Monday, May 31, 2010

Milk the action -- writing tip

It never hurts to "milk the action." That's a tip I picked up from Alice Orr who has written many books , worked as an editor at Walker Books for years, and had her own agency, also for years.

Alice talks in her workshop about how Charlie Chaplin, as the little tramp, was going to have a fistfight with a very large bully. Now we know they are going to fight, but first Charlie takes off his hat and hangs it on the peg. The bully charges at him and Charlie holds up one hand, then takes off his coat and hangs it up very carefully. The bully charges at him again and Charlie again signals for time and proceeds to very precisely roll up the sleeves of his shirt, displaying very skinny arms. Charlie milked the action, lacing the scene with more and more anticipation. It never hurts to keep the reader (or the filmgoer) sitting on the edge of the seat, wanting more.

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