And Then I Popped Him One

madgeniusclub

It’s very hard to write violence, for the same reason it’s very hard to write sex.  No, wait, there is one difference, most people have experienced sex, but most people have never been in a knife or fist fight.

Even those of us who’ve been in fights have a tendency to blur them in our minds.  In my case perhaps more so, as I think I’m a berserker, because one minute I get the cold realization I’m going to fight, the next second — seems like — I’m trying to squish someone with a heavy oak desk, and five of my classmates are holding me back.  Considering at the time that desk probably massed half of my body weight, I’d say there was altered consciousness there.

Be that as it may, even if you’re fully conscious through a fight, it’s hard to remember it.  The thing is that everything happens…

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Swain Again-MRUs

Pen, Ink, and Crimes

During Mary Buckham’s recent online Pacing class, she suggested we improve our scene pacing by following a model found in Chapter 4 of  Dwight V. Swain’s book, Techniques of the Selling Writer. That model involves breaking scenes into goal/conflict/disaster, followed by the point-of-view (POV) character’s reaction/dilemma/decision in reaction to the disaster. This model resonated with me.

So recently, when I was considering how to sharpen my paragraphs, I pulled out my trusty copy of Swain’s book and reread Chapter 3, “Plain Facts About Feelings.” In it, Swain suggests that the key to writing better paragraphs is to break moment-by-moment action into motivation/reaction units (MRUs).

I’m sure many of you have mastered writing MRUs, but today I thought I’d review Swain’s advice for those of you who, like me, still sometimes struggle.

According to Swain, the first step is to understand that, like scenes, MRUs must be written from the…

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