2

So, here's a scene idea from yours truly:

The giant eagle brown falcon, Horus, is fighting against a necromancer that can stop time. So the necromancer obviously stops time, pulls out an MG 42, and shoots at Horus for 10 seconds. Using the average rate of fire, that's 200 rounds shot.

Time resumes and the bullets rip through Horus' shield.

For a few frames, we can see his back. The shoulder and the upper-left side are gone in a mist of blood. The wing is completely severed, the crop, stomach, and some of the air sacs got ripped out as well. Parts the ribcage can be seen too.

Then we cut to the other characters, seeing Horus fall out of the sky from afar, but the impact is obscured by a line of buildings.


In animation or live-action, this is a way of shocking the audience without being excessively gory. This can be accomplished because the visuals allow you to tell a lot in a few frames, making the death seem even more shocking and brutal.

However, text progresses at a snail's pace. Even after trimming and tidying the prose, you don't have to pause the book at the right frame to catch it. You have to choose between detail (the extent of the damage) and speed (the characters seeing what just happened). Sure, we're still flying half a ship, but it feels weaker for the reasons I stated above.

How can you convey suddenness when a lot is happening at once?

5

Lots of different ways. Step one, cut out extraneous detail: leave the exact details of the damage done for a later passage, or the readers' imagination. Don't over-describe - it breaks the flow. Good for slowing things down, drawing out a horrified realisation at the end of the battle, but bad in the middle of it. Try to imply as much as you can with as few words as possible.

(This is also a problem many new writers have: they introduce a new character, location, object or outfit, and it's as though time pauses to give you a full 360° breakdown of what it looks like, complete with history and biography. There are times where this can be a good thing. There are far more times when this should be avoided like the plague.)

The main trick to maintaining the pace of the scene seems to be to make the narration seem rushed. An obvious trick is to avoid complicated words, keep things simple to understand; we don't want the reader to have to slow down and work out what something means, we want them to skip through and read the passages quickly - even speeding up if possible!

One way? Short sentences. Snappy phrases. Chop-and-change, back-and-forth. "Shaky-cam" and "smash-cuts":

Horus screeched, diving for the Necromancer, who suddenly stuttered in place. And was now holding a gun. Horus' world exploded in pain; his shield was in tatters. His left shoulder was shredded. His chest was just gone. The wing was severed. Ribs poked from bloody mince. The air whistled past: the ground approached fast, and then everything went black.

In the distance, his companions watched the hail of bullets blast from time-stop, tearing through Horus, who fell from the sky and disappeared behind a line of buildings.

Another way is to turn your entire paragraph into one long run-on-sentence so that the reader feels like it is being rushed out in one breath with no breaks or chance to pause and a building sense of urgency as they strain to reach the end without running out of air...

Horus screeched, diving for the Necromancer, who suddenly stuttered in place. And was now holding a gun (was that an MG?) and everything was PAIN, his shield was shattered, his shoulder was shredded, his chest was gone, his wing was severed, he swore he could feel air on his ribs and the ground was getting so close, and everything went black.

In the distance, his companions watched the hail of bullets blast from time-stop, tearing through Horus, who fell from the sky and disappeared behind a line of buildings.

| improve this answer | |
0

I may not be able to give a good answer because your question is missing a lot of context, and I cannot comment as I am new. So here's the best I can do:

A good way to do this is focusing in through the other stuff to the sudden event that you want to place emphasis. The narrator/main character should still see the other stuff, but like out of the corner of their eye, not their main focus. A really good example is when (SPOILER ALERT!)

Sirius Black dies

in Harry Potter, or when

Selena dies

in Percy Jackson.

I hope this helps.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    You might want to give a spoiler alert. I'm pretty sure there's a way to hide spoiler text but I can't tell you how to do it because I don't know. Nice answer btw – Tasch May 3 at 2:52
  • 1
    @Tasch I'm pretty sure most people have read those but yeah I'll cover it up any way. Thank you! – Ankit May 3 at 3:59
  • 1
    @Tasch just viewed ur profile, I am a high school percussionist too lol – Ankit May 3 at 4:01
  • nice, ha. Glad to find another drummer-writer – Tasch May 4 at 4:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.