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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How To Write Action Scenes

I've recently gotten a critique that my action scenes are lacking. The person said that it was too short. I needed some more action. I have to admit that they aren't my strong ability. I don't want to overdo a simple action- yet I don't want to under sell it. Therefore... I researched tips and ways to create good action scenes.

Make it realistic! This is a huge one that sometimes gets looked over. In action scenes there is always room to make it too intense or come off fake. I recently read a book where a guy fought another guy. Typical situation. During the fight it seemed like it stopped so they could taunt and talk to each other. That isn't realistic. When you're fighting it needs to be fast paced. You don't just stop punching someone to make a speech. Things like that are important.

Don't make it easy! Everyone loves a good fight. You don't the winner to win without being challenged. Make it close and let the other guy get a punch or two in. It makes it much more realistic as well. A guy who is obviously going to loose is going to walk away from a fight. If they're an even pair it makes the fight more likely.

Sentencing! I never would think of this when writing an action scene but it's a very valid point. A short sentence is going to be read fast and make the pace faster. Having long sentences slows down reading and makes the scene slower. If you want the scene to be up tempo and fast paced and like a real action scene make sure you have short sentences.

Don't forget the consequences! Another thing I never really considered but now think it is huge. After a fight, you fall off the adrenaline high. You are achey or injured or something. Maybe the winner is excited and energetic. Make sure to explain this part as well! This part makes it more realistic and segues into the next scene of the book.

Watch the verbs! Action scenes are packed with verbs. Use the correct ones. You don't want to keep saying hit or ran. Mix it up and use words that create more feeling. Slammed instead of hit, or slumped instead of fell. There are so many good words out there and to keep it to regular verbs won't make a great scene. Grab a thesaurus and use some new words.

Don't overdo it! Give the readers a break. Back to back to back to back action scenes is going to get old and the reader is going to loose interest. Reading all action doesn't let the reader take a breath. Action scenes can take over a story and the plot becomes irrelevant. If the main character is constantly running, hitting or fighting they becomes unrelatable.

Humor! This is always a nice way to make characters fun and witty. Don't make it too gritty and raw, add in some funny moments or funny banter. Characters talking smack is fun character development. If they're about to fight or if they're doing an action, don't forget that they're still characters. They talk, they feel. Add in humor and you're making a scene that much better.

My Tips-
READ READ READ! Read books that have action in them. Become familiar with them so you can subconsciously understand. Pick a book in a similar genre and take note of the action scenes. Don't mimic them but get a feel for it. You'll pick up common themes and words.

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