1. DeNile
    Offline

    DeNile Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    6

    Writing Races (Cars, not people)

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by DeNile, Mar 21, 2011.

    So one of my current WIP's is a book that one of my friends compares to Death Race. Which I saw two months after coming up with the idea.

    I like the idea, there's tons of character development and odd relationships/friendships forming all around. However, I am having one little problem. It's a story that revolves heavily around racing and the cars in the races. Yes, it involves characters heavily but their cars, the races, and the modifications to the cars are very important.

    How do you write a race? Any tips?

    And better yet: How do you write about cars? Do I tell models in the narrative, in the dialogue? Do I mention modifications?

    I myself know nothing of cars. I like to watch off road races, but I'm clueless to anything else. However, this is one of my ideas that keeps calling me back again and again. So I have two car savvy people helping me with that. But the problem is in the writing.

    Help?
     
  2. Annûniel
    Offline

    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Messages:
    564
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    Ye Old Dominion, USA
    If you know little to nothing about cars, writing a book about them will be difficult, but not impossible. You will want to do a lot of research into cars to make your novel more accurate and believable. You won't need to go so far as to be able to build one from scratch, but at least understand the general mechanics of a car and how it is applicable to racing. If I sound vague, it is because I know less than you about cars.

    Mentioning the models and modifications can be pretty much mentioned however you want depending your style, POV, and such. Don't get caught up with the minor details.
     
  3. DeNile
    Offline

    DeNile Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    6
    Good call. That's what I was thinking. I'm actually considering taking a shop class for this one. It's so involved and amazing! It will be definitely be hard, but because of when it's set I get to take a few creative liberties as well.
     
  4. guamyankee
    Offline

    guamyankee Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Messages:
    474
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Tacoma, Washington
    Hmm, racing fiction. That could be huge in the Nascar crowd.
     
  5. Ion
    Offline

    Ion Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    7
    Listen. You can write about anything well. But in order to do so, you have to understand it.

    Take racing for example. To the average observer, it's just about cars going dangerously fast. However, if you actually knew about how engines are set up, the care and consideration that goes into every little maneuver, and sheer sense of exhilaration the speed gives you, you could communicate that to your reader and write a thrilling story.

    It has to be interesting to you. I've seen missile warfare between opposing space ships thousands of miles apart written in a gripping way, even when you never actually 'saw' the enemy or outside of the command deck of the ship.

    In short, if you think your subject is difficult to write about, it's because you don't know enough about it.
     
  6. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    Watch it on Youtube. John Barrowman did some rallying for a show (he crashed the expensive car lol) but shows him learning.

    With any action sequence it is about telling it using all five senses, and what did your character experience.
     
  7. DeNile
    Offline

    DeNile Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    6
    Thanks guys. It will definitely take a lot of research and work to get it right, but I hope it works out. This is definitely something I want to try.
     
  8. Alvaro
    Offline

    Alvaro Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with the others - research, research, research. But apart from the technical part, imagine the sounds of a race, the smells of rubber, the fear and exhillaration of speed, etc.

    A.
     
  9. DeNile
    Offline

    DeNile Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    6
    The fear of what's coming and what's behind you. Knowing today could be your last day on Earth.... yeah, I can already see it coming together. I'm getting goosebumps!
     
  10. sprirj
    Offline

    sprirj Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    523
    Likes Received:
    158
    I think the cliche, 'write what you know' can be used in this instance.
    I'm not saying don't write about cars, but perhaps make your MC alot like you, they can have the passion, and love the thrill of the race, but as long as car is shiney, and the engine makes a cool noise, perhaps they don't much worry about how it all works. The pit crew could be based on your tech guys, and as they tell you all the jargon, you/your MC can just let it in one ear, and out the other. Perhaps Reving your engine over the top of them as they give you some really important info....
     
  11. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    study both the films and the screenplays of classic racing flicks such as 'grand prix' and others listed here:

    http://www.sportsinmovies.com/auto-racing-movies.asp

    that will give you not only a good lesson in how to write race scenes, but also a good look into the character/feelings/fears of those who race and the many who work with and love 'em...

    you should also read memoirs by/about race car drivers...
     
  12. DeNile
    Offline

    DeNile Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    6
    Thanks for the advice guys! The MC actually is a bit like me, she doesn't know an enormous amount about cars, but she knows a lot. Pit Crew? For this story, there is no pit crew, it's.... a little complicated. Race Scenes I need are more like off road races, not the tracks, but thanks for the tips. I've got a couple of movies I can watch, and I've got a cousin who races, he's going to take me out driving this weekend. :D I don't have a license myself, unfortunately, so I need a bit of assistance there.
     
  13. tiggertaebo
    Offline

    tiggertaebo Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Cumbria UK
    Getting some knowledge of the way a car behaves near the limit and the sensations for the people inside the car is going to be a must and it sounds like you've got a great asset in your cousin. Speaking as a fan of cars and racing I don't mind so much if a story is light on technical info but if it gets stuff wrong then that can be very jarring. I'd only really go into detail on specifications as and when it feels natural, a driver doesn't need to know a huge amount of mechanical detail to be honest - a friend of mine who is quite a talented racing driver knows next to nothing about the goings on under the bonnet!
     

Share This Page