Skip to main content

Hello, writers. Happy Juneteenth!

For the last few weeks we've been talking about action scenes and the scenes leading up to them. A writer I know calls the scenes that follow action scenes “walking scenes”. These are quieter scenes, where your characters assess the consequences of the action scene, react to it, and/or react to the changes that have come about because of it.

(If nothing's changed as a result of an action scene, then there's no point in having it.)

I am not sure whether all genres require walking scenes. It's possible some fast-paced action thrillers don't, but I haven't really read enough of them to say. Genres that seldom have action scenes (eg romance) probably require walking scenes after scenes of emotional tension

And not all action/high energy scenes require walking scenes. I think.

So what happens in a walking scene?

Well, your characters are doing something less urgent, life-threatening or world-threatening than what happened in the previous scene. They might (for example) be walking. They might be reading, gardening, drinking tea, cleaning up the blood, or searching for lost sock or body parts.

There's usually some assessment of what went before. It might be verbal-- dialogue-- or it might be mental.

If it's dialogue, then it shouldn't be an answer to all questions or a correct, conclusive and unbiased summing up of what went before. After all, we don't do that in real life. Walking scenes still have the same job as other scenes. They still have to portray character and advance plot. There should still be scene tension, a scene question. Characters may have different interpretations of what happened or different concerns about it.

If the assessment is mental, then your POV character may be worrying. What happened may have raised new, more urgent concerns; things have gotten worse. Or s/he may feel that everything is fine now (a sure sign to the experienced reader that everything is not fine) and may feel calm and relieved.

Anyway, walking scenes. Tonight's challenge is, of course, to write one. Or a part of one.

For the past couple-few weeks, we've been writing about a callow youth and his/her stout companion who first found themselves in a passage, trying to open a door, while something approached them from behind. Then they had to face a terrible creature.


Now that they've escaped the terrible creature, write the beginning of the scene immediately following. Try to limit yourself to 100 words.
And somehow incoporate this.
Write On! will be a regular weekly diary (Thurs 8 pm ET) until it isn't.
Before signing a contract with any agent or publisher, please be sure to check them out on Preditors and Editors, Absolute Write and/or Writer Beware.
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site