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3 Keys to Writing Effective Action Scenes

Today’s guest post is by Remy Wilkins.

We all want our climaxes and battles, our chase scenes and explosions, to be as dynamic and blood pumping as the summer’s best blockbusters, but the difficulty is that the strengths of cinema—its visceral visuals—do not easily align with what’s exciting in a novel.

But this doesn’t mean our action sequences are relegated to flat descriptions that must wait for a movie adaptation before becoming exciting. There are plenty of evocative scenes that drag the reader through finger-biting excitement and fear, but it’s a tricky balance of details and space enough for the reader to flesh it out.

Many writers err on one side or the other; they either overload the scene with too many descriptions or speak so sparsely about the events that the reader misses the drama.

In considering these pitfalls, I sought inspiration from movies on how to write compelling action scenes, looking for tips that I could apply to prose. As I studied both good and bad action sequences I found three keys that separated the effective scenes from those that were ineffective. Continue Reading…

A Deep Look at Masterful Writing

I’m excited to start in on a new series with you on Live Write Thrive. In the past I’ve shared numerous first pages and given my thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of those openings (if you haven’t read those, do a search for “Best-Seller First Pages,” and they’ll pop up in the results).

I’m always on the lookout for terrific writing in the novels I read, and often while I’m engrossed in a book, I’ll think, “Man, I should share this passage with my blog followers. This is a great example of . . . (dialogue, narrative, description, prose, etc.).”

I don’t often come across great writing. Sad but true. Sometimes when we read, we’re not looking to have our socks blown off by the word-crafting brilliance of an author. Sometimes we read for the ride. I’ve loved a lot of thrillers that are very well constructed and entertaining. You might even say they are masterful in their own right, as the author nails the genre perfectly for the intended audience. But they’re not an example of brilliant writing (in my opinion). Good, even great, writing. But brilliance is something “other.”

What I want to share over the next weeks (maybe until the end of the year) is what I call masterful writing. Beautiful, evocative, brilliant writing, showcasing the artistry and talent of a writer.

Here’s what I believe: way too many writers (and aspiring writers) don’t work hard at their craft. They don’t try all that hard to be brilliant. And why should they? Maybe they just want to make a living writing books and have it down to a science or formula. Continue Reading…

The Essential Ingredient in Your Novel’s Concept

I want to talk about concept a bit today.

I believe a lot of novels fail at the concept stage.

I talk at length about this on my blog Live Write Thrive as well as in many of my books in The Writer’s Toolbox Series.

This is truth: if you have a weak concept for your novel, you shouldn’t waste time writing it.

Now, it’s possible to tweak the concept you have—and I detail many ways you can do that in my book—and come up with a killer concept.

But it’s crucial you take a look at your concept and make sure it will hold up. Continue Reading…

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