Today I return to one of previous columns, thank you to Jenny for your comment. Paratalk or Torque is where I take a paragraph, mostly at random, and talk about it however I wish. Until I finish reading the book about Alan Turing this is the column I will write every week. When I finally finish reading about Alan Turing I will move Paratalk or Torque? to a different day of the week. At that point I will be finally returning to writing on my blog more than once a week.
Today’s paragraph comes from Winter Be My Shield by Jo Spurrier. I reviewed it some time ago and left it on my shelf to remind myself that I wanted to read the other books in the series. I took it off the shelf just now without bothering to turn on the light.
Rasten gathered himself and pushed down with a thrust of power, reaching through the tumbling snow and ice to the solid ground beneath. The force of it threw him up and into the air before he fell back through the cloud of ice, but now he was on top of the slide, and the volume of the shield made him light compared to the other blocks falling around him. It all happened in seconds and the next thing he knew he was slammed into a plain of ice as hard as solid ground. The shield popped like a soap bubble and the impact knocked the wind from him. For a moment he lay there gasping for breath as the aftermath of Sierra’s blast made his muscles twitch and spasm. He burned all over from the jolt she had channeled into him, but as soon as he could raw breath Rasten forced himself to his feet. His apprenticeship had taught him to function through much greater pain.
This is really interesting paragraph. One thing writers have to do is to visualise what they want to write about before they write it. One of my friends actually storyboards before he writes. This is a really handy idea, if you can draw. I can’t and I feel it impedes my writing. When I was typing the paragraph above I got the impression Spurrier was doing a good job of visualising this fight scene. It actually took me several reads to understand what was going on, I suspect that’s me not being terribly visual rather than the writer.
The other thing that stood out to me was the last sentence. What sprang to mind instantly is all those action movies where the hero seems to do impossible amounts of running, jumping, fighting or whatever without needing to stop for a rest. This sentence goes some way to explaining how they can just keep going. Most of the action heroes have had some sort of training before they become a hero. You don’t see middle aged heroes who have lead a sedentary life suddenly leap into action. No, instead, they’re people of action, people who already run to keep fit. Sometimes we see them on the treadmill, other times on the bike, we rarely see them reading a novel. All of this physical activity they do beforehand must train them up to be able to function better through physically challenging situations than someone like me who spends a lot of time on the computer.
One last thing we see in this paragraph is the ice. If we hadn’t noticed before, in this book, we’d be seeing the snow and ice and understanding it’s really cold where Rasten is. One thing that isn’t explained is what the blocks are made out of, but that is explained in the previous paragraph. They are blocks of rock and ice. Essentially their magic must be really strong to be able to make blocks of ice. It’s that ‘thrust of power’ that illustrates the magic. There are a couple of other phrases that illustrate this is a fantasy book with magic in it. I was actually going to mention the landscape the two people are in and not the magic, but my fingers ran away with me.
To sum it up, there’s so many things happening in this one paragraph. You’ve got the fight scene which has been visualised. You’ve got the physicality of the people involved and how their training makes them able to fight. Then there’s the landscape of the scene which includes ice and snow. And finally, we’ve got the magic. So much happening in just one paragraph. It’s a good illustration of how it’s possible to write Paratalk or Torque?
And if you want to buy this book here’s an affiliate link for you. I’d appreciate you clicking on the link anyway. The people who clicked last time I asked made me so happy.