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Old 06-13-2010, 11:40 PM   #1
jaxx6166
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Advice on Action

Fellow authors (and spammers):

I need a hand again. I'm currently working on a chase scene / chapter in my novel and am having trouble with it.

Here's my outline of the chapter Each scene broken down:

Quote:
05.01
They wake up and set out again. It starts to rain and the waters run into the path, making travel dangerous. They duck into a nearby cave to wait out the storm. It is an old gold mine that hasn't been used in years. As they explore the cave, there is something just out of sight that seems to be watching them. It is a monster.

05.02
They head deeper into the cave and hear gunshots. There is another way out of the cave. They try to head out to the other end of the cave. The further they go, the louder the sounds of the fight get. There is a monster that is teased at here, but we do not see it this chapter. They head deeper into the mineshaft and it attacks.

05.03
The chase is on. They run for their lives. The monster absolutely destroys Robin's company one by one until just Jake and Robin are left. They barely make it out of the cave alive as they run towards the light at the end of the tunnel. It's there they catch their breath and the battle begins.

05.04
There is light at the end of the tunnel, they head towards it and find themselves in a beautiful valley full of trees and flowers. The rain has slowed to a light drizzle. They wander around to get to the other side when they hear the blood curtling screams again. They rush towards them to find they are face to face with a monster.
I've got the first two scenes done and am just now getting to 05.03 but I ran out of steam after 281 words. I'm aiming for the scene to run around 1,500...and I'm stuck. I had originally planned on having the monster slowly revealed through the chase, piece by piece until they finally meet in their fight during Ch 6.

I think I may be going about this the wrong way...any ideas on how to fix this? I spoiler wrapped the actual text I have for 05.03 so far..Karma cookies for my new hero(es) =)

Spoiler:
Quote:
The path beneath was hard and sharp. Spiked stone cut though his boots, ripping his toes to shreds. It didn’t matter. Pain didn’t matter. His blood was running cold, ice pooling in his veins. The darkness was no longer comforting, there was no reassurance. For if there was one, there had to be more. It was universally known. Where there’s one, plan for two. Or three. Oh shit. Could there be three? No. There couldn’t be. Even one was damn impossible. But here it was. The terror of the wastes, in the flesh and bone. And for once, the tales were an understatement. It was a massive monstrosity. And it was barreling down the narrow path right towards them.

And it was hungry.

He didn’t dare waste time looking back. He knew it was there. And the two seconds it’d take to twist his trunk and take a peak were two more seconds he could be running for his life. Rocks shot through the path, stabbing through the earth. He vaulted over one and heard it shatter behind him as the beast barreled through it. He didn’t know which way was up anymore. Running in darkness, not knowing whether you were coming or going, it was nerve wracking. It was compounded more by the beast behind him trying to eat his face.

Robin was lagging behind. Her labored breathing was getting more and more distant. He stopped for a second, hoped he could get back to going.

“Run!” He screamed, scooping her flailing body up from under the great hooves of the thing behind him. He pushed on, but he running out of steam. He couldn’t go much farther. And with the added weight of Robin on his shoulders, he wouldn’t last much longer.

The stomping slowed. The earth stopped shaking.
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Old 06-14-2010, 03:51 AM   #2
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Use the action/reaction patterning for this as you would any other part of your novel. Using this patterning will ensure that you move forward and don't get stuck. Your p.ov. character will go through three distinct motions (but not necessarily all three every single time)

emotion, logic, action

Emotion is an instantaneous reaction by your p.o.v character.
Logic is the either/or proposition of what to do next, bargaining.
Action speaks for itself (includes dialogue also)

You don't need all three all the time, but you must have at least one.


--------------------------------------------------------

Action: A scream bounced off the wet interior of the cave. Sounded like it was a thousand miles away and in the same instant just over Johnny Character's shoulder.

Reaction: (Emotional) Fear grabbed Johnny around the throat and clamped down hard. His breath came in short, damp gasps, if it could be called breathing at all. (Logic) Was that Sue Character screaming back there? Was that the voice of the girl he'd invited on this doomed trip? Sounded like her. Sounded like everyone he'd ever known. But what could he do, turn around and face whatever was behind them in the dark? Was he even capable of that kind of heroism? Hero or not he couldn't just ignore that scream, could he? He couldn't keep pushing on, knowing that one of his crew was in trouble. (action) Johnny Character balled his fists together and turned to face the darkness. He took another damp, struggling breath....

ACTION: The scream cut short. It was there and then gone. Now there was only silence and what lived in that silence.

REACTION: (Emotion) Heart beating a stampede, (action) Johnny rushed into the dark.

ACTiON: "Johnny?"

REACTION: (action) Johnny stopped dead. "Sue? Is that you?"

ACTION: "I'm hurt, Johnny. I'm hurt really bad."

REACTION: (emotion) A knife twisted in Johnny's gut and carved into the handle was a single word: guilt. (logic) What was he thinking bringing Sue along? The little head leading the big head again, sure, he knew that. But he knew the dangers too. He knew this wasn't a picnic. And now? What was he to do now? (action) "Just wait there, I'm coming," Johnny shouted, "don't move. Just keep shouting out to me."

ACTiON: The darkness shifted, growled, it was like the hot summer wind had found the interior of the tunnel and was blowing through. But this was no wind. The heat, the sound belonged to the beast.

And on and on.....


-------------------------------------------------------------------



Now you just carry on with that pattern. Action/reaction. Action/Reaction. Scene ends when it looks like there's no possible action that can be taken to get them out of the situation.

Of course, as always, YMMV.

EDIT: I didn't read the spoiler, so that's why my interpretation is vastly different, also I don't believe changing anything about your actual text would be beneficial (that's YOUR writing, don't let any bugger touch it).

EDIT 2: And if you ever find yourself running out of steam, do this little exercise.

Ask what your main character wants. Write it down in a sentence like this:

Johnny Character wants to get the crew out of the cave alive.

Then you do everything in your power to make sure that the want is denied. You'll be up and writing again in seconds.

Last edited by Moejoe; 06-14-2010 at 04:21 AM.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:12 PM   #3
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Ever the hero, MJ.

Thanks for being here!
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:52 AM   #4
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Edit.

Last edited by dadioflex; 12-15-2010 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:31 AM   #5
Moejoe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxx6166 View Post
Ever the hero, MJ.

Thanks for being here!
No probs. I love these threads where we can get together as writers and go at the craft with each other. (Better than all that spammy crap - Buy my Book it's eleventy-twelve pounds only for the next pico second!!! - they should rename this part of the website SHAMELESS AND DULL PROMOTION CORNER )
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:29 AM   #6
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I loved Michael Newton's book "How to Write Action Adventure Novels" from Writers Digest Books. It came out in 1989, so the advice about the market will be out of date. Still, the basic information is helpful to any novelists who want to write action scenes, suspense, etc. It was also just plain fun to read as Newton didn't mince words about action writers he didn't like.

There are used copies out there, and of course, your library might have it.
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