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A Thursday Thought

July 7, 2011

I had this thought yesterday and don’t feel like sitting on it for 2-3 months like some other thoughts I’ve come up with.  (I’m keeping a list of blog topics I think of so that when I start blogging again I’m not like, “Oh shit, what do I talk about?”)

Last long weekend I probably had the most fun writing this than I’ve had with anything all year.  That got me wondering why.  Then I remembered that earlier this year or last year or sometime I had blogged about how I’d really gotten to dislike writing action scenes.

And wouldn’t you know, of the roughly 23,000 words I wrote last weekend, less than 3,000 probably contain any action.  There’s a brief fight and car chase in Chapter 1 and then in Chapter 3 a fight between the mob and the resident heroes.  The other 20,000 or so words are about our main character Louise and her relationships with her mother, her surrogate uncle, and her new coworkers, especially her hunky new boss Tony.

So I realized that I’m the Bizarro Michael Bay.  I hate making things blow up.  Maybe if I were directing movies (or directing special effects as it could be called) that would be more interesting but in writing explosions are boring.  You can try to get all poetic and say flame blossomed out or whatever, but that still gets old after a while.  The same for punching, kicking, chasing, etc.  Maybe this stuff is fun to watch on the screen but it’s boring to write and only slightly less boring to read.  My theory is that a book can’t really convey frenetic action as well as film because unless you’re a speed reader you have to read and digest a line at a time, flip the page, and so forth.

So whereas the first two stories I’ve written this year were more focused on action, most of what I wrote last weekend was focused on building the characters.  That, at least for me, is the fun stuff because novels can convey inner lives much better than films, something I blogged about last year and may be one of the reruns, or may not; I don’t remember.

I think I’m going to be really disappointed when I start having to focus more on the action in the story.

That is all.

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11 Comments
  1. Writing action can get a wee bit tedious. I agree.

  2. I know there’s a problem in my novels when I wish I could hurry a scene along ’cause I want to get to the next one. Maybe it’s an indication I shouldn’t even be writing the current scene, if it’s so boring?? hehe

  3. The principles behind writing explosive action scenes and writing decent sex scenes are very similar, in my opinion. The most potent ones put character first, at all times, and have real stakes. And the reader should never feel safe; they should never know for certain that a character or characters will come through the situation intact and undamaged.

    So yes. Tricky beasts.

    • But you know I’m not going to kill the main character off in Chapter 1, so that’s a problem.

  4. True. But you might injure or maim them permanently. The sense of peril comes from the reader’s notion that anything could happen.

  5. I have to agree. Writing action scenes are not my fave. They become very technical and the way we envision something happening is not always easy to convey. Character building is MUCH more fun. I think dialog is my fave… and just seeing where the characters go with it.

  6. I just finished “Where You Belong”. Man…I really liked your book. I want to interview you for a blog entry. Here’s the review I posted on Goodreads:

    This book is awesome.

    The author, Mr. Dilloway, has woven a beautiful narrative through the often troubled life of Frost Devereaux. From his mother and father’s terrible relationship to how he gets manipulated by the Maguire twins, the events that unfold are heart-wrenching.

    Really, all Frost wants is to be loved and to not have to live a life alone. This yearning causes him to bounce between Frankie, the woman who taught him passion with A Streetcar Named Desire to Frank(her twin brother) who engages him in a homosexual relationship and marriage in a tumultuous climax that recalls the civil rights riots of the 1960’s. The events that happen that break Frost’s marriage are understandable but tragic. Mr. Dilloway knows what love is and knows how to write it so that when it all comes crashing down, it’s like watching some beautiful piece of art being destroyed in front of your eyes and you are helpless to do anything.

    The last thing I want to say is that Mr. Dilloway is highly original with his narrative (and completely faithful to his characters and their flaws). Frost never learns and never listens and follows his heart to the very last page which is what makes him so loveable as a character. If you are looking for a book that smacks of the Cider House Rules but addresses the issues of modern times up to and including what happened in 9/11 at Ground Zero and the gay marriage debate, you should check out this book.

    • Thanks, man! If you have an Amazon account could you post your review there too?

      • Sure. I’ll do that right away. I’ll also send you some interview questions.

  7. I want a sequel, btw, where Frank and Frost get back together and Frank wins back his love. I loved the scenes where Frost quieted Frank in the bed to keep him from thrashing. That was so romantic. You really nailed a lot of the homosexual scene pretty accurately…down to the staging of gay events for the purpose of garnering attention…that shit happens all the time. Around here, people throw parties during the fourth of July fireworks, charge for admission, and then collect all the proceeds and donate them to the Utah Aids Foundation so that they can be seen as huge philanthropists. It’s such political grandstanding. Honestly…real donators do it anonymously online with a paypal deposit. But that wouldn’t get you the attention you feel you deserve by “doing good”.

  8. My review on Amazon didn’t post right away. It might be visible later today. I also posted a recommendation to buy your book on Gay Authors in their forums. They have 10,000 or so members and it’s a community of gay writers so they may support your book and buy it so you may get a few sales there.

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