I got the idea for this post from one of Anthony Lee Collins‘s comments on a blog I wrote last week.
Sometimes story timelines don’t work. Or perhaps, they work in the outline or as we’re planning the story, but once we start writing or thinking more deeply about where our characters are at any given time, we start to realize that… it just isn’t possible.
Fight scenes are sometimes hard to choreograph on the page, which is why I tend to avoid writing physical conflict scenes and go for quieter scenes with more psychological conflict. Timing and pacing are two reasons why writing fight scenes is difficult. When you’re writing a scene about two characters involved in a gunfight, it’s hard to time everything perfectly – the shot from the gun, the character falling and grabbing his arm in pain, the other character rushing over to finish him off… A lot of times, when I re-read fight scenes that I’ve written, they come across really clunky.
Timing is also an issue when you’re writing one scene that takes place in Florida and another scene that takes place in Russia (for example) and by the climax of the story, the characters from both scenes have to meet at a certain place in California. The reader needs to get a realistic sense of the characters moving from their respective locations to the one where they will be together… and for that to be done right, the author has to develop a sense of how to pace the story.
I’m not yet sure how to get this right except to create very detailed outlines, keep in mind the time differences in your settings, and revise carefully in order to create a pacing that doesn’t feel too rushed or too drawn out.
Is timing/pacing/logistics/choreographing fight scenes an issue for anyone else?