From film to the page: Terminator 2


When you’re an author, I’m pretty sure there are unspoken rules you’re supposed to follow. You need to have at least one pretentious favorite author, something like a forgotten Russian poet that wrote his masterpieces in the dirt while imprisoned at some work camp. If you’re not going to go that obscure, you need to at least go classic, maybe go with Walt Whitman or Charles Dickens.

You’re also not supposed to do what I’m about to do, which is admit that I’m far more inspired by movies than I am by books. Don’t get me wrong, I love books, but I’m also a very slow reader. In the time I read one book, I probably see 20 or 30 movies (now that I think about it, I might finish books faster if I’d stop watching so many movies). So from volume alone, I think it makes sense that I’m more inspired by film than the page. I’ve often been told that my novels read like movies and well, now you know why.

So with that said, I wanted to look at two movies that have greatly inspired my storytelling style. I’m going to do one today, and I’ll do the second movie tomorrow. First, I want to look at Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie is a classic. The thing that I learned as a storyteller from this movie is that action sequences don’t have to end, they can just move from one place to another. One example of this comes early in the film, where you have the evil T1000 terminator trying to kill young John Connor at the mall. In steps Arnold, and this awesome battle between two futuristic robot killing machines is underway. When that fight reaches what appears to be a conclusion, the action sequence doesn’t end, it just shifts locations. John Connor takes off on his dirt bike, T1000 follows, Arnold follows, and you get one of the coolest chase sequences in film history as this extended action sequence carries on.

I think that when Brother Dust: The Resurgence releases you’ll see some of that T2 influence on the pages. I’m a huge fan of extended action sequences that go beyond a single conflict and spiral into multiple conflicts along the way. While T2 isn’t the only film to ever do this, it’s one I saw at a young age and thus had a major impact on my storytelling style. While Brother Dust features some contained action sequences, there are several that spill across multiple locations and morph and change as they move. Chases morph into gun battles, gun battles spill over into knife fights, and wars spill across an entire city.

I love writing action sequences, and hopefully, you’ll love reading them in just a few short months when Brother Dust: The Resurgence releases!


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