Can You Have Too Much Action In Your Plot?
I’m currently reading a novel by a very well-known fantasy author who I like quite a bit. At least I like his one series quite a bit. I’m not sure how I feel about this other series I just started.
It’s not the characters that has me questioning my interest. Overall, they’re very well done.
The basic plot is intriguing enough, and the dialogue is pretty believable too.
The setting, admittedly, gets a bit tricky at times. But that’s to be expected with fantasy to some degree. So that’s not what’s throwing me off.
What’s throwing me off is the sheer amount of action. Of drama. The fact that the main character literally and literarily just can’t catch a break.
Please, fantasy author in question! Please! Just give him a break already!
I’m not saying that because I’m so emotionally invested in the main character. I mean, I like the kid, but I’m not going to break down sobbing if he gets hurt or dies.
It’s much more a matter of psychological imbalance. Any thriller, action-adventure, or otherwise dramatic story ever written needs a give and take between thrilling action-adventure drama and quieter moments.
In other words, you’re not supposed to turn everything into a high-speed chase. There is supposed to be some cruising too.
Take NASCAR, which I’ve admittedly never watched. But as I understand it, it’s one long-winded fast-speed chase – that nobody pays attention to the whole time. Why? Because watching one long-winded fast-speed chase for 1.5 to 4 hours straight is a snooze-fest.
In the same way, having a main character run away from one threat, only to immediately run into another threat, escape that threat and immediately find himself trapped in another threat, and escape that threat only to immediately find himself ensnared by yet another threat… is boring.
It needs more. Or, from another angle, it needs less.
Moments of quiet contemplation. Casual or even pointed dialogue from characters as they walk or limp off from the last round of danger. Settings where they can take a second – maybe even two – and breathe.
An author should never seek to keep his readers on the edge of their seats for too long. Otherwise, their butts – and their brains – are going to go numb.
Speaking of numb, I just realized there are actually two issues I have with this fantasy series. But this video is probably already long enough, so I’ll cover the other one next week. See you then!