I received a compliment the other day that really means a lot to me. It came from an editor who routinely works with bestselling authors. He said the car chase scene in my upcoming book, The Tempest Murders, was one of the very best he'd ever read.
The car chase occurs because Detective Ryan O'Clery spots the serial killer who had eluded capture. He is sitting in a parking lot at the time and in his haste to get him, the car jumps the curb and there is a hot pursuit, taking them both through a small town and then into the countryside, where he can see other law enforcement joining in the chase across the low-lying fields.
The chase scene takes several pages. At first glance, the action is rapid-fire, frenetic and emotion-charged. But in writing it, everything has to be slowed down to minute detail. The scene took days to write because what the reader encounters in each paragraph is action-charged, blow-by-blow detail.
There are many times in which I have to slow down the action to such minute detail: during fight scenes, for example, the reader encounters each movement much like a person in the 1930's sat beside a radio and listened to the blow-by-blow description of a boxing match or baseball game. I, the author, am the eyes and ears of the reader as I am writing those scenes. Though they might read in three minutes what it took me thirty hours to write, every sentence, every description, every emotion must be felt as if they are right there in the driver's seat... or the pitcher's mound... or the boxing ring.
What is one of the most memorable scenes you've ever read by any author?