Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Scene Favorites

Of all the things I like to write, I think the dialogue in action scenes is the most fun for me. I rarely plan dialogue in advance, so it's the most spontaneous writing I do, but oddly enough when there is a lot of action going on in the scene it's also the easiest. People under stress or duress say the damnedest things to each other, and I never get tired of composing it.

Action scene dialogue between secondary characters or a secondary character and the protagonist or antagonist is also one of the better story opportunities to showcase the support cast and avoid them becoming mere window-dressings or sidekicks for the protagonists. Here's one such scene from Shadowlight that I had a lot of fun with.

I wish love scene dialogue were as simple to write; I find that the most difficult to compose. I can handle describing the action, no problem, but cooking up the appropriate lines for the lovers to say to each other is always a challenge. Love scenes with no dialogue aren't as interesting, though, so I try to create and incorporate the right words.

One thing that helps me with writing love scene dialogue is to read some romantic poetry first. I don't quote the poems in love scenes, but they put me in the romantic mindset. Occasionally I'll write a love poem or letter from one character to the other (that helped a lot with writing the dialogue in the love scenes from Evermore.)

What are you favorite scenes to write, and what are your least favorite? Do you have anything you do to help with writing the scenes that are difficult for you? Let us know in comments.


  1. What are you favorite scenes to write, and what are your least favorite?For some reason I love writing arguments between the H/h, lol. Maybe because it's a great way to get rapid fire in-and-out of both characters' povs, and something revealing (even to me) always seems to come out of it.
    Least favorite? Having a character express very deep emotion without becoming TOO mushy. Sensitive gag reflex here. :-/

    Do you have anything you do to help with writing the scenes that are difficult for you?I try to find unique, backdoor ways for them to express what they feel, or have it come out in some unexpected way, even a plot device.

  2. Sex scenes are hands down the most difficult. I like writing banter between characters the best.

    I use book soundtracks to set the mood; different songs help with different kinds of scenes.

    And when the going gets tough, I fall back on the steps for scenes and sequels (does it end in crisis? decision?) and motivation reaction units. So if nothing else it's structurally sound.

  3. Keita Haruka2:11 PM

    Scenes I love: "Charged" scenes. I absolutely love writing scenes with high emotion: the thoughts and feelings of a small person as a huge guy bears down on him with intent to bash him; the first sunrise that a person who's lived underground for all his life sees; the moment when a young warrior realises that he's in love with his beaten-up, battle-damaged instructor...

    I tend to write very character-driven stories, so it's immensely satisfying for me to capture those moments on paper.

    Scenes I dislike: action scenes. I completely suck at writing fight sequences. There's just no real way you can describe it with economy of words since a LOT happens in the space of seconds. I absolutely HATE the "time dilation" effect it creates: a fight scene that's over in under a minute takes longer to write and takes up more space than the journey to get to the spot the fight happens. :P The sequening of the fight is also difficult: fist slams into face. Opponent staggers back. Opponent two rushes in and swings. Protagonist ducks and swings...I just find it incredibly boring to write. I just really struggle with it.

    What I do to help...I watch violent movies to see how a fight goes. Sometimes I also read some scenes in various books, to give me courage. :P

  4. I like writing scenes between deaf persons and hearing persons. I find it very challenging to write the dialigue of the deaf person appropriately. If they are signing I dont like a straight translation into English but it is hard to not make them sound stupid. Good fun.

    For inspiration I watch my daughter and her friends communicating and Deaf V programmes.

  5. arguments. I love writing arguments. :)

  6. BTW, the Shadowlight scene rocked! Couldn't see a spot to comment on the excerpt, but thanks for posting it.

  7. I am so late to this party. I'd love to be writing any scenes right now. My muse/video camera/imagination/whatever you want to call it has left the building. Left two weeks ago. :( But I suppose I like to write witty dialog and fight scenes. And I love writing *gasp* sex scenes.

    Whether I'm any good at all this stuff, well...

  8. For some reason I really love writing dialogue and action for three (or more) characters. So much more fun than writing for two, which brings me to my "hate to write" scenes: sex. I just can't do it (sorry for the pun) with any grace or even hotness. To get in the mood, I tend to rely on memory, which may be part of the problem;-)