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  1. DeathandGrim

    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Virginia Beach

    The unwritten action

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by DeathandGrim, Dec 23, 2013.

    In my writing I noticed that I do this alot and it's intentional 100% but let me know if this would irritate you. In my writing I often set up acts to happen but don't write them happening first hand. Instead I usually write the aftermath of the act from another perspective. For instance in my latest chapter of my series, I set up a gentlemen's club to be shot up and burned down by mobsters as a declaration of war. The plan is laid out and everyone is set to go as soon as the leader makes his way up some stairs. So what happens is I switch POV to another character who's there at the club and I let the rest of the scene play out from his perspective in the VIP room, never once mentioning the other characters involved but rather what's happening to him as the place gets shot up, and then he comes out to everyone in the club dead.

    I wanted no description of how it was done by the mobsters because I want the reader to imagine the mass shooting in their head. Is this bad?
  2. aimi_aiko

    aimi_aiko Contributing Member

    Apr 1, 2011
    Likes Received:
    No way! I don't think this is bad at all. Expressing each character's POV during a situation is a great way of telling a different story for the same scenario. I find it interesting, in fact, when I find these in novels. It's like every character gets a "say so". No character left behind. :)

    Sorry if this does not answer your question... I answered from my understanding.
  3. JayG

    JayG Banned Contributor

    Sep 27, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Philadelphia PA
    You're thinking cinematically, and reporting events. So when the action takes place you place your camera in a position to watch the events unfold.

    But fiction is about emotion not events. The reader isn't looking to know the flow of facts and events. Thy want the human striving, the passion, the desires and tears. Don't tell the reader what happes, and how the people felt. Make them become the protagonist and live the story in real-time. Pick the character with the biggest emotional investment in the scene and make that person your POV character. Then get into to the head of that character and show only what matters to that character, moment-by-moment. Make the reader know what decisions they make that result in the action that take. Make them see the action through the preconceptions, the biases, the needs and desires of that character. Make it their story. Entertain, don't explain.
  4. plothog

    plothog Contributing Member Contributor

    Jul 24, 2013
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    My question is why do you want the reader to fill in the gaps? I'd have thought showing something happen, would fulfill your aim of getting them to imagine it in their head. Are you more confident in your readers' imaginations, than in your own ability to write action sequences?
    Sometimes things aren't shown if a writer has a reason for keeping certain aspects of the event a mystery, but you've not indicated this is the case here.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013
  5. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Dec 30, 2010
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    If done selectively, it's probably okay, but it has to be with purpose, not "just because". And definitely not throughout the book. All that'd happen is you'd frustrate your readers. You've built them up and made them anticipate this big scene just to take it from them? Like, are you kidding? Changing POVs like this also puts you at risk of losing your readers because your readers won't know who to engage with and connect to, and that leaves them connected to nobody. That's a sure fire way of well, losing readers.

    However, without reading your work, it's hard to say. It sounds like it's a particular style that *could* work in places, but that depends on context, frequency, your tone of voice, the genre that you're writing, if it's acceptable for the kind of novel you're actually writing, and it highly depends on your skill level. Something like this would take a very good writer to pull off properly, otherwise it'd just feel sorta... flat.
    KaTrian and Cogito like this.

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