Bringing a Story to Life – I’m in the Mood for…Fighting?

il_570xN.1008974312_bchrThere are good and bad times, but our mood changes more often than our fortune    – Thomas Carlyle

So, I just finished the first draft of Promotion: Book 9 in the Metatron’s Army Series.

I’ll be working on Book 10 tomorrow.

While I enjoyed working on this I did have an interesting challenge.

Well, two actually, though they are related.

Switch Scenes.  While there is a great deal of character development, if not character insight in the book, there are a number of action scenes.  The challenge comes in with transitioning scenes because – for me – I need to go with the transition in mood.

I need to get into the mindset and gut of the characters in the scene.

This was of particular challenge when I had to transition from a fight scene to a scene of passion.

I refer to it as passion rather than romance because they aren’t the same.  There is a physical release in a passion scene that may or may not be there in romance.  Or the motivations for the kissing or other physical acts may be different.

Both actions can certainly get the adrenaline going, as well as blood pressure, heart rate, but they aren’t the same mindset.  So, how do you go from one to the other?

I personally think it would be easier to go from the passion scene to fight or some other action, and in fact, there isa scene in this book where Ryal is brought in by one of the Light Beings to administer some emergency first aid.  They bring him through an energetic doorway and while it wasn’t a kidnap, it was unplanned. He growls to Verix that ten minutes earlier, and it would have gone badly since he would have been found in a compromising position.

Of course, Verix could have cared less.  Heh heh.

Going from fight to passion? Other than as an outlet for excessive energy, I think it is a more challenging transition.  Fortunately, the reality of that provided the answer.  It would be as difficult for my character – who’d been in a fight and was now in a position to have passionate interaction – as it was for me as the writer.

I’d just had my mind in a scene where they are blowing up part of a building.  I’m supposed to write about how good it feels to be in someone’s arms or kissing their lips? Yeah, right.

It was that realization that helped me because it reminded me it wouldn’t be realistic if the character went from one mood to the next without some sort of transition.  A come down if you will.  Once I realized this, a whole world of possibilities opened up.  There are a number of between activities that could help:

  • Eating
  • Showering
  • Debriefing
  • Following up with injured teammates
  • Getting into an argument because you didn’t inform certain teammates just what it was you were up to
  • All of the above – and more

Switch Characters.  A second related challenge has been that I not only need to transition characters from scene to scene, I need to transition between characters both within the action scene and again in the post-action scene.

It’s more or less like saying, “Meanwhile…”

To a degree, switching point of view can allow you to slow the pace, which theoretically could allow you to ease or justify the transition for a specific character, but this isn’t always possible.  For example, Christine is eating with a couple of her teammates after the battle, but her mind is elsewhere.  Of course, her colleagues know this and so the scene focuses more on the emotional and/or psychological component, but it means she can’t transition out of the fight state of mind.

Eating isn’t enough to do it and eating with those who were fighting alongside of you definitely won’t help.

If anything, it’s an opportunity to show a different side to a character.  In the above example, one of her teammates is married to a powerful woman so he understands and/or relates to what she is going through.  This empathy allows him to provide insight into Christine’s psyche to the reader, but also shows that one of the more formidable warriors she works with has empathy, if not a soft spot.

It took until this book to run into this, I think, because of what is taking place at this point.  I’m past the “moment” of the dark moment, so everything starts accelerating toward the finish.

As Corus would say, there are a lot of irons in the fire.

fitness-blog.jpgWhew!  Being a first draft, the important part – for me – was to just get the framework down.

Leave a trail of bread crumbs I can work from later.

I needed to put down enough that when I swing back around in the weeks and/or months ahead, I can tune into what it was I was trying to accomplish.  I don’t have to go back and wonder what it was I was up to.

Outside that cliff hanger I haven’t figured out yet.  Maybe I’ll solve it in the few pages I already have in Book 10?  As you can see, it isn’t a perfect process.

Tick. Tick. Tick.  For me, there is a sense of urgency about the process, likely because I’m so close to the end and it’s been living inside of me for so many years.

Though a great deal of the story emerged more recently.  Just the nature of the way this saga came about.

I already know what will happen in Adjudication: Book 10 in the series.

I’ve been mentally working and reworking the book at night for months now.

Knowing what I want to do doesn’t take the suspense out of it and it’s that suspense that drives me to get the words down.  Once I complete that – in a draft – there’s a sense of relief, and then I can step back and see what needs to be done next.

  • Beta reader finish Dark Bishop: Book 7
  • Book Trailer for Book 7
  • Book Cover for Book 7
  • Back of Book Info for Book 7
  • Format and Final Cut for Book 7

 Rinse and Repeat.  Following this process, which evolved as the story did, has allowed me to transition. 

Dark Bishop will be available September 2018.

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