1. That one person
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    That one person Member

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    Quick question about action

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by That one person, Oct 11, 2016.

    Alright, this'll be my last question (hopefully) but how do you balance out action with scenes that are calmer?
    I'm at that sort of age where I need the constant melodramatic scenes to keep myself sustained in a book, but I'm well aware that there comes a limit to how much drama you can have in a book. So that gets me wondering, how much drama and action-packed scenes become too much? And how much should I focus on the calmer, less action/dramatic scenes to give the reader a chance to get to know my characters?
    I'm sorry for so many questions lately
     
  2. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    This kind of thing is going to be different for each person and for each story. Basically, it has to do with story structure--you have peaks and valleys. In a really simplified explanation, a story is basically about a character and a goal, with an obstacle blocking the character from reaching the goal. You can think of the peaks, the "drama and action-packed scenes," as the attempts the character makes to achieve the goal. Of course, the character needs to fail (or the goal needs to change), since having the character reach the goal would be the end of the story. So the opposition wins (for now). What does the character do? Immediately try again? Probably not. The character needs to walk the streets and come up with a new plan. Those are the "calmer" scenes--the ones full of reflection and introspection. Then a new plan develops and the character makes another attempt at the goal. And on and on until the end.

    Of course, that's a huge simplification. Not all stories are going to follow such a rigid formula--there's a lot of room to mess around with it. But that's the general idea--the balance is between these actual attempts at the goal (the higher-tension scenes) and the reflection when things don't turn out as expected (the lower-tension scenes). "Too much" is a hard thing to evaluate on the surface as, like I said, the needs of the story are going to dictate that, and it'll be different from story to story and from writer to writer. But understanding the basic formula and extrapolating (and innovating) from there should help keep things in balance.
     
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  3. That one person
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    That one person Member

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    Oh, I see what you're saying and that makes sense to me.
    Thanks again for your help, it's much appreciated :)
     
  4. TheWriteWitch
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    TheWriteWitch Senior Member

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    You can always think of it in terms of scenes and sequels. In the first, there is action and it typically follows the pattern of: goal, conflict, disaster. A sequel is when the character steps back to think for a moment and the pattern is: reaction, dilemma, decision.

    There are lots of good articles on using this technique but I would suggest you only glance through them. Just knowing that a plot flows through these two types of moments can help give your story a lot of motion.
     
  5. Luke Scott
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    Luke Scott Member

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    While I feel pacing is important, it really depends on the context of the chapter or scene.

    If you have a scene that is action packed, it just needs to have continuity to make it work. If it's busy for the sake of being busy, it can be hard to read and follow.
     

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