June 20, 2018 at 4:58PM

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Writing a scene that takes place at public mall

I envision many of my scenes to take place at famous locations (for example, Mall of America). Would you advise against that and try and keep locations generic/simple?

3 Comments

You will almost certainly need permits; these cost money, and you aren't guaranteed to get approval. You might try guerrilla shooting nonetheless, but then you risk getting thrown out before your scene is done. You may also have problems if it's a popular spot, because you can't just use passers-by as "free extras" without their permission and you can't ask them move on; they have just as much right to be there as you do.

So ... unless it's intrinsic to the scene, it's better avoided.

June 22, 2018 at 1:22AM, Edited June 22, 1:22AM

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Minor Mogul
Dilettante
666

You could always shoot it outside of a mall. As long as you are on a public sidewalk you have free reign in most places to shoot whatever and whomever you want as long as you don't block vehicle or foot traffic.

If you're writing it and not shooting it, I'd say write whatever you want. Don't worry about famous places.

June 23, 2018 at 5:39AM

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Matthias Claflin
Videographer
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1. Clearly describe the action. If the reader can't clearly envision the action taking place, the action scene will only confuse them. Try to describe things simply and concisely. Don't try to be fancy or flowery in describing the action. Just be clear

2. Clearly describe the environment where the action takes place before the action starts in earnest, so you won't write stuff like, "Then Neo picked up a car and hurled it at Agent Smith," when the fight is taking place inside a shopping mall. Sure, there could be a car in a shopping mall, but it's jarring to read that when you haven't first established that some automobile dealer has put cars in the mall as a promotion.

3. Make the majority of your action scenes further the plot. A bunch of pointless action that occurs for no reason gets boring. If two characters are just sparring, figure out a way to use it to move the plot along.

4. Make your characters experience real peril. If a fight occurs where all of your main characters are obviously safe, why should the reader care? Help your reader experience the peril through your characters' eyes, and the reader will take the action scene more seriously.
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July 20, 2018 at 7:32AM

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