My cat Scooter is not happy with me. He’s had a bad stomach for days so this morning I took his food away from him. He’s sure that it he meows and prances ahead of me to the food place in the kitchen, I’ll feed him because, after all, that’s what I’m for. That’s what I do—whatever Mr. Scooter wants.
Have you ever TRIED to explain to a pet WHY you’re doing something? Cause and effect and reason aren’t their strong points.
As a writer, I know about cause and effect. A writer has to use very careful motivation. If a cat is sick and wants food but the owner gives him none, there is conflict. If a man is sick and the heroine gives him ice chips instead of the steak he wants, there is conflict.
In the very first book I attempted, I loved my characters so much that I didn’t give them any conflict. The book was short and dull. A writer lives on cause and effect which leads to conflict. We may not like it in our “real” lives, but we love to put our characters through the wringer. We torture our characters to make the book interesting, to draw the reader in.
Excuse me. Scooter wants my attention again. He's hungry (cause). He meows and I leap to my feet (effect).