Friday, April 20, 2018

Draw from Real Life...Create Something New

I am what I call a visual writer. I see the book unfold in my mind like watching a movie. This is particularly true when it comes to write the action scenes. Not being a fighter myself, I find with those, it helps to actually see videos. Watching the action in progress helps me describe it on the page.

This is fairly easy if I'm writing a scene where the characters are human. Whether they are fighting using a type of martial art, or using weapons, YouTube becomes my best friend, because it has videos of all that. But what does a writer like me do when the scene is more fantastical. For example, my current WIP involves dragon shifters. The fight scenes in these books is dragon on dragon fighting, mostly in the air, but also partly on the ground.

What's a girl to do when she needs some visuals to inspire her?

I started with movies. Believe it or not, there are only a handful of movies or shows with more than one dragon. And even fewer where the dragons are fighting each other. (And I don't have time to wait for Game of Thrones to get to that point.) The best I found was Eragon which is technically dragon (with rider) vs. shadow dragon (with rider), but it helped.

However, one short scene only helps so much (I'm writing 8 books here), and when I watch these videos I don't write everything I'm seeing because those scenes are specific to those stories. Instead, I pick out individual moves or maneuvers that fit my characters, the terrain, the situation, etc., and piece together my own unique fight scene.

So if the obvious isn't the answer, move on to the not as obvious (but sometimes cooler)...

In this case, I decided to draw from real life. What fights in the air in real life? Birds. So, I started looking up nature videos where birds are fighting midair or attacking something on the ground. With that small change in focus, I found was exactly what I needed.  Lots of it, in fact!


I still have to pull out bits and pieces from each video to put together an entire fight scene. Maybe the spiraling tug-of-war from the video above. Maybe the way an eagle turns his head before flipping over to face an oncoming falcon. Maybe what a massive golden eagle does when attacking a mountain goat. But the point is, I now have a lot more fodder for my visual brain to engage with.

I write paranormal to escape, to not be confined by the bounds of this world and be able to let my imagination run free. The irony is not lost on me that this world is still informing my fantasy world at very in depth levels. It makes me stop and appreciate the beauty and majesty we can find right here. No imagination needed.

Hey writers... What do you use to help you write scenes with no basis in this world? What else would you think of as a real-life example for dragons fighting each other?


Maureen said...

Wow, that's creative thinking on your part to look at birds. I never thought about a fight scene with dragons, or other creatures that you couldn't easily visualize.

Diane Burton said...

Great post!!! Like you, I see my story in movie fashion. For a fight scene with starships, I "see" scenes from Star Wars with the smaller ships, the fighters. In SW II, Obi Wan hides in an asteroid field. I used that concept in THE PILOT. I never think about using U-Tube videos. Good suggestion.

Francesca Quarto said...

You have to be a creative thinker just to get through this crazy world! Using the world around us as inspiration is like fine tuning your fiddle so we can play better. Good ideas in your post,Abigail. Thanks for the great insights while I watch the sky for my next inspiration! Cheers!

Francesca Q.

Nancy Gideon said...

Great post! As usual, Di beat me to the Star Wars reference, but I'd also suggest aerial dog-fighting with airplanes. My son flies R/C planes and they do aerial combat, some narrated for terminology assistance. The same principles would apply as far as banking and rolls. He has his own YouTube channel (Andrew Gideon) where he narrates what he films (probably quite mind-numbing if you're not related but it's a start.

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

Great post! I watch a giant hawk who uses our pond as a stakeout for his afternoon snack!