Literary Challenge #39 Discussion Thread
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Join Date: Jul 2012
03-01-2013, 10:36 AM
Originally Posted by
For me, it's the interplay between what's happening on the bridge and in space. On the bridge, there are several characters interacting not only with other characters, but events happening inside
outside the ship ... then there is the actual actions of the ships themselves. From my perspective, it's a complicated formula I have only tapped into in writing samples on my Fleet website (the LCs have not inspired me to "go there" yet, even though I could have).
So, to answer the question above, it's both
Reading other people pull it off is inspiring and gives me a better feel for how it could be done. I guess I'm more inclined to focus on the people in these LCs. A ship is a character too, but it's a differnet type of character, if that makes sense.
I'm not sure how to explain it, but I've done it on a much more complex scale in other writings--I had a battle play out over multiple chapters in one work. In a lot of ways, I use the new Battlestar Galactica as my model, because I consider that to be a show where the battles were extremely well choreographed. There are a number of things that I do to make the battle flow the way I want it to.
First, I envision it playing out "on screen" as it were, to get a sense of the exact moves being made, and also of the timing. (For a long or complex battle, I often use a film score or soundtrack to help me with the pacing as well...again the music for the new Battlestar Galactica works well if you seek a fast-paced battle.) I also consider how this will affect the ships involved--am I close to or exceeding any tolerance thresholds, and if so, how will the ship react to being asked to do this?
From there I look at how people will feel as they go into this situation and how they will react to anything that the enemy ship--or their own ship--does during the course of the maneuver or the battle.
Then, as I write, I consider my sentence lengths and paragraph breaks, because in a way that's how I control the camera for the reader. Sometimes a list of several things happening at once, if the word choices and phrasing support a sort of "rapid-fire" list, can make things happen very quickly.
Sometimes I will actually break off at the end of a paragraph, mid-sentence, and go straight into another paragraph, to indicate an abrupt "pan" to something else that has suddenly happened and diverted everybody's attention. (This isn't exactly "proper" English but as a dramatic effect, it can work well if not overused, and if you know what you're doing.)
Other times, a single phrase or sentence may appear in a paragraph by itself--a sequence that plays out more slowly, that I want you to linger on and digest by itself.
These pacing techniques work regardless of what kind of action you're writing, but in battle they are especially important to control how the reader will perceive what's going on.
I'm not sure if that's at all the kind of thing you were interested in, though...?
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