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Monday, August 26, 2013

Overheard at... The Statue of Liberty

"His turban hides another religious weapon."

Travel is all about learning new things... and this trip has certainly been no exception. I was waiting in line for tickets and overheard a guy trying to talk his way onto a water taxi after explaining the Statue of Liberty ferries would not allow him to get on without scanning his turban and handing over his concealed weapons.

Heart pounding, I waited for someone to become as nervous as I was. But the water taxi drivers just told him, rules were rules, and he wouldn't be able to go on a water taxi either.

My imagination went wild. He must have bomb material in his turban. And then, he'll use the concealed weapon to hijack the water taxi and land at Liberty Island. Scared, I told a security guard, and they took the time to explain it to me. In fact, both things are religiously oriented. In the turban they also keep a religious weapon. If they leave them with the ferry security they can go to the island. If not, they can not. Knowing the full story I was able to board the ferry mind at peace.

In September Romancing the Genres will spotlight Action/Adventure writers. The way my heart thumped while overhearing the above conversation made me think about what makes action/adventure work. I am sure there are many moving pieces (and I am hoping to learn some of these tricks when I read the blogs by our guest writers). But, one of these pieces has to be our fear of the unknown or our pre-established assumptions.

In fact, movie producers play on this last one all the time. Have you ever sat through 80% of a movie believing one thing (like who the killer is) only to realize that you were completely wrong? Assumptions are a wonderful tool for building tension.

So, here's your assignment this month. Look around you today and speculate about one thing going on. Your child is coloring? Without looking closely, what do you think they are drawing? Now ask.... were you correct? A man is looking around nervously as he pulls books at a bookstore. What do you think he is doing? Now ask if you can help... see what is actually going on.

These assumptions help us to make sense of the world around us. And, as writers, they are an excellent opportunity to play with the emotions of the reader. As you check in on our fantastic guest bloggers in September, be sure to ask if they have ever played with assumptions to build tension. I'll look forward to finding out (they are some of my favorite writers)!

Deanne Wilsted
Journeys Inspired by Love
www.deannewilsted.com

4 comments:

Diana Mcc. said...

Deanne, You are so right about assumptions. We as human beings tend to go with what we know, hence incorrect assumptions. Many times in a movie or a book I am sure I know the out come based on previous experiences, only to find I'm wrong! And that's what keeps me going back for more! Great post!

Judith Ashley said...

Interesting information about turbans, water taxis and ferries, and New York. I wonder if those rules are the same everywhere in the U.S. or only in NYC?

Think about how your heart pounded, how it felt, tasted, etc. in that moment waiting for the water taxi - how true to the emotion can you get in your writing. It's something I'm working on - and not surprising some times I'm better than others.

Paty Jager said...

What a wonderful, yet heart pounding, adventure you had! I love when something like that happens. It gets my mind going in 90 million different directions at once. And yes, that is the kind of thing that Action Adventure writers like to use in their arsenal of surprises!
Fun Post!

Sarah Raplee said...

So true, Deanne! This is a great way to build tension.