Saturday, March 5, 2016

March's Challenge: Lights, Camera, Action/Adventure/Thriller!

Oh my goodness, guys. It has been so long since I posted. I am so sorry. Cue rush of excuses.

I...procrastinated.

Great first excuse, Faith! Way to go! Really up there with the best of them!

Okay, okay, fine. After I procrastinated, I ran into the Week Before Spring Break, otherwise known as the Week of Trials, Tests, and Papers. During this week I actually forced myself not to write, so I could up my chances of Not Failing. My goal was to not even think about writing, although that didn’t go so well. I kept snapping out of daydreams like, “Darn it.”

It was liking losing the Game. Like you just did.

Although I didn’t formally finish my story, I did write something, and that’s the important part. You can find what I did write here, on Wattpad.

And now that romance is over, we’re moving onto March’s challenge: action/adventure/thriller!

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:9x21_SR2MP_submachine_gun_01.jpg
Made with pixlr

Welcome to action/adventure/thriller, a genre which once again, I have never written or even really read. (You start to wonder why I’m the one leading this thing. I start to answer that I’m learning through this as much as you are. Put up with it.) Even so, we’ve all read or watched action scenes, and I’ll list some aspects of those which especially stand out to me.

  1. Run-on Sentences. Okay, maybe not the textbook definition of a run-on sentence. But we’ve all been caught up in a scene where an arrow flew past the hero’s head and he turned around to face a horde of angry goblin archers and he turned to run but caught his foot on a rock and he crashed onto the ground and blood spurted as goblins charged overhead and one leapt on him and stabbed. As I recall, J.K. Rowling uses this approach in the Harry Potter series, and I absolutely love it. You can’t go on and on in every action scene, or it would get old, but saving the plethora of and’s for the moment of ultimate confusion is one of my favorite techniques ever.
  2. Violence. I did get kind of violent in my example up there. I don’t think you can write an action scene about knitting, unless one of the needles goes berserk. (If you do this, kudos. Tell me.) I think of the chase scenes from BBC’s Sherlock, which often end in a fight scene. Moviemakers have music as an extra tool to create intensity, but writers have to create a violent, tense mood using only words.
  3. High stakes. The most actiony action scenes happen at the climax, right before the hero reaches his or her goal. If they win this fight, they get what they’ve been fighting for. If they lose, things really suck. In Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys, many of the action scenes are life-or-death situations. (On second though, I guess I have read some action. Yay me!)

If you’re a newbie to this action stuff, I encourage you to do your own research before writing. But before you go, I’ve collected a few more tips from the Internet for you.

  1. Lack of Character Development. Think Hardy Boys: there’s really not that much character development going on in action stories. The Hardys don’t suffer any inner crises because of what they’re going through. In fact, they don’t even get out of high school. Instead, the story focuses on external conflict. (Source: http://classroom.synonym.com/write-adventure-story-4258.html)
  2. Location. This is one I hadn’t thought about. According to author David Wood, action/adventure/thriller is a wish-fulfillment genre, in a way, so readers like visiting locations they have always dreamed about. (Source: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2011/08/10/writing-thrillers-david-wood/)
  3. Single Life. Another one that surprised me. Apparently “availability” is more important for wish-fulfillment than is a steady relationship. I guess I can see that. Also, a romantic interest is a really good person to kill for emotional reasons. Please never take that last sentence out of context. (Source: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2011/08/10/writing-thrillers-david-wood/)

Here’s to less procrastination than last month. Happy thrilling, everyone!

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