Necessary but uninteresting

In writing you often find yourslf doing uninteresting things because if you don’t, the interesting things won’t make sense.

Alice, Bob, and Chay walk into a room for the big fight.

Who’s already in the room? What are they wearing? Where are they sitting? What does the room look like? All that? No one gets excited about blocking, but if you don’t do it, and do it well, the big scenes don’t work.

I read a lot of stuff by people trying to talk about big, tent-pole scenes, sometimes called set pieces, and struggling with the difficulty of it. Battles are like this, but regular fights are too. Often, the author’s struggle is they want to dive into the battle without doing the setup, and that just doesn’t work.

The secret is do it first, do it quickly, and be done.

“Alice walked into the crypt where the Children of Night gathered around a catafalque. They held down an exhausted woman, Isabelle, who had long since spent her energy on useless struggles, and her shouts didn’t escape the old stone. Heaphin stood at her head wearing black robes that seemed to drink in the light, while his Children held Isabelle’s arms and legs. Alice could only see their eyes clearly, fixed on her as she appeared.”

And done. Have some action.

Is Alice going to feed and become a vampire? The scene is set. Is Bob coming in to shoot people with his blood gun? It’s all in the execution. Are other vampires going to come in and fight for power and the victim? Battle on.

But the point is, the setup was quick, clear, and over. Now the author can move on to the fun stuff.

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