I’m happy to have erotic romance author Em Petrova as a guest author today. She is a multi-published author with several publishers. Her newest release is Wilder, from Red Sage Publishing. Em shares with us today her thoughts on…
THE ART OF CHAOS
Most of our lives are whirlwinds of activity—running from the bank to the gas station to day care to work. Chucking bags of groceries into the car in hopes you’ll have time to put them away before the ice cream melts. Then you’re off again to pick up your daughter from soccer practice and walk the dog. By the time you get off your feet, there is another to-do list waiting for you.
Later, when you think back on your day, you see only snippets flipping through your mind. Rapid-fire images. Writing chaos is no different. As with all segments of the writing craft, there’s an art to it. Today I’ll share my technique for writing fight scenes, natural disasters, even stampedes by wild animals.
The key technique I employ is pacing. It doesn’t matter whether you write short, choppy sentences or an incredibly long run-on that your editor might raise an eyebrow at, your words must read as chaos.
Here’s an example of how sentence structure and word choice add to the feeling of confusion, taken from my latest release WILDER, now available from Red Sage Publishing. The heroine is being guided by her mentor as she tracks the dangerous Cape buffalo in order to fulfill her dream of becoming a professional hunter.
A noise sounded on his right. A rustle of leaves.
He let out a low whistle, and immediately the party stopped. Except for Elle.
Damn woman. She’s going to get herself killed if an elephant or a big bull charges out.
With a flick of his head, he gestured to Afla to stop her. The man loped off stealthily.
Peter hitched his gun up, the safety off, the round waiting in the chamber and ready to fire. Under his breath he said, “Where are you, you sneaky bastard?”
From the corner of his eye, he saw Elle swing her gun to her shoulder. She waved a hand for Afla to hang back.
A snort came from upwind, directly opposite where she stood.
A hard ball of dread lodged in Peter’s gut. Adrenaline surged to his fingertips and made his blood run cold.
Suddenly Afla issued a yodeling cry as the herd appeared through the thick cover, splitting off the hunting party from her.
“Guns ready,” he bellowed and took off at a dead run, skirting the mass of two-thousand pound animals. The air was thick with dust and the stench of beasts. His eyes watered from both but he had eyes only for Elle.
She whirled in a circle, realizing her perilous position. She trained her gun on one great-horned animal, and then another as they thundered past her. The ground trembled beneath their feet. Black bodies blurred by, their hooves cutting into the earth. Being charged by one of these beasts meant certain death.
“Don’t move,” he roared at her.
Her head snapped up. She met his gaze for a chilling heartbeat as he realized what stood mere feet behind her.
The wounded buffalo.
Her features shivered as she realized it too. And then the enormous beast was bearing down on her, its hooves deafening, its head lowered. The herd reacted to the situation by stampeding in circles. Dust lifted and threatened to camouflage Elle in utter chaos.
Peter’s finger twitched on the trigger. He rested his sights squarely on the buffalo’s high shoulder. He had to save Elle. Fleetingly, a voice in the back of his head cursed her, but there was no time to dwell on her mistakes.
He fired. A cloud of smoke oozed from the double barrels of his heavy rifle and his nose stung from the gunpowder. He followed the trace of the bullet straight into the buffalo’s thick hide. It jerked and wheeled around, clipping Elle in the hip as it did.
Peter ran into the fray even as he reloaded. Afla ducked between two angry, confused beasts, trying to reach Elle. Horns whipped past his vision in rapid succession, dizzying him. He fought to see her through their churning hooves. The tail of her honey blonde hair was like a flag to him. All at once, extreme tenderness flooded his system, rushing alongside his rage. A kernel of understanding bloomed in his chest. If ever there was a mate on earth suited to him, it was this feisty, strong-willed woman.
But if he didn’t reach her quickly, she’d be trampled beneath dozens of furious hooves.
Okay, let’s study this passage in several ways. First, do you see all the white space? The paragraphs are short. No huge passages of description. This helps the reader’s eyes travel faster over the page, drawing them into the fast pace of the world you’ve created.
Next, let’s look at the sentence lengths. Of course there’s a variety. If you look closely, there are several two-word sentences. The longer sentences are broken up with commas. Here’s an example: And then the enormous beast was bearing down on her, its hooves deafening, its head lowered.
See how the words between the commas send a new picture into your head? Like snapshots of your busy day, this is what you need to express on the page.
Lastly, let’s really examine the language. There’s no passive writing in this passage. I use verbs like shiver, twitch, fire, jerk, crumple, duck. These words launch the reader into the scene and propel them onto the next powerful word. Another little trick I used was ‘back-loading.’ I weight the ends of the sentences with a strong word to urge the reader on. Words like death, hooves, and rage pull visceral responses from the readers, and they have to move to the next sentence to find out what’s going to happen.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on writing chaos, and the excerpt from my new release! I’d love to hear from you!
~where words mean so much more~
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing
Buy Link: Red Sage Publishing
Buy Link: Amazon
AUTHOR CONTACT INFO
Author Website: Em Petrova