Wednesday, April 23, 2008

And... action?

I've gotta tell ya, I've had a hell of a time of late coming up with anything to say around here. My brain's so preoccupied with finishing the first draft of DH that I'm lucky I'm not walking into walls and coasting through red lights. I've been bumping around with my head in the clouds for weeks - or, more accurately, in my own private land of make-believe. (Hey, who says you've gotta grow up sometime? Lame-ass grown-ups, that's who.) It's funny; I want desperately to get this story told, but there's also this hesitation, this reluctance to let it go. Which leads me to my topic of the day.

DH, as I may have mentioned a time or twelve, is a pretty actiony book. But the last thing I want is a book that's nothing but action; action, on its own, isn't conflict, and 300-odd pages of things going boom could wind up being pretty damn monotonous. No, what I want is a story with brains, with heart (and not just splattered across the pavement. Because, you know, yick.) I want to create characters you root for, characters you identify with. I want a book you don't forget the second you put it down, and action alone just ain't gonna accomplish that.

So here's the problem. I'm smack in the middle of a huge action scene, and the writing's kind of dragging. (I mean to say the actual writing of it is taking a while, not that the writing itself is bad.) It's kind of frustrating, because I've got a killer set-piece, some decent tension, and the stakes are certainly high enough. The thing is, it's not the scene I want to be writing. The one I'm fantasizing about, the one that keeps me up at night, is the next scene. If the scene I'm writing is the big action climax of the book, the next one is the emotional climax. Sure, it's full of the talky-talk, but I'll be damned if it's not a thousand times more interesting to me than the explosiony goodness I'm writing now.

So who knows - maybe I am growing up a bit. I mean, in the great debate of Talking versus Explosions, Explosions wins hands-down, right? Only here I am, writing explosions and thinking about dialogue. Or maybe I'm just fooling myself, and this slow-down is just my own subconscious way of delaying the inevitable - that moment when you've got to leave the high of creation behind, and turn your attention to the task of revision (which, for the record, is where the story goes from a neat idea to actually readable). Somehow, though, I think it's the former.

Still, my obsession with the talky bits aside, I suspect I'll never turn my back on the action entirely. After all, it is my own private land of make-believe, and that means if I say so, there's room enough for both.