Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Action Packed Scenes

Last week, from Wednesday to Friday, I wrote about 4,600 words in my novel. WOOHOO!!!!! I felt like celebrating. The best part about it? It was easy, so easy. I started writing and a few hours later, BAM, 3,000 words. For some writers this is probably no big thing. For me, it is a big thing. Sometimes I slow myself down by agonizing over just the right word. Other times I just can't seem to figure out where my characters are going. But I knew where they were going last week so it was a simple thing to write that. 

There's another reason it was so easy, and this is the reason I want to talk about today. The scenes I was writing were action. Let me explain: In my novel the character has a jerk for a boyfriend. He's very obsessive. She's done with him but he isn't done with her. He decides he wants her, come hell or high water, and he's going to have her. So, what does he do? Well, he attacks her. And he's mean, not caring if he kills her. Yae! That's my kind of scene! Not because he's brutally violent but because there's a lot going on so it's a lot easier to write. And, because there's so much action, there are about a million adjectives that I can use to describe said action. If my character's are being chased in a scene, I can write like crazy. If they're having a beautiful romantic moment (yes, I'm a sucker for romance), I can breeze through the scene with a happy grin on my face because there's so much going on.
That being said, when I get to what I call a filler scene, I slug through it. If there's advice out there for stopping this, please share! These scenes are not really fillers. They're scenes that keep the novel moving, reveal more of the plot, teach the character something. I'd love to do all of this with crazy action scenes, but I think if I had a book that was only action, eventually I'd be bored to tears with action.
And the scenes aren't sluggish. There is stuff happening, but it's just not action-packed or love-packed or drama-packed. It's two characters, one major and one minor (though the minor has important info that needs to be shared) sitting at a desk or conversing over a cup of coffee or breakfast. They're sitting, not doing much, but through the dialogue important plot elements are introduced. This is how I do it. I think it gives the book a certain ebb and flow that's necessary for the advancement of any novel. The reader gets hit with emotion then gets a moment to calm down before the next emotional element is introduced. This, in my opinion, sets the pace of the story. It lets the reader know the character is safe or unsafe, happy or sad, losing or winning. As the conflict for the character increases, so do the emotional scenes. They get more frequent and more gripping. Like a woman in labor, the novel progresses, getting more and more intense, until the climax (birth) and then the calm comes. So, that's how I do it. I'd love love love to hear the opinions of other writers out there. How do you do it? How do your filler scenes work (I'm sure there's a better name for them then that, but oh well)? What type of scenes do you breeze through because they're so easy?

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