Action Shots

It always happens this way. Around 100 pages into a new book I start getting wibbly wobbly and depressed and thinking its crap etc. etc. Well, this book it’s happened a little differently. I like what I’ve turned out so far, and as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been turning it out in record time. But it dawned on me that, aside from wiping up the floor with Dave, I have no real reason to be writing this book.

Sure, I want to have the second novel in my series done before I sell the first one (Great advise courtesy the grand Ms. Lippman), but I haven’t even really started submitting the first one in earnest yet. But then I realized this was a different book for me. I’m mixing third and first person, which is teaching me quite a bit about pacing and voice, and so I wondered if there were other things I could be experimenting with.

One of my biggest weakness as a writer is action scenes. I love reading them and I love watching them on screen, but when I try them out on paper they always come off hockey and cliched and downright moronic at times. In the interest of trying to write the best novel possible, I’ve mostly stayed away from action scenes. But since I write in the PI genre, I had at least a couple in the first book and while they’re not as horrendous as they could be, they are far from the high points.

Back to the experimenting. I started thinking maybe I could use this book to learn my chops as an action writer. Since I don’t have a set deadline and since I’ve got quite a bit of time before this book would be on deck for submissions, this is the perfect opportunity to stretch myself without the pressure of a publishing career on the line.

And I still get to beat Dave. There’s nothing I don’t like about that.

7 thoughts on “Action Shots

  1. “Around 100 pages into a new book I start getting wibbly wobbly and depressed and thinking its crap etc. etc.”Ah! The Quertormous voodoo doll is working. Hey, Dave, I made one for you. Do you want it now, or should I send it to you for Christmas?Seriously, though, I picked up on that bit of wisdom imparted from Ms. Lippman before I’d met her.NORTHCOAST SHAKEDOWN did not go out until SECOND HAND GOODS was done. But now that SHG will have to function as the series’ debut, I’m prepping a follow-up and pondering rewrites to the book that would have finished that contract had the publisher survived.But then what do you do with standalones?

  2. I know what you mean, re: action scenes.But I think the best action scenes are the ones that take place in the reader’s mind. Too much description on the page can distract the reader, so I try to keep things to the bare minimum.I just finished a novel, and my three primary readers all commented on a particularly grisly action sequence as one of the strongest.I didn’t describe a word of it. It was all setup.

  3. I have to say I’m beginning to agree with Duane because I’m suffering the same problem as Bryon – writing them without going all schlock.

  4. Action scenes, especially close to the end of a book, are the most likely scenes I will skim read or bliss out on. As in, I absorb them but so many of them are cookie-cutter and make me want to get on with things, to the eventual ending or whatnot. So maybe there is something to just keeping the action in setup or to a bare minimum. We can fill in the rest.

  5. Or put on some loud, fast music, I find that always moves the things on quickly. Any action scene I have to lovingly, carefully craft is shite. The ones that I like best are the ones that hit the page running.

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