Thursday, October 22, 2015

Perils of the Writer: Knocking the Characters Around

Last week I talked about how, as an action writer, the weapon choices a character makes helps define them.
Of course, the other side of the action story is being on the receiving end.  As fond as I am of Veranix, Minox and Satrine, they are not infallible, and fight sequences don't always end well for them.
Sometimes quite badly.
The big thing I always have to watch out for is getting too "cinematic" with their recovery from injuries.  Plenty of movies have people get shot, fall off buildings, suffer major head trauma, and then walk it off five minutes later.  It might make for good movies, but it isn't particularly realistic.
Now, how much realism does a fantasy novel need, you ask?  That depends on your rules.
For example, in Maradaine, one thing magic cannot be used for is healing.  So that keeps me from having an easy out when things go badly.
What this means is I have to keep an eye out for the long term consequences.  Scars last.  Some things never quite heal right again. The body will give you a constant reminder that something isn't right any more.
Thinking about that also forced me to tone down certain things.  I tend to avoid characters getting knocked out over the head if I want them to get up again.  A bit in Thorn where Veranix gets grazed by a crossbow bolt was a change from the rough draft, where the bolt goes through his leg.  I decided I needed to avoid any sort "never walk right again", at least at this point.
Of course, those long term consequences can also be character points.  Without delving into spoilers, an injury suffered in one of the books already out provides the seed for a significant subplot in the sequel.
Speaking of sequels, The Alchemy of Chaos is just about three months away.  Both it and An Import of Intrigue have Goodreads pages, Alchemy can be preordered everywhere you preorder books, and we should be sharing a cover for Alchemy very soon.  In the meantime, I've got to get back to work on all the things.

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