Tag Archives: Action

Mother Nature: Poet, Artist, Author?

This week is owned by Mother Nature. She is showing us we can’t get too comfortable in our “hurricane free” or “earthquake free” areas. With the earthquake from the Northeast starting in Virginia (it was fun teaching a class and missing a step as everything fell about a foot from where it was) and Hurricane Irene heading toward the Jersey Shore, people are having to adapt and learn new ways to prepare to survive.

Beautiful, but what if you added some lightning, crashing waves and a fire?

Right now, Mother Nature is the author of our current story. As authors, we create new circumstances, hardships and disasters for our characters to grow and learn from. A common critique note to young authors is “you made this too easy for your characters”. An easy story is often one that bores the reader and the hero/heroine doesn’t grow to his/her full potential. So, in order to love our characters and make them the people we know they can be, we have to throw horrible, horrible situations at them and let them learn on their own, or with a mentor and crew, what they have buried deep within. They have to learn what they can accomplish when pushed to the worst place they can possibly imagine, often a hairs breath from death. That’s why the Dark/Black Moment of the book is so important. It must be dire, because our hero/heroine must learn, the world be damned. He/she is stronger and better than this and will find a way to survive.

And to survive, they rarely ever have to be a “superman” with “deus ex superpower” that comes from nowhere. Often even with superpowers in play, in order for characters to grow, the ability to move beyond the Black Moment into Victory comes from a very mundane place. That way the readers can identify and grow from it with the characters.

So make those journeys tough and deadly. Let your characters fall down and feel pain. We as humans adapt and grow and learn. That’s what makes a compelling story. The growth. The learning. The survival of things that are out of the ordinary, but happen anyway.

As Mother Nature writes our story this week, I am continuing my work on Black Moon, as well as sending Black Sun to two more Beta Readers. Black Moon is almost a chapter in now, and Mother Nature has inspired some new hardships for my characters. *grin*


Kill all the vamps!

The transfer of my revisions from the hard copy to the master electronic copy is steady but slow going. I’ve done fifteen out of twenty-two chapters. The good news is at this rate, and with my daily work on it, I’ll be done long before my pre-set deadline. More on that later this week.

But all of you deserve a treat for reading this blog and my updates. I’d like to give you another glimpse into Station 189 and Black Sun. Not only that, but some real action. Without further ado, here’s a section of fighting for her life between Alexandra and the vampires with a less than healthy interest in her.

Swords

We may need more fire power.

“Close your eyes against the blast. Once you hear it, count to five then reopen them. No blindness that way.”

She nodded and closed her eyes.

“Three, two, one.” She was prepared for the sound of a huge explosion, like the flash bang earlier, but this was more of a hiss and pop. Though, she felt the familiar heat and light against her face and eyelids.

One, two, three. She heard screeches of pain from the creatures on the other side of the door. Four, five. She opened her eyes and raised her gun as she saw Jax grappling with a dark haired vampire, as the blonde vampire approached from behind. He slashed the belly of the blonde one with his sleek green glass blade while continuing to grapple with the dark combatant. The blonde grasped at its entrails, as Jax turned his attention to the brunette on the floor below him. A third, another blonde, stepped into the room behind his slashed comrade. She shot it, hitting off her mark, into its arm.

Jax continued moving as if he hadn’t heard her gunshot. Bringing his thin blade through the wrists of the brunette holding him, he sliced them nearly all the way through. The creature screamed as it pulled back. The moment it exposed its throat, Jax brought the other blade through it. From the opposite direction, he brought the first blade through the back of its neck. The two green cleavers worked together to remove the head. Jax turned to the gutted blonde vampire, as the dark head bounced at his feet and the body reached out blindly before falling behind him.

The blonde she’d shot in the doorway held its arm and stared open mouthed at the carnage between them. In that brief moment, its arm exploded from the delayed detonation round she plugged it with. It screamed and clutched the lump of flesh that had been its arm. She silently counted down in her head the expensive ammo, not wanting to be caught empty. Using its pain, she switched hands and hit it with the high voltage taser, sending it to its knees.

She turned to check on Jax, as he deftly dodged a series of blows from the wounded vampire on its way down. He circled around as it roared in rage. It returned to him with a blinding series of blows, ignoring its exposed gut. Several blows connected and sent Jax hurled into the light room. Alexandra was sorry they’d dismantled the generator. After some scuffling from withint the room she chouldn’t see, Jax rolled out of the light room, throwing a device behind him as he slammed the door as shut as it would go. Blood was dripping from his left ear and mouth, but he was relatively unharmed given the competition. As he stood up, easing his shoulder back gingerly, a bright light went off in the room behind him. Bits of red splattered the window. Jax smiled at her.

Guttural noises came from the stunned thing behind her. “Nice shooting, hot stuff.” Jax strolled over and brought his blade down, separating its head and neck. He cleaned both blades on the dead thing’s clothes and stood up.


Fighting Perspective

One of the most fun aspects of writing is getting to choreograph out and visualize the action sequences. Those fights that sweep up the reader and make you worried if your characters are going to come out the other side in one piece. When my character is caught up in this moment, the words fly from my fingers as I describe how and why the characters are fighting.

Swords

Bring it.

But what if my character is there for the fight, but not center in the action? In my current project, my heroine starts off as not a big fighter. Even when she steps up, she’ll never be the toughest kid in a fight. Writing this became a new experience. A fight scene is all about action and tactics and being in the moment and motion of the exchanges. Writing in third person deep, my character was more often watching and helping in the fight then centered in it. She wasn’t the thought behind the tactics or the movement. She was more reacting than planning. The heart of the fight was in her allies.

I can’t write “Wanting to open the space between his opponents, Michael feigned right and rolled hard left.”

How would the main character know what Michael wanted in the middle of the fight? She’s not telepathic. She can only observe any action that’s not her own. To do any more would be cheating. Shifting POV can be very distracting if not controlled in detail.

Instead, I have to write “Michael feigned right and rolled hard left” and let the reader and character figure out the other part. Or if I’m not sure it’s clear, I could chance it by saying “Michael feigned right and rolled hard left, keeping a wide space between him and Lester.”

To do this and fully choreograph the dance that is a fight can make it very stilted, cold and impersonal. Everything a fight shouldn’t be. A fight is passion, desperation, control and very, very personal. To be real, a fight needs to be in everyone’s head and a danger to everyone in it. This is the same reason modern movies will program their armies with AI’s. Every fighter needs to react individually, as if their life is on the line.

To make this work, I’ve come across a process of my own. I write it first as if I’m inside everyone’s head. I have to know why they are making every step they make, to ensure it’s real. Once I write it to reflect everyone’s motivations and moves, I can then revise it to take out everyone’s thoughts but the POV I’m in. This way she can observe motivated actions, making the fight more realistic.

So far, so good.