Many thanks to Stephen Ormsby for the interview on his blog today - I had a lot of fun answering his questions about all things bookish!
Come on over and take a look here.
I’m sometimes (no, really) accused of having an over-active imagination, which is probably not a bad thing given my tendencies towards writing.
Talking about this with some friends the other day, I wondered aloud whether this is a generational thing. I’m not usually a social commentator, however I do think those of us in the Gen X category probably had the last of the best childhoods for creating over-imaginative minds.
What do I mean by this? Well, when I was a kid, most of the time we had to make up our own ‘worlds’ when playing. My childhood consisted of weekends at my grandparents’ house where we used my Grandad’s building scaffolding to create castles and pirate ships in the back garden, dug tiger traps in our family’s vegetable patch (just ask my Dad how effective those were), disappeared all day on our bikes into the countryside which surrounded the small town where I grew up, and read lots and lots of books!
If we were subjected to media, it was usually by way of a trip to the cinema – and those early films have definitely influenced my writing (think along the lines of Raiders of the
Lost Ark, Back to the Future, and Romancing the Stone). Together with being exposed to a wide range of musical styles (and learning guitar from an early age), it all really contributed to who I am as a writer today.
Now, if I’d grown up in the past 15 years, I’d have been saturated with technology –computer games, smartphones and hundreds of television channels to choose from and keep me amused – which wouldn’t leave a lot of room for my own imagination to take flight.
I know there are still a lot of kids who love reading, and I’m also fond of a well-produced documentary, but I can’t help feeling I got the best deal.
Would love to know your thoughts.
I flew down to Sydney on Saturday for Genrecon, a weekend-long celebration of all things writerly, no matter the genre.
Of particular interest to me was Simon Higgins’ Writing Effective Fight Scenes class. As an action thriller writer, it’s important to me that I capture the essence of a fight scene without the reader thinking ‘that would never happen!’ unless the scene has been set up properly, and as I’m currently writing some scenes for the sequel to White Gold, this class was rather timely.
After providing the group with a brief précis of his background (a police career until the mid-90s and continual martial arts training), Simon gave us a brief run-down of what to watch out for when writing fight scenes. What follows is my interpretation of those points.
Be realistic. A punch to the jaw often kills – in real life, a person doesn’t get punched in the face and shake it off easily!
Choreograph it – even if that means grabbing a friend (be nice!) and going through the motions slowly to see if it’d work. Look at how fight scenes are choreographed for films – the
actors learn the moves, start slowly and gradually build up speed once they know them by heart;
Research the medicals – find out what each strike to the opponent will do, e.g. lasting damage, ability to ‘bounce back’;
Less is more. Involve accurate detail in your reader’s head, but don’t forget the internal emotions (see below);
Don’t separate emotions from action – if your character gets punched, he’s going to feel it!
You can read all about Simon on his website here: www.simonhiggins.net. Just don't pick a fight with him.
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