Friday, October 9, 2020

The Secret to Writing Powerful Action Scenes


Action scenes are the bread and butter of pulp stories. When the story threatens to get too boring, throw in a fight scene and you revitalize it with fresh energy, stakes and momentum. When the hero finally confronts the main villain, readers expect a climactic battle to wrap up the book.

The art of the action scene is critical to writing a pulp-style tale. To craft a powerful action scene, write to what readers want from one.

Readers want the excitement and the drama of the fight, without the experience of danger. They want to feel the crunch of bone on bone, hear the crack of a bullet whipping past, see the blood spraying from a fresh wound.

Higher-level readers also want to see the technical aspects of the fight, and learn from it. They have an idea of how violence plays out in the real world, and they demand to see it on the page. They want to see violence that matches their experience -- without the danger of it.

An action scene allows the reader to live vicariously through the characters, experiencing the intensity of a fight from the comfort and safety of their homes. It is a full-sensory assault, brimming with tension and drama and energy, with the characters gunning for the highest stakes.

Readers want intensity, velocity and characterisation. Write to what they want and they will flock to you.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Superheroes in A Post-Modern Age


What is a superhero?

A hero with superpowers.

What is a hero?

That is a question the genre is struggling with today.

To be a hero is to protect the innocent, uphold moral norms, and preserve society, even if it means experiencing great hardship. It is to embody and express the great virtues, even at tremendous personal cost. It is to use your gifts and talents wisely, in the service of others, instead of satisfying personal vices.

It is to be good and do good in the face of incredible challenges.

But what does it mean to be good?

And does possessing superpowers make you less than, greater than, or something other than human?

Once, there was an easy answer to these questions. Not any more.