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Author Topic: Too much talk, not enough action  (Read 3139 times)

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Calam

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Too much talk, not enough action
« on: March 30, 2014, 07:38:14 PM »

My dilemma in my character driven murder mystery is that I have plenty of conversation, which reveals character and problems to solve, but nothing actually happens, apart from the body discovered on the night of the Ball. My characters go from point A to point B and talk. Then to point C and talk. I want something dramatic to happen while they are talking. Do you think this is really necessary or is what their conversation reveals enough to satisfy the reader?
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Dave Freas

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Re: Too much talk, not enough action
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2014, 08:26:48 PM »

If you're writing a 'cozy' type mystery (like Agatha Christie), talking may be enough and the drama comes from what the conversations reveal.  If you're writing an action type mystery, then no.  In that style, you want things - car chases, assaults, narrow escapes - to happen.

You can have dramatic things happen at points A, B, and C.  If one is the murder scene or victim's home, your characters can notice some abnormality the police overlooked.  Or the murder can be lurking nearby and attack them.  Or bobbytrap either place so that anyone poking about is (almost) killed in an explosion or fire.

The dialog between your characters can be dramatic, too.  They could disagree on how to interpret the evidence, pursue the bad guy, or even whether to have Chinese or Thai food for lunch.

Hope this helps.

Dave
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Calam

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Re: Too much talk, not enough action
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2014, 01:52:56 AM »

Thanks Dave,
This does help. At the moment mine reads like a cozy, but I want it to be more dramatic. I'm hung up on this point: "What happens to tilt the world and bring her closer to her black spot in the novel". I like your suggestion of the booby trap or the killer lurking or discovering some physical evidence.
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Dave Freas

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Re: Too much talk, not enough action
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2014, 09:27:11 PM »

Are your main characters policemen/women or are they private citizens?

If they're private citizens, there many ways to up the dramatic moments.  The police could catch them mucking about the crime scene or victim's apartment and charge them with hindering or interfering with a police investigation (or the Australian equivalent thereof).  They could become suspects in (or even be arrested for) the murder.

The killer could spot them snooping around and come after them at their home(s) or work (or even on the street) to end their prying.

They could talk to someone about the crime or victim, then in a 'conversational' dramatic moment,  they could realize he or she is the killer.

Hope this helps.

Dave
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B L McAllister

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Re: Too much talk, not enough action
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2014, 04:27:52 PM »

Change it if you must, but I have to remark that some people (count me in) prefer cozies to action mysteries. If it comes out as a cozy, be sure I learn about it.
Byron
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Byron Leon McAllister.
Books by Byron and Kay McAllister can most easily be obtained as e-books or in print from the publisher at http://www.writewordsinc.com/ For "Undercover Nudist," the print version is an improved version of the ebook version. The others are the same in both formats.

Calam

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Re: Too much talk, not enough action
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2014, 11:49:46 PM »

Dave, mine are private citizens, two friends helping their 3rd friend find the killer of her prominent husband and at least two of the friends fear for their lives, but the least suspecting friend is in the most danger. I do have one major action scene coming up but in the meantime I thought I should have them get out of their chairs and do more than talk. I like that you say it's okay to have dramatic or revealing conversation. There's plenty of that.

Byron, I'm glad to hear that. Now I'll get on with the next chapter of dialogue, cozy-style, but is it okay to add a moving shadow at least? hehehe. This novel won't be submitted for publication because I'm playing with 1950s culture, movies, music clothes, as the background to a school reunion, and I've used too many song lyrics that wouldn't pass copyright or would be too costly to get permission. Great writing exercise for me though, and I still want to be satisfied with the finished product since this is the first mystery I've attempted.
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Dave Freas

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Re: Too much talk, not enough action
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2014, 01:54:34 PM »

Another thing you could have the killer do is stalk them and play scary pranks on them.
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Calam

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Re: Too much talk, not enough action
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2014, 10:53:02 PM »

Dave, Play pranks or set traps. That's an idea. Oh, I forgot to mention one other incidental point. I keep changing the killer. I've changed it 4 times but think I'll stick with the last one, unless the identity becomes too obvious in the plot, and I'll have to make that one a victim like I'm about to do with the previous one.
Thanks for all the help. You have me thinking. That has to be good.
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Dave Freas

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Re: Too much talk, not enough action
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2014, 08:06:35 AM »

Some of those pranks can be deadly (or almost deadly).

Think poisonous snakes or spiders, tampered brake lines, falling trees or tree limbs, poisoned wine or water, gas leaks, fires, etc.
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Calam

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Re: Too much talk, not enough action
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2014, 02:30:31 AM »

hahaha. Now I'll have enough dramatic action for a sequel. Thank you.  :)
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