Observations from “Spirit Run” – part 7

Some of the “good stuff” coming at the reader in this section. We all love a little action, right? Plenty of the usual things you’d expect in action sequences here too: fighting, turmoil, conflict, etc. It’s the kind of things you’d see in the latest Expendables movie, I figure. Minus Arnold, Sylvester, and a few others. As a reader, it’s easy. You get to sit back and enjoy the show. As for the one writing those sections, it can be a maddening process.

I can never determine which is more difficult: writing action sequences or writing a compelling dialogue exchange. I know folks who enjoy action over dialogue any day of the week. But I am also aware of those who prefer an intriguing account of words pressed back and forth. It’s all a matter of preference, I say. But my job as a writer is not to worry about this preference. My job is to make a story worth telling. Whether it’s good action or good dialogue can be irrelevant. It’s all about how you present the concept.

Movies have an advantage as it applies to action. You, the audience, can experience the action firsthand. You don’t need to imagine what’s happening. You have a clear picture in front of your face. There’s no need to debate what you see with the person sitting next to you. But when you’re writing an action sequence, the interpretation that you, the author, provides to the reader can vary greatly. The words on paper (or on your Nook or Kindle) don’t change, but the image inside a person’s head can. I find this to be a difficult balance as a writer. For instance, I find myself wanting to deliberately open up my brain and plaster the picture of what’s happening on paper. And what’s more, I want everyone who reads that part to understand fully what I’m portraying. Tricky thing to do and impossible too. Specifically the whole brain on paper thing – not realistic.

Once again, this is something I can’t worry about as a storyteller. My job is to make a story worth telling. And then tell it, of course. But within that job description there is some fine print that says “don’t try to control what the reader is seeing.” Trust me, it’s in there. The most I can do is paint a picture of the truth I see and let the observer make sense of what he sees for himself. This is a difficult task but it’s extremely freeing when you come to that conclusion. Especially when you are writing a story about a place – aka the spiritual realm – that so many people imagine in separate ways.

It’s why I figured this part was more of an “observation” than a thought. There’s some new imagery going on in part 7, which I hope hits on all the right cylinders, but I don’t want to waste time explaining it in these posts too heavily. I’d rather the reader be taken under by what’s happening and become immersed in an unknown territory of story. That sounds far more enjoyable than being spoon fed everything. Perhaps on a later post I’ll touch on each of those items; go in depth on what I was picturing in my head, but for now, I’m more interested in seeing how one might react to what’s been presented. Not what my agenda may or may not be.

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