren’t running in the opposite direction).
Action: Stuff your face with waaayyy too much food.
Reaction: Puke your guts out
(Do I even need to explain this one?)
Action: Imbibe a bar’s worth of booze and swear to never stop drinking.
Reaction: Puke all the alcohol out, get a killer hangover and swear never to drink again.
Anyway from all this I formulated a method to help me work out actions and reactions, just apply Newton’s third law of motion!