One thing I learned from CONvergence 2015

By Sander van der Wel from Netherlands ([370/365] Ghost fight) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Sander van der Wel, Ghost fight, via Wikimedia Commons

I have a whole list of notes that I hope to get around posting here at some point. And this is by no means the only thing I learned at CONvergence. But it’s the one thing that has made the most immediate difference in my writing.

I attended the usual panel of “What I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Started Writing”. This was the first year that I realized, after three years attending, that they do this panel every year, and I’d managed to attend it every time.

This year, someone new to me was on the panel: Wesley Chu, author of The Lives of Tao. He’s not only a successful writer, but a kung fu master. Needless to say his books have plenty of action sequences in them.

And here’s the quote that keeps echoing in my brain whenever I sit down to write: “Fight scenes are just conversations with fists.”

He said that a fight scene isn’t about the choreography, but about what the fight is going to accomplish. Who stands to loose/gain what. Sounds simple enough.

But as I’ve been sitting down to write since the con, I’ve thought about it with scenes that have no action in them at all and realized I need to take the same approach. It’s all about the tension. Who is trying to accomplish what, and what is in their way. I knew this was true on a broader scale with the whole plot of a book, but I hadn’t yet applied it to the chapter level, the paragraph level, and even the sentence level.

More nuggets to come from both agents and authors alike.

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