Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Screaming Halt

Ah, my bookends. Sven the beginning, Oleg the end and me in the middle…

Ooops, did I say that out loud? Hah. Well… um…. Right. Nano.

Okay, you’ve dumped the inner distractions, you’ve been writing like a spider on steroids and suddenly, a screaming halt is approaching.

Put your hands over your ears and close your eyes. Lie back and think of Sven… NO! think of ‘and then…’ or better yet, with your slowing scene, think of where you want that scene to end and work towards it. Too hard? I said not to think of Sven!

Your characters are talking with no end in sight? Throw in something controversial – a secret told, a comment overheard, a distraction (car accident, accidental phasor burst, a vampire appearing, a man holding a pizza box drops it in traffic and it gets run over) anything to take your characters out of their dead end conversation.

You’ve successfully trapped your characters, but what now? Nope, Sven and Oleg will not assist you with their rippling muscles, oiled bodies, distracting good looks and cunning minds… um. Okay. Moving on… You trapped them, but how would you get out? A sympathetic guard? A backpack filled with tools one character thought contained gold? A MacGuyver watch with a nuclear power cell? A lovesick werewolf desperate to impress you? Mmmm…. MacGuyver…

The great escape has occurred but what next? Keep them in danger; a shout from the battlements alerting the guard, treacherous terrain, injuries, a burning thirst for revenge. A shuttlecraft with its engines offline and the bay doors firmly shut. (Luuuke, use the force…)

Finally, they’re alone in the vast reaches of space, in the desert, hiding in bushland, out of the burning building, closed the door on all those obnoxious party-goers. Throw in sex. Yes, indeedy, you want a word count, this’ll get it for you… no, Sven and Oleg are busy for the next… 26 days! (Not now, Oleg, I’ll get the massage later.) A sexual encounter can happen for a number of reasons, but one of the best is the stress reliever, the affirmation of life after a near miss, the inability to reign in the lust. Of course, they can regret the incident later.

And with intimacy established, you can now separate your characters to get them to think on what they’ve lost, to plan how to get more of that… Sven… stop it… intimacy, because damn, neither of them realised how compatible they were. But what separates them? Social standing? Ideological differences? Family values? Best to leave politics and religion out of it, both are like Gordian knots and lead to info dumping.

Okay, take your hands from your ears and open your eyes, you’ve gone past the screaming halt. Look back. See that speck? That’s her, still yelling and that crowd around her? They are the Nano-ers who decided it’s all too difficult and are mesmerised.

You can finish, just keep ‘and then’ in mind and your imagination will take it from there.

Okay, Sven, you can stop doing that in about an hour…

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