1. Mr Grumpy
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    Mr Grumpy Member

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    Car chase advice

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Mr Grumpy, Apr 4, 2011.

    Hello all, I'm after a bit of advice regarding a car chase scene that occurs on a country lane.

    I've got two characters harrasing a car in front, driving close to the bumper, lights flashing, horn blaring but never passing and this continues for a few miles.

    The problem I've got is theres very little to the chase other than horns, lights etc.

    The driver in front is not described in detail this early into the story other than he's annoyed with the car behind and the two characters in the car behind are both bombed out of their minds. I need the scene to continue for a while to get across how annoying these two characters are for the payoff later in the scene.

    Any advice on how to make it a little more excting other than "...and this continued for a couple of miles"?

    cheers :)
     
  2. Louis Farizee
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    Louis Farizee Member

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    Have a lot of stuff that almost gets hit or run over, but inexplicably doesn't?
     
  3. Mr Grumpy
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    Mr Grumpy Member

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    Yup, I've thought of that but pretty much drew a line through it - theres not much to run over on country lanes. I've already made points about pheasants being scared out of the undergrowth as the cars speed past and there's a unseen tractor to be avoided around one of the corners, but thats it.
     
  4. MidnightPhoenix
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    MidnightPhoenix Contributing Member

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    probably the drive in front of them, does something like stick his finger at them. Makes them want to chased them, slowly bumping into the back, so the drive in front tried speed up but the car still taunting the driver in front.
     
  5. DarkMercury
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    DarkMercury New Member

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    Dust. Even if it's a paved country lane, they may swerve onto the shoulder and kick up swirling plumes of dirt and dust.
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    look up car races on you tube.
     
  7. Mr Grumpy
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    Mr Grumpy Member

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    Yup, the briefest flash of brakelight followed by a clouds of dust and leaves being kicked up as the cars throw themselves in to the corners - I've mentioned that.

    I think I'll have to focus on the two characters in the rear car, their taunts and jeers and the passenger egging the driver on.
     
  8. Louis Farizee
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    Louis Farizee Member

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    Describe the sound of pebbles being kicked up by speeding tires, the blinding clouds if dust, the jostling being caused by ruts and potholes and large rocks...
     
  9. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    Describe the weather, cars act differently if the roads are damp maybe from a earlier rain, or is there a frost, or maybe its just started to rain and the cars are loosing traction.

    Describe the cars, they all perform differently. The guys chasing are in an old boat that wallows in the corners, its suspension not designed for speed, but has bulk to push the other car. The other car is fast and nimble, but the driver doesn't know how to drive it when he is being chased.
     
  10. CriminallyVu1gar
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    CriminallyVu1gar Member

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    I think you're going about it the wrong way personally, or at least forgetting an aspect. One of the reasons that those scenes translate so well to a visual medium is the emotion that gets tied into what is happening.

    So I think you need to take the time to explore what your characters are thinking while this chase is going on.

    Just my personal take :)
     
  11. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Was just thinking the same thing. Everyone is focusing on external things. But we've seen it all these days, car chases both fictional and real. Nothing you write will titillate and enthrall audiences if you focus on the external only.

    As always, my answer to every single fiction question ever is to figure out a way to get inside the experiences of the character and depict the truth of a moment with authority and accuracy.

    Yeah, sure, squealing tires and rocks flying can be interesting, I suppose, but I've seen that. What I haven't seen is how these characters, in this story, in this moment, think and feel and react to this scene. And that goes for pretty much ever plot point, event or happening in fiction. What it means to the characters and why something is happening is always more compelling than what is happening
     
  12. CriminallyVu1gar
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    CriminallyVu1gar Member

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    Agreed. All the best works, visual or literary, have a character or characters that the audience goes nuts over. Snape in Harry Potter, Mal Reynolds in Firefly, Willow in Buffy, Mulder and Scully in the X-files, etc.
     
  13. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    Umm that would be because he specially asked about descriptions in a car chase. I'm sure he is including feelings of the characters, but he got stuck on the external descriptions and asked for help, not writing lessons.
     
  14. CriminallyVu1gar
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    CriminallyVu1gar Member

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    No he didn't. He asked what he could do to continue the scene and convey a few aspects of the involved characters. The examples he gave were descriptions, but he didn't explicitly ask for help in describing the physical aspects of the scene.

     
  15. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    Well lets see if he comes back, maybe he can clear it up, and be more specific in what he wants.
     
  16. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Umm, writing a car chase that is exciting is highly dependent on how relevant and meaningful it is to the characters.
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    John Barrowman Car Crash - might be worth searching for on youtube has the details from in the car.
     
  18. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    I always (even in my Planet Claire Sci-Fi trilogy) run over a crucifix, an armadillo,and a framed Velvet Elvis
     
  19. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    Its a mix of both. If you only describe the emotions of the characters and nothing of what is going on, then its going to be pretty flat, and vice versa.

    My take on what he was asking, was that he knows he needs to expand the emotions of the characters, but wanted help with ideas for the external events.
     
  20. Mr Grumpy
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    Hello all, just got back and read all of you replies - thanks for them all - I've taken on board everything thats been suggested.

    What I was after was how to move the scene forward and move it away from the typical "...the cars screeched around the corner, horns blaring..." etc.

    I absolutely agree - and after posting my initial post I worked out (slowly learning) that I do need to move the focus from outside events to events within the car and inside the characters' heads. My problem now being the characters in the pursuing car are coked out their mind and are completly wired and I'm not too sure how to write them, but thats a topic for another post.
     
  21. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Perhaps another topic, indeed, as depending on your pov you may not be able to provide that detail at all, as it happens.

    For instance, if you're in a limited pov, then how will your main character possibly know the coke-heads on coke? The good news is the story doesn't have to be about coke addicts driving crazy (yawn) but about the character that is affected by this behavior. So even if we don't know they're on coke, it won't matter much, as we'll know what's important and relevant to the story, which is how the character is reacting and feeling and doing about all this.
     
  22. Mr Grumpy
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    Interesting - there are three POV in this:
    1. External - watching the cars
    2. Driver of Car 1's mind
    3. Occupiers of Car 2 - possibly break this up into two seperate POVs

    The reader really needs to be in the rear car with the two cokeheads as I want them to be around these two annoying characters - the payoff at the end of the scene is a satisfying one and an introduction to a main character.

    You actually learn everything you need to know about the driver in front by the way his driving reacts to the car behind, but at this point the driver in the car in front needs to remain a mystery - simply a figure.
     
  23. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Sounds like there's one pov, then, which would be omni.... unless you're scene breaking and switching to different points of view, of course. Either way, you'll have to concentrate on the experiences, at the time, in the moment, of whichever is your main, pov charcter, for that scene. I would advise this (though to a lesser degree and requiring different techniques) even if it truly is in an omni pov.

    If you don't get into the experiences of the character's, what they're feeling and why all this even matters to them and how, then it's just a generic car chase, and who cares, we can see the real thing every day on the streets of LA.
     

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