I’ve written my fair share of parkour articles, as have many bloggers across the Web. It’s a fascinating discipline that really lends itself to instruction and analysis. We love to explore and tear apart parkour ideas to gain brand new insights. Just look at all the amazing non-fiction parkour books you find on Amazon. Parkour writing is everywhere.
But do you know what we don’t see very often? Parkour fiction.
After a long search, I only found a few novels with stories of traceurs and traceuses, many of which appear to be self-published. It’s weird. We see fiction, particularly YA, that covers nearly every niche, hobby and widespread craze. Parkour, having now been around for several decades and growing like a weed on steroids, is still so absent.
This didn’t dissuade me from following my dream of creating a parkour story, which I spent the last year writing and revising. To be honest, I stumbled upon plenty of challenges that make parkour especially difficult to translate to the written word. If you want to take a stab at writing a story with high-flying traceurs, here are a few bits of wisdom I’ve garnered over the past year.
1. Don’t Assume Readers Know What a Kong Vault Is
Unless you’re writing exclusively for parkour practitioners, you’ll have to dish out all the details about what the move looks like and how it works, all without boring readers out of their minds. Yes, it is as annoying as it sounds, but with practice, you can create strong visuals of cat leaps and precision jumps in just a few succint phrases.
2. Go Beyond the Movements
Especially if you are a practitioner yourself, you know the exhilaration of finally going for that cat leap, the shaky feeling in your legs before you try, and the feeling of freedom as you glide through the air. You know that feeling of sweat dripping down your face, of having your training partners telling you “You can do it.” These are the things that bring readers to your world, the world of parkour. Use them.
3. Don’t Linger on the Actual Training
Parkour is very visual, which is precisely why writing about it can be such a challenge. Although you can make some strong parkour scenes in your story, be aware that less is more when it comes to action scenes on the page. You can also keep readers interested by adding some dialog, sensations, inner monologue and other elements during a training scene.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Whether you’re writing a parkour short story or a full-blown novel, don’t be afraid to just get started, and remember that practice makes awesome. The more parkour fiction we get out there, the more we introduce the art of movement to an even wider audience through the timeless medium of print.
If you want to follow the progress of my parkour book, a YA thriller about a traceuse who takes on the illegal wildlife trade in LA, like my author page on Facebook.
Have any thoughts or tips of your own, or even a piece of parkour fiction you’d like to share? Feel free to leave a comment or make a post on social media with the hashtag #writingparkour