4 thoughts on “An interview of me on Writing Action”

  1. Larry,
    I wanted to thank you for doing the conference call for Farland’s Authors Advisory. I missed it due to phone difficulties on my end, but I immediately downloaded the MP3 (those guys are great about getting ’em posted quickly) and I really enjoyed your comments.

    I had one question that wasn’t addressed, and I wondered if you might be willing to answer it here or else on your blog if you have any time. I understand if you don’t have any time as you mentioned you’ve got ten novels in the queue right now (holy crap, that’s amazing, and congrats).

    My question is about action pacing. When you have two or more plot lines running through a novel, do you try to make the action sequences coincide with one another or do you offset them to give the reader a break? Meaning, if Plot A is on fire with gun battles and car chases, do you show Plot B going through helicopter crashes and secret lair collapses in the next chapter or have the Plot B characters doing something placid?


    — david j.

  2. In this interview you said Dan Simmons was awesome, but you only liked some of his books. Which ones would you recommend.

  3. Thinking of a specific friend is definitely a good idea for character development and voice.

    “Set piece” sequences: I think missions fall under this category, to look at it from a military perspective. More often than not, my characters are bringing the fight to the bad guys, so they run missions. I also agree very much with the idea of the characters driving the action.

    Pacing is tricky. I worry about pace even when writing e-mails. However, I learned a lot about pacing by reading Tintin graphic novels. Herge paced each scene to make you want to turn the page, and he usually succeeded.

    Shaky cam, oh God no. I think it’s best used like pure Habanero: easy to overdo it, impossible to fix. And as far as a hot chick on the cover, I think Bob said it best:


    Hey, if you like the soundtrack to Inception, check out the JunkieXL remix.

    Writing stuff out longhand does have a few advantages, but I typically hate doing it. Lately I was able to get some writing done at work thanks to an unusual lull in activity, and pen and paper was my only option. If nothing else, it allows you one more chance to revise your final product.

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