Huh. Okay well that picture of Chris Morphew I was copying was a picture of HIM and not his book cover, but I'm cool with a little mystique so I'll stick to the book cover.
Good morning boys and girls!
I sat on the steps way up the back of the theatre for this sold out session with lots of enthusiastic school kids who wanted to know all about writing Action! books.
Chris Morphew is the author of 12 - or is it now 15? - of the hugely popular Zac Power books and has his own YA series the Phoenix Files, in which he's just finished writing the first draft of the fourth book.
Gabrielle Lord has written a multitude of adult books about crime, but you may know her from her series Conspiracy 365 that started in January and each month a new book is coming out. If she hadn't written them all ahead of time, I would have a nervous breakdown at that sort of pace! Eeep!
Anyhoo, Chris and Gabrielle both have different techniques to conducting research for their books, and both agree that explosions are integral to their plots.
Chris's research into blowing things up is conducted on the couch in front of action movies, as he claims he has a pretty good handle on how they work this way.
Gabrielle, however, has experience blowing things up. In what felt a little bit like too much information, now-we're-going-to-find-half-the-boys-in-the-audience-blowing-stuff-up-cos-you-taught-them-how-to, Gabrielle explained that in the past she had blown up bunny rabbits, much to the shock of her audience and she seemed extremely regretful, but in the past she and family had put explosives down rabbit warrens. They may be cute, but they are a pest. Like foxes.
They shared these great tips for how to write an action suspense book.
- Readers will go along with a complex plot (and they both excel at complex plots) if you have something fun happen too. Like things exploding.
- Characters need to have a goal, while being chased. In Gabrielle's book, her protagonist Cal has to survive 365 days being chased. 12 books of that would be pretty boring if he wasn't active, and had some goals of his own. Chris added that 'Don't die, is a pretty good motivator'.
- Suspense writing is about with holding information from your readers. You the author know it, but your readers and characters don't. Will he survive? MAYBE.
- When your characters manage to solve a problem, that solution should create 5-6 new problems that then need to be dealt with (I hadn't actively thought of this before, and I think it's genius).
Great tips, right? Now go forth and write something thrilling!