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II. THE ELEMENTS
 

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1.Action

 
(viii) SOUNDTRACK EFFECTS
 

I like throwing bits of speech into action scenes quite apart from skimming. I think they add excitement—and the more fragmentary the better.

‘Now!’
‘Faster!’
‘Don’t do that!’
‘Hey!’

I’ll go for sound effects too, usually in italics. Here are a few from Worldshaker:
swoosh!
clack!
Twang! Twang! Twang!

Maybe it’s my comics mentality coming out, but I learned the habit ages ago from a story my stepdaughter wrote in primary school, full of sound effects. She’s on to something there, I thought. That really works!

I suppose I’m coming close to what would be on a film soundtrack. I said before that, as writers, we need to go for effects that work in language, rather than the absolute visual immediacy of film. But bits of speech are language, and sound effects are sort of language-able.

This is a kind of immediacy we can borrow from film—so why not?

OTHER ACTION TOPICS

(i) ONE THING AT A TIME

(ii) CHOREOGRAPHY

(iii) SPACES & MEASUREMENTS

(iv) FLASH-IMAGES

(v) STRONG ACTION

(vi) CHUNKING

(vii) CUT OR SKIM

(ix) IMPACT

(x) PREPOSITIONS

Other Elements Topics

2. Setting   

3. Dialogue

4. Thinking Inside

 

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