Wednesday, 21 March 2012

plotting a car chase

Have you ever watched James Bond, Swordfish, the Bruce Willis movies and wondered how to get that action, that skid on the page for a thriller.
 what makes the action zoom?
is it the adjectives, verbs etc.
or the short sharp action sentences. Before you write that definitive action sequence here are a few research tips.
*I find if I draw a map of the streets or google earth search and then look at the route I can see where there would be a problem, a cross street, a truck entrance, a 360 degree turn and most importantly how to get away.

*Next I look at the car specifications. revs, gears, tyres and cornering. Can it go from 0-60 in 4 seconds? Will it turn in a narrow street. Can it mount a gutter without damaging the undercarriage?
*With this in mind then I can put the driver through his paces. Will he take risks? ie. go thru cross traffic. Will he be able to drive and shoot? Can he look behind him and compute a way out quickly. Is he reckless or careful? 

Give the driver something to do besides drive If he is speeding-given! then he will need a manual car. They give the writer/author more action slamming down to second to jump the kerb and fishtale around the blind corner. . Shoot, fumble for phone, punch his passenger. This added task makes the driving more difficult. If he is alone and in control then two or more cars following will give him plenty to think about, especially if they are following on separate courses.

*The road. The chase has to be where you can give the driver something exciting to do. A narrow road is ok if a truck is coming the other way, but a 6 lane highway has endless possibilities. A bridge is good as there is only one way out. A car park is often used for the simple fact the driver/tail are trapped with plenty of poles and height. Ditches, fences, factories, fish markets, docks, train stations. Any obstacle that has the potential to get smashed, foil the car behind or make the reader think the driver cannot possible get out of this is the ticket.

*keep the action coming then just when you think it is finished the car will take off and everyone will scramble to follow. This is an old trick but works in writing because you can fool the reader into thinking it is over then Kerpow he gets away. The shorter the sentences the faster you read, therefore make it machine gun fast. No let up.

*Don't forget the sounds Cars have distinctive sounds. Find out what they sound like. The revs, the  skids, the braking. He doesn't need to glance in the mirror, he can hear the car behind as it grinds through the gears. Tyres on gravel skid. Front ends thump on speed bumps. When a gear is missed the engine screams to red line.

look here for others examples of books with action. 

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