Been a pretty massive weekend. Went out to catch Finntroll again on Saturday, a good old folk metal band that I’ve been lucky enough to catch at Brutal Assault in 2012, Sydney a year or so ago, and now again in Sydney. Troldhaugen were awesome as the start up, as always, and tasty beers were had. Between general busy-ness during the day leading up to that, a lack of good writing apps on my phone, and a 2am stumble home, I didn’t get a lick of writing done.
I had an interesting experience at the bus-stop on my way home, where four inebriated lads were effing and blinding at all and sundry, and one particularly huge, fat and drunk member of their group started harrassing one of the women at the bus stop. I went and pretty much stood over the guy, ready to act if anything physical were to happen. He promptly got up and walked off to join his friends, perhaps having sensed me looming there with steam pouring out of my ears. I sat down next to that lady to prevent him from coming back and sitting there again. Pretty lame effort, I know, but to be honest I really didn’t want anything to go down.
Now nothing happened, we all got on the bus, those guys continued to drink their bottle of bundie all the way to their stop half an hour later. The most offensive one from before was stumbling around at the back of the bus swearing and cursing at everyone, with extra venom for anyone daring to be female. As they got off the bus that guy tapped one girl on the leg on his way past, informing her that he’d “smash that”. Before anyone could register quite what he’d said, the doors were closing behind them and the bus was heading off down the road again.
Now the point of this story is this: if we’re writing, and if there’s confrontation in that writing, it would be great to try and bring that feeling of dread into the story. If your protagonist is stepping up to the plate, he or she should be weighing their odds. Four of them, one of me. Their heart should be racing. They should be wondering if the other guys at the bus stop would step in to help should things really hit the fan. They should be wondering if anyone has a knife. They should be thinking about their unborn child and wife/husband sleeping at home.
Because if you can make a reader’s heart race like that, well. It’d be something. Joe Abercrombie is one author I know that does this exceptionally well.
Anyway, today was a different kettle of fish entirely, with naught to do but check out the new Snag Stand, enjoy cheese & chilli fries, and a Bratwurst with sauerkraut. I wrote a goodly number of words, not quite the six thousand I should have wrote this weekend, but near enough. Okay, off to bed now. Getting up in a few hours to watch Korea win something in Brazil! (we can only hope).
First of all, great of you to step up in that situation! Too few do…and I like how you used your real-life situation to illustrate writing. It is very important in writing to remember the emotion in those climactic scenes–sometimes action and violence and explosions might seem exciting, but without emotion and personal investment, it is all empty and meaningless. It is also a great way to truly put the reader in the protagonist’s mind, and make the experience the scene through their eyes.
Thank you 🙂 And yeah, I hope there are other people in the world who would have thrown down on my side, had it come to that.
I think you’ve just described half of my action scenes unfortunately: big on explosions and light on emotion. Seems like every day there’s a new thing I need to go back and edit for… but this writing lark is still great fun, isn’t it? 🙂
Haha, aw! But I totally know what you mean. Just when you think you’re done, there’s more to fix…Good luck 🙂