Archive for the 'Writing Action' Category

Oct 09 2010

Does your story include serious violence? Check out this profile of life in a trauma ward

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

When a patient gets stabbed or shot, they’re usually sent to a trauma ward.  So I think this article in The Detroit News might be useful to you if you’re writing a story where a character gets violently injured.  (Ahem–such situations are not exactly uncommon in superhero stories).

“Feeling is believing,” [the head trauma surgeon] tells a glassy-eyed intern as he fishes around in a knife wound in the back of a man’s knee, trying to augur whether its damage to the vein or the artery.  Watching [the doctor] operate shatters the illusions of TV medicine….

For [one thing], when he operates it is not the stuff of daintiness accompanied by the subdued pings of the EKG machine. He is often elbows deep inside the victim’s cavity, tugging and rooting around as if he’s lost a set of keys. And then there is his bedside manner, which is not so much sympathetic clucking, but rather a combination of pugilism and cold-water truth that has an odd but soothing effect on the patient….

And in the pursuit of saving lives, [the doctor] has donated his life. At 46, he has consistently worked 100 hours per week for more than two decades, which would make him 70 years old in working years. He plays no golf, reads no novels, has few friends and spends more time at the hospital than with his wife and three children.

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Apr 22 2010

Pet Peeve: Unprepared Characters That Should Know Better

I hate it when characters that are experienced and/or (supposedly) competent fail to plan ahead.

1.  Does the character try to plan for the superpowers and capabilities of their opponents? On Heroes, allegedly competent and well-equipped organizations routinely stumbled into slaughterfests because they used SWAT-style raids to try to overrun targets with crazy powers.  Let me lay this out right now: any plan that involves close-range combat with somebody that can outrun a fighter jet or stop time is idiotic!  As soon as the target sees anything, (s)he turns on his/her superpower and everybody else dies.  A better plan would be something like killing the target by long-range, perhaps by sniper rifle or bombing the house while the target is asleep.   Alternately, you could interfere with the character’s ability to use his powers.  (On Heroes, it is amazing how rarely the Company uses the power-nullifying Haitian).

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11 responses so far

Apr 03 2009

How to Pace a Scene More Quickly

Action sequences and other intense scenes usually need to be fast-paced.  Here are a variety of tips to help you pick up the pace.

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51 responses so far

Apr 02 2008

Site Update: Review of SIWBI

I have overhauled my review of Soon I Will Be Invincible. I cut its length by about a quarter (from 2750 to about 2000 words). It is now down to a hair over 2000 words (instead of ~2750) and Davis was kind enough to reformat it for me.

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Mar 02 2008

Writing Action Vs. Writing a Story

This piece describes how to write the right amount of action for a book.

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35 responses so far