And I’m back
I am incredibly, very sorry for my long absence. All I can say is that it has been an incredibly stressful past few months, but having finished my Finals, I am now a full-fledged member of society! That’s right I am now Doctor VS!! It certainly has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I have to say years of work, dozens of exams and it all boils down to a single e-mail that says in broad, mundane letters – Pass or Fail. Thankfully I passed and therefore I can now get back to my real life of writing! I will soon get out and start doing some more interviews and hopefully get some awesome guest spots as well!
Now on to more pressing matters. I recently saw the Man of Steel, who for anyone who’s been living in exile in the salt mines of Kazakhstan is about Superman. Now I have to say I really loved this movie, although I am heavily biased being a huge DC comics fan. Now a lot of people didn’t like this film, and I really cannot understand it. I’m not going to go into a lengthy review, after all we here on the seven seas are interested in Middle Grade! But it does bring up one interesting notion – Action.
You see the film was action-packed with some truly astonishing fight scenes. Many people took issue with this, hoping to see a different kind of Superman, the one from the old films who is charming and such, but doesn’t really do anything. This was the kind of Superman I had always wanted to see, one who doesn’t hold back, who actually gets to throw a punch! So how does this apply to storytelling in general?
Well you see action is great, no matter what genre you are writing. Are you writing about spys? Soldiers? Magic? Even a dance off or a race, any kind of competition, there is really nothing that gets people going like two individuals facing off in a head to head competition.
But it actually isn’t that simple, action has to be handled delicately, it has to have a purpose, otherwise it is simply loud, pointless noise. On the other hand in certain types of novels too little action can be a complete hindrance and can really slow down a novel.
So what is the solution? Like all matters of writing there is no full proof answer, it is as always a matter a case by case scenario…saying that though here are some helpful tips.
1) Especially for younger audiences you need a fun, action scene every so often to move the story along. A good rule of thumb is one chapter action packed, the next a bit lighter. This way younger audiences get really involved and don’t get too bored.
2) Many stories include magic or supernatural abilities and such. If this is the case then I would say introduce these elements slowly, allow the audience to really understand how your world words, how these abilities work. For example say a hero has invisibility, laser vision and can phase through walls – it might be a cool idea to have him face off against three different opponents that require the usage of each power. Then the last enemy could be so strong he is forced to use all three powers, having mastered them all. If you introduce too many elements too quickly the audience is overwhelmed.
3) Characters first! Number one rule of any story – characters are first. If the audience doesn’t care about the characters, if they aren’t emotionally invested, they won’t care who wins or who loses!! Take the time to get the audience to fall in love with your characters and then let rip! Your readers will appreciate you far more than if you simply shove action scenes at them!
Happy hunting and it’s good to be back!