If you don’t like writing it, why would anyone want to read it? Well, as I said last week, not everything that’s good is easy. I think every writer has a certain “type” of scene that trips them up. We know that sex sells, but erotic scenes can be very difficult to put on the page. Some folks struggle with the ‘quiet moments’, because it can be hard to craft interesting fireside chats between characters. I’ve heard of people struggling through climatic scenes before. And even though action-packed adventures are fun to read, by God can they be hard to write.
That’s my hair-pulling weakness – action scenes. unfortunately, I imagine my books like summer blockbusters, so they’re full of sword fights atop train cars, courtyard battles, exploding stained glass windows, car chases…you name it. And I enjoy reading them later. If I’m a one-in-a-million author who has her work adapted for film someday, those sequences would be fantastic on the big screen. I can’t write quiet literary yarns about the human condition. That ain’t how I roll.
But writing action is excruciating. It takes weeks. Action means movement, so for at least a full chapter, my characters are in constant motion. All five of them. And that motion has to mean something. The action cannot be sword-fighty fluff that doesn’t result in plot. The end of every fight or car chase or battle has the change the story in some way. A major character has to die, the villain has to gain strides towards their nefarious goal, a MacGuffin needs to be stolen, a protagonist has to make a heartbreaking choice. Something.
So you can imagine why this is hard! At least with erotic scenes, you’re only handling two characters (well….most of the time!). And while love scenes sometimes change the story, they can also pass as quiet interludes or fanservice. They’re usually rather brief. But action scenes can only be appreciated when they have a strong point. To write a fanservice action scene, where the characters get themselves into trouble to no real endpoint, feels empty. It feels like a waste of time. In my stories, action arcs take up 1-3 chapters at a time. 10% of my book – and your book – cannot be fluff. The action IS the plot. It cannot be an aside.
What are your least favorite scenes to write? Action? Sex? Quiet conversations? Endings? Openings? Transitions? Let me know in the comments!