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!)
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