During edits on Take Me in Your Heart I reached a point where I couldn’t move forward. So I called in reinforcements (ie. my boyfriend).
“Joey!” I paged. (Now he get’s IM-ed because he supposedly can’t hear me when I scream for him at the top of my lungs eventhough he’s in the next room).
“Come stand right here.” I motioned to a spot on the living room floor.
“Why?” he said, scared like a child who has done something naughty.
“Put your arm up.” I grabbed his hand and positioned his arm for a block.
Yep, that’s right, I use him as my fight scene dummy.
Choreographing helps me in three ways. First off I can visualize what’s going on around my character (who I’m subbed in for). Secondly, it shows me if I’ve done a bad job of imagining something that’s utterly impossible. Last of all, I can feel what it’s like to land those blows. And no I don’t pummel my boyfriend. I simply look at the situation as just rewards for his decision to get involved with a chick that loves action movies and dabbles in action romances.
I don’t believe I’m alone in doing this. I’ve heard several other authors talk about how they couldn’t visualize certain aspects of their hero or heroine, so they had to put themselves in their shoes. For example, how would a double amputee get around following a devastating injury during war? To see life through his eyes, you’d have to get down on your knees to equal his new height and learn how strong his arms should be to compensate.
How can you do that? By acting those scenes out.
These days details can make or break a manuscript since readers demand the entire experience via all five senses. You can’t act out every aspect, and some things you wouldn’t want to, but try to push the envelope within reason to satisfy your readers. If you already do this feel free to post an example:0)
P.S. If you get your significant other to sub in for your hero (or villian), grant him a few perks (like acting out a hot scene) to keep him coming back for more.