1. DFergATL
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    DFergATL New Member

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    First Question!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by DFergATL, Aug 30, 2010.

    Well just joined here and this is my first real post. First, I am not a writer. I am a computer tech. I am more at home writing batch files and C++ code then things real people read. I have had this idea in my head for sometime and finally decided to at least try to do it. I have had many stops and starts and this has been going on for a few years. I am not sure the best way to post this question and my story is still in 'outline' format. I am just going to give it a try and see what happens.

    Ok, in short this is sci-fi. This is a pursuit story. In this particular part Ship A is trying to escape ship B. I have an idea of what I want to happen. Someone is going to make a scarfice to allow them to temporarily get away. But I have no real idea how to construct an action scene. I am just looking for pointers on how to put an action sequence together.

    I don't know much more then a fighter pilot is going to end up crashing into this other ship and that will allow Ship "A" to get away. But, only temporarily.

    I feel like an idot here. Any advise on how to put together an action sequence would be great. Any ideas, advise on what you might do in your own story in this type of situation would be wonderful and welcome. If I have what I have written here is jibbersh, well I know know most people feel when they read C++ code:

    // Load a private key from any common RSA private key
    // format, such as DER, PKCS8, PEM, XML, etc.
    // The LoadDkimPkFile method automatically detects
    // the file format and reads it appropriately.
    // If a password is not required, you'll still need to provide
    // a password string argument, but it is ignored.
    const char * password;
    password = "optionalPassword";
    success = dkim.LoadDkimPkFile("myPrivateKey.pem",password);
    if (success != true) {
    printf("%s\n",dkim.lastErrorText());
    return;
    }

    // Load a MIME file.
    CkByteData mimeData;

    success = mimeData.loadFile("testMessage.eml");
    if (success != true) {
    printf("Failed to load file.\n");
    return;
    }

    // Sign it. This adds the DKIM-Signature header and
    // returns the new MIME with DKIM-Signature added.
    CkByteData dkimSignedMime;
    success = dkim.AddDkimSignature(mimeData,dkimSignedMime);
    if (success != true) {
    printf("%s\n",dkim.lastErrorText());
    return;
    }

    success = dkimSignedMime.saveFile("dkimSigned.eml");
    if (success != true) {
    printf("Failed to save file.\n");
    return;
    }

    printf("Success.\n");
    }


    This is the type of thing I normally write
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I, too, write code.

    In software, you break down the requiremenst into a network of dependencies, and stepwise procedures, then you code the individual processes. You decompose operations in terms of actors, concumers, inputs, and outputs and data.

    Building a story is somewhat similar. A method corresponds loosely to a plot. A plot is not a storyline, though. A plot consists of an actor, a goal or objective, a motivation, and an opposition. A plot can also be viewed as a body acted upon by forces toward and away from the goal. The vector sum of those forces determines the acceleration vector.

    Read What is Plot Creation and Development? to understand this better.
     
  3. stubeard
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    stubeard Active Member

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    If you're looking for advice on how to write a space-based chase scene, find some books about space chases. Read how other people have written them, and see if you feel you can do that kind of thing yourself.

    Turning an action-packed idea into a well-written scene can be extremely frustrating, but thousands of others have had the same problem as you - see how they have dealt with it and it will start to feel a lot less scary.

    As for pointers - if it's a linear action scene (everything flows in one, easy to follow line with simple actions and reactions) try drawing a simple flow chart. For example:

    Ship A takes off from Planet Z.
    \/
    Ship B (in orbit) sees Ship A and begins pursuit.
    \/
    Ship A sees Ship B and starts taking evasive action.
    \/
    Ship B alters course to stay in pursuit.
    \/
    Ship A launches fighters to distract Ship B
    \/
    Ship B launches it's own fighters.
    \/
    A few fighters from each side get blown up.
    \/
    Fighter K from Ship A sees an asteroid field - if only he can give Ship A enough time to get there, they'll be safe.
    \/
    Fighter K decides to crash into the rudder of Ship B (or the bridge if there is no rudder) so that Ship A can get away
    \/
    Fighter K tells Ship A what he's going to do
    \/
    Ship A tries to tell Fighter K not to do it - they'll be fine.
    \/
    Fighter K says it's the only way.
    \/
    Fighter K heads straight for the bridge, with lasers firing all around him.
    \/
    Fighter K hits the bridge and Ship B is knocked off course
    \/
    Ship A reaches asteroid field - everyone in Ship A pays tribute to Fighter K


    It looks very simple, and not at all well written, but you'll have a basic outline you can fill in later - put flesh on the bones, to use an old cliché.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all you have to do is pick out any 3 action novels by the most respected authors and see how they do it...
     
  5. DFergATL
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    DFergATL New Member

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    example

    Can anyone point me to what they would consider a good example of this? Buying "any book" is kind of not really an option for me. I have tried that. I have bought a lot of books but I just can't seem to find that...whatever. So now that I have posed the issue. Is there a particular scene that anyone could recomened. Maybe something that I can read online?
     
  6. DFergATL
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    DFergATL New Member

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    Love the analogy and that is kind of how I am breaking it down. Now I have this subroutine that I have maybe seen a hundred times but never had to break it down and write myself.
     
  7. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Honestly, it sounds like you're not in need of advice as much as experience. You must read sci-fi, and you probably have a pretty good idea of a handful of books that really caught your interest -- maybe because the author wrote great action, maybe because the space travel tech was neat, maybe because of a character or a specific brand of humor.

    We can't give you a scene or a book as homework, because we don't know just what you're interested in writing. Chase scenes run the gamut from short-paragraph high-tension action to funny or darkly humorous character-driven scenes. And a chase scene that connects two larger events -- a ship exploding, a prisoner escaping, a battle that is nearly over and the fighters are fleeing the space where it happened -- will be written differently from one where the chase is hugely important.

    Honestly, in the end you'll benefit more from trying to get a critical sense of how your favorite books and authors caught your attention, and practicing ways of putting words to paper. A beginning cellist will only gain so much benefit from asking an older player how to play a difficult piece, because the answer assumes a level of experience which the beginner must first acquire. In the same way, you might honestly not have spent enough time reading other people's action scenes to know what you want your end product to be like.

    Some books that might help are On Basilisk Station, for its space battles. Space Cadet for its depiction of crew quarters on a ship. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Farmer in the Sky, Jumping off the Planet, and either Destiny's Road or Legacy of Heorot for their depiction of life off-earth.

    Brief summaries of the off-earth books: Moon is a Harsh Mistress is about life on Earth's moon, Farmer is about life on Ganymede, Jumping off the Planet is the first in a trilogy about leaving earth for a different solar system, and both Destiny's Road and Legacy of Heorot show the problems you can encounter in colonization. Destiny's Road is about the failure of technology and how earthlife might adapt to deal with non-earth biology. Legacy of Heorot shows how a colony might deal with a strong, fast predator that finds horses and humans equally tasty.
     
  8. DFergATL
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    DFergATL New Member

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    Thanks, I have read a lot of book but I have not read those I think I will take a trip over to Amazon and get On Basilisk Station, and Space Cadet. They sound to be exactly what I am looking for. I have read sci-fi/fantasy but mostly fantasy. I have read a lot of the Star Trek novels and Star Wars novels and loved them, but none of that really seemed to be where I was wanting to head. Come to think of it Rouge Squadron might be worth a re-read too. Thank you, thank you. All I needed was a point in the right direction. I have bought about 4 books recently and read them, got some good general ideas but they didn't have the type of action I was looking for. This helps a lot.
     
  9. DFergATL
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    DFergATL New Member

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    I like this. It is close to what it is I am doing. I may use it as a guideline.
     
  10. litchickuk
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    litchickuk Member

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    I would recommend Iain M Banks as general reference series for this sort of work. But you might also benefit from reading 'Helix' by Eric Brown. Thats got that sort of space age chase scene in it if i recall correctly. Hope this helps a bit and good luck with your writing
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    do you not have a public library where you live?... or a used book shop?

    and you can also buy used books at amazon, don't have to spend big bucks on new ones...
     
  12. Vaalthurion
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    Vaalthurion Member

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    I run into similar problems when constructing literature that is intended for enjoyment rather than informative means. For the last few years I've written intelligence reports for the U.S. Marines (yeah, yeah, the Marines like to call it 'intelligence' but it's closer to....well.... anyway). The military likes every piece of their publications read as if written by a soul-deprived robot. So, a lot of my personal stuff comes out in a real cut-and-dry/straight to the point/no bullcrap kind of way, which detracts from providing the colorful, action-packed scene I have in my head.

    Contrary to some of the advice I've recently read on the forums, I write the sequence of events for my book as if I were watching it on screen. Understandably, there are some obvious and vast differences between screenplay and novel-writing. However, for the exclusivity of providing a healthy "action scene", as you claim to have been struggling with, I think it reasonable to describe your scene as you would like to see it in theater.

    Now, I would end that advice with the end of that particular scene. One of the strengths you have with literature, vice screenplay, is you can provide an infinite amount more depth and perspective to your characters/storyline that the reader can relate to on a much more personal level. Once the cool action scene is over is where you build upon your story without the montage of Hollywood style inspiration.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ???... did you mean 'versus'?
     

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