Saturday Writing Tips: Writing Effective Action Scenes #WritingTips

ACTION

Action scenes don’t necessarily mean huge battles, violence, gunfights or crime. While this might be the case in Hollywood blockbusters, action scenes are important in your fiction – they create drama, interest, allow characters to develop and move your plot forward.

An action scene can involve something as seemingly simple as an unexpected phone call or a surprise visitor. What’s important is to carry your reader along with the action, and to write scenes that move your characters forward, building tension and giving your characters opportunities to develop and grow.

Here are a few tips for writing effective action scenes:

  • Have events happen in real time. This helps your reader feel involved in the scene and brings them closer to a character.
  • Use physical movements but don’t describe every single action in great detail.
  • Have your character make quick decisions and react quickly to the situation/event.
  • Minimise dialogue, especially if it creates a pause in the action.
  • Choose the verbs you use carefully for maximum effect.
  • If you’re having trouble visualising the actions involved in the scene, act it out! (It helps if you can get someone else to join in!)
  • Read other writers and see how they write successful or unsuccessful action scenes. What didn’t work can be as important as what did work.
  • Keep it real. Unless you’re writing fantasy, where anything is physically possibly, keep the scenes within the bounds of reality (see acting it out above!)

Got any tips for writing action scenes? Do let me know by posting a comment below.

5 comments

  1. Top stuff, Alison!

    I do act them out! Other stuff I’d add – make sure the physical reactions are real, and not clichés. Your heart doesn’t ‘stop’, for instance. Remember the last time you were shocked, and what your physical reactions were.

    Short sentences.
    Spare detail.

    😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great tips. I’m having quite a hard time with a particular description. It’s supposed to span five or six different scenes. But even if I try to write the outline it gets very long. So I can’t imagine what a nightmare it’s going to be when I actually tried to write it out. But yes there was a lot of acting things out and drawing diagrams to make sure everything worked out well.

    Liked by 1 person

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