Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Exile Chapter 28 rewrites

I've finished chapter 28 of the second draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

After a brief bit of rest and relocation, Mal and Silmera are back in the middle of some action. Fayt Stain has recovered from his unfortunate immolation at the hands of the Dark God and has come for them with a vengeance.

This chapter is about 15% text carried over from the first draft and 85% rewritten material. The carried over text is mostly at the end of the chapter after the fight has ended.

One thing I've always had trouble with is writing action scenes. I think that the real problem is that despite a brow belt in some sort of martial art, I forget which, that I got while young, I don't actually know much about fighting. Especially if that fighting involves swords. I'll be the first to admit that I know the pointy end goes in the other guy, but that's about the extent of what i know about sword fighting. So, how do you write an engaging sword fight, while knowing little to nothing about fighting with swords? As I've practiced at writing action scenes over my life, I've come to realize something about fighting. It's not just me that doesn't know the first thing about swordplay... No one else knows a thing about it either. That makes it very easy to bluff your way through. All you have to do is pretend that you know exactly what you're talking about and the reader will believe it.

Another trick I've learned that makes writing action easier is to block it. Don't describe a fight blow for blow. That's incredibly boring to read about. Describe a series of events without actually saying what happens in them, and instead focus on the emotions that the characters are feeling, and the effect of the fight on the surroundings, the reader gets the idea of what's going on, and anything that they come up with in their imagination is going to be a lot cooler than anything you could ever describe blow for blow. There are a lot of examples of this in this chapter, and finally, after who knows how many badly written acion scenes, I think I'm starting to get it down to where I don't suck at it quite so much. I have to say, I think this is probably the best written action scene I've ever written.

Here's an excerpt that illustrates this method of writing action very well:

"Fayt Stain’s movements seemed slow and sluggish because of the sword in his body, but he still moved with supernatural speed and grace as he tried desperately to fend off Silmera’s brutal attacks. Their blades flashed in the moonlight, and blue light exploded wherever they met. She hacked at him again, and again, without pause or care for any wounds the Fayt managed to get in on her, showing none of her earlier grace. Her arms were a mass of blackened, cauterized wounds, and she was snarling like a wild beast as she pressed the Fayt into the water."

I told you absolutely nothing at all about how they're fighting, only that they are. I describe the flashes of the blades in the moonlight, and the graceful movements of one character while the other hacks away with brute strength, and the wounds inflicted by their weapons, but not exactly what they're doing with them. Still, you understand exactly what's happening, and your imagination fills in the rest.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 191,440 words.

What started out as a project that I intended to be a very short book, has instead turned into a pretty gigantic beast, and it's going to keep growing as I move into the ending and the massive changes I have planned there. It probably won't be an exaggeration to say that the second draft is going to end up at about 250k words.

No comments:

Post a Comment