Monday, June 26, 2017

Actions Speak

In Misha Burnett's Five Pillars of PulpRev, he examines the role of action in revealing character:
We know who people are by what they do. This does not mean that every scene has to involve a knife fight on the top of a speeding train. Ordinary every day actions can also inform—Raymond Chandler could describe a couple’s relationship by showing us the man lighting the woman’s cigarette. We don’t want the writer to tells us that a scientist is an unconventional genius, we want to see him tearing a rival’s paper to shreds and throwing the pieces out the window when asked to critique it.
But how can an action reveal or undermine a character? In the video below, HyperDrive explains how the misuse of a particular move in a fight, the "protagonist throw" by the neck, end up harming villains. For instance, if a villain has spent the entire story killing everyone he gets his hands on, would he really just pick up the hero by the neck and toss him away? In most cases, where this is used in a fight where the villain is demonstrating killing intent, the answer is no. But if the villain's motive is intimidation...?

This video serves as a reminder that a writer must be aware of what a character's actions say, and not just the dialogue.

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