Writing On Spec

An award caliber procrastinator discovers a new and dangerous pursuit to keep him from actually writing another script. Why another Blog? I love to talk screenwriting. I love to talk story. I live in Richmond, VA. It's almost easier to get produced than find another screenwriter here. We are the anti-LA.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Relativity of Danger

So I'm driving down the road the other day - Interstate 95. It's a pretty busy road - all kinds of traffic from Florida to NY and above. Three lanes, busy 24/7. I say this because I don't want to give the impression that this is a back road or anything remotely similar to a deserted highway.

I'm doing, I think about 70mph. The speed limit is 60 or 65 and traffic is just groovin' along. Not many slouches at this time of day. It's about 5pm on a Saturday.

I see a motorcycle come zipping along in the rear-view, so I pull into the center lane. Less than a minute later, the bike goes by.

I must add, that although I've ridden motorcycles in my youth, they were always the offroad variety. Nothing on the road. So, while I have some experience, I'm not an expert. I do know though that what this guy is wearing, isn't the typical safety gear.

T-shirt, shorts, sneakers & a helmet. He's doing about 85mph, riding one-handed and looking back over his shoulder as he zips by me.

He continues to look over his shoulder (and drive one-handed) as he zips by three other vehicles about 300 feet ahead.

So I'm thinking, holy cow, that guy's crazy wearing just what he has on and going that fast - must be up to 90mph by now as fast as he's going by cars.

Then he does it - pops a wheelie. Ninety mph on the open highway and he's on one wheel passing a minivan or something. I about crapped my pants just seeing it.

So there it is - two perspectives. To him, it's exciting, but not a huge risk. To me, all I can think about is the 300 feet of body parts and flesh strewn across the highway that would be him if he made the slightest mistake.

Danger is relative to the person in the situation.

When you're writing your action sequence, try to put your hero in situations that are dangerous to us, but not him, to show his competence, but situations that are dangerous to him to show his courage. Dangerous doesn't always have to be an action sequence either. Dangerous could be something as simple as placing him in the vicinity of something he's allergic too. Perhaps even something that the majority of folks are not.

Just make sure that when you're writing, you remember that the person in danger is your character and not you - so the things that are pushing them are not things that necessarily affect you.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous EM said...

Good point.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 8:24:00 PM EDT  

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