Verticality

Something I’ve noticed about my own storytelling is that whenever the in-world action ramps up, I unconsciously alter the setting to maximize its three-dimensionality. Maybe there’s a tower that needs climbing, or a floor that caves in, or a combatant who can fly, or maybe the entire environment has been designed from the ground up to operate at right angles to the horizon. Whatever the proximate cause, this tendency toward verticality is omnipresent in my writing. It’s not something I set out to do; it just happens, and I notice it after the fact.

But there’s nothing unusual about this, is there? The tension inherent to high places is universally appreciated. Hollywood certainly understands. Whether it’s Jedi dueling over a bottomless chasm, or gunfighters inexplicably emerging atop some skyscraper, nothing says “epic” more than the force of gravity itself entering the ring as a belligerent of uncertain bias. It’s at the intersection of heaven and earth that things get really interesting, because only there can they go in literally any direction.

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