I rather like the title of this chapter.
This is one of those chapters that required some extra wrangling to get right, in the form of a more detailed breakdown. I often find that action-based chapters need that beat-by-beat examination before I start writing. The kind of action I like to write goes for that inter-twined sensibility like the best of Spielberg, where every moment feeds into the next, and it feels like it all ties up in a nice bow by the end (regardless of who actually ‘wins’ the conflict). I never want to trip into Michael Bay-style chaos.
As such, prior to writing this chapter I expanded a rough outline. Here it is:
- TARN ALONE.
- FIGHTING. DEPLETED. ENERGY LOW. KRAISA ALSO EXHAUSTED. LIKE THE GOOD OLD DAYS, FOR HER.
- AERA IN HIS EAR THE WHOLE TIME: HELPING HIM, KEEPING HIM ALIVE, BUT ALSO CRITICAL. OBseRVING ALSO THE MACHINE’S PROGRESS, THAT IT IS TUNING IN. NOT LONG TO GO. AERA ACTUALLY QUITE EXCITED ABOUT GOING HOME, TOO.
- KRAISA HAS UPPER HAND. MOCKING HIS yOUTH: PIENYA’S YOUTH. EVERYONE’S YOUTH. PESKY KIDS.
- THEN THE DOOR GETS KICKED OUT. TRANTON IS THERE. MOVES ASIDE: KIRYA IS THERE: FIRES AN ARROW, WHICH HITS KRAISA, CUTTING HER FACE. ARMOUR DEFLECTS.
- TRANTON ENGAGES: HIS SWORD ACTUALLY HAS AN EFFECT ON HER ARMOUR, CHIPPING AWAY AT IT.
- TARN COLLAPSES, RESTS, REPLENISHING. HIS FRIENDS FIGHT AROUND HIM. AERA TELLING HIM TO REST, TO WAIT, TO LET THEM TAKE THE HITS AND WEAKEN KRAISA.
- TRANTON, AVII AND KIRYA FIGHTING TOGETHER. AVII USING TELEKINESIS. THEY ARE DEFENDING TARN.
- KRAISA TAPS INTO ONE OF THE AVII, OLA, CONTROLLING THEM. GIVES TARN AN IDEA.
- TRANTON FIGHTS OLA, IS INJURED, THROWN ASIDE. (OLA PULLING HER PUNCHES AS BEST SHE CAN)
- SHE TAKES OVER ANOTHER AVII. AERA WORRIED. DIDN’T REALISE THAT TARN DIDN’T HAVE PROPER DEFENCE UP. TARN POINTS OUT THAT HE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT HE’S DOING. THAT SHE CAN GO BACK IN HER CAGE IF SHE DOESN’T LIKE IT.
- KIRYA FIGHTING, PROTECTING TARN, BUT CAN’T FIGHT KRAISA AND THE AVII. SHE DOES GET SHOTS IN THOUGH, WEAKENING KRAISA, NOW THAT THE ARMOUR IS DAMAGED.
- THE EXPLOSIONS GO OFF, THE MEMBRANE INSTANTLY SHRINKING TO THE AREA OF THE MESAS. KRAISA IS DISTRACTED.
- TARN CAN’T WAIT ANY LONGER. ENTERS THE FRAY: TARGETING THE TURNED AVII: HE ENTERS THEIR MINDS, SEVERS THE LINKS, JUST AS BEFORE. HE KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING NOW. PUTS UP FIREWALLS.
- “We don’t have to kill her. We just have to hold her.”
- FIXED AVII WORK TOGETHER. COMBINATION OF THEM AND TARN MANAGE TO PIN KRAISA IN PLACE.
- KIRYA AIMS AN ARROW AT HER FACE.
- TRANTON STAGGERS TO HIS FEET. PUTS HIS HILT AGAINST HER HEAD. “Best not to move.”
- KIRYA TELLS TARN TO LOOK FOR HER REAL MOTHER.
- HE APPROACHES, THEN LOOSENS HIS GRIP AND INSTEAD PHYSICALLY GRABS KRAISA, ENTERING HER MIND.
Even with this outline, the chapter still shifted in a few places. Some of those moments didn’t quite make it in, or happened in a different way.
I rarely do this kind of detailed outline for non-fighting chapters. When writing more character-focused chapters I prefer to let the characters do their own thing, and let events evolve naturally. When it comes to big conflict action sequences, though, taking that kind of approach can lead to awkward dead-ends, or mindless action, or action-for-the-sake-of-it which has no character anchor. Ultimately, the point of these more detailed outlines for action chapters is that it then frees me up to infuse them with character moments, so that it isn’t just a load of punching.
Three chapters left after this one. I know precisely what happens in them and who narrates them. And then we’ll be done.