The World’s Greatest Critique Group has been discussing how a quieter chapter can provide respite for characters and readers after an action-packed sequence. Quiet scenes must still have tension, but internal conflict affects the reader differently than physical action.
I have traced the emotional dynamics in my manuscripts in several ways (shrunken manuscript, Excel file and storyboarding), but I haven’t differentiated between excitement caused by action and tension caused internal conflict. Ruth McNally Barshaw suggested I graph the emotional impact of each scene.
Using an Excel file, I identified each event with a short phrase then rated its emotional impact. I plotted action above the x-axis and internal conflict below. Obviously some events have both physical and emotional impact, so I made an arbitrary designation and tried to be consistent. I divided my novel by events so I could assess the transitions between scenes.