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3 Tips For Writing An Action Scene
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3 Tips for Writing An Action Scene

Considering I'm now an author of an action-packed fantasy serial, and hence the owner of a metaphorical horn, it's about time I did some tooting.

Every once in a while, I take a look around the net to see what other authors are doing with their books' action scenes. I look mainly at fantasy stuff, but there's the occasional piece of realistic fiction with mind-blowing car chases and fisticuffs that catch my eye. On Jukepop, the website I'm writing on, Mike Rose has already gotten some momentum with his serial, The Metal Bodyguard. That Oliver Heavyside is a walking can of whoop-ass. The "can" part literally.

Unsurprisingly, there's a lot of talent out there. You see enough movies, you want to write about it.

But you know what? I'm not happy with the current state of in-novel action scenes. I'm not happy that other authors are satisfied with their action scenes. I'm not happy with everyone looking to make a good action scene getting into manga drawing and movies instead of writing.

Really, how difficult is it to turn something like Advent Children into a novel? And make it kick-ass?

Okay, I confess, it's pretty darn hard to do that.

But it can be done. And the end product? Just as good as seeing it on-screen. Maybe better.

Here are some pro-tips out there for anyone looking to write an action scene.

1) Who, what, when, where, and most of all, WHY?

You have to pin this down from the get-go. Nothing can ruin the action more than not knowing the five W's of the situation.

And then I jumped into the fray, slashing and slashing, tearing through walls, because it mattered! It mattered to me! And he found me, and hit me with the Ultimate Weapon, and I fell! I fell over there, rolled into that thing, and kept rolling for moments on end, maybe hours, maybe days, heading deep into wherever, where monsters were lurking, because -- that's right! -- it mattered!

I feel like committing seppuku after writing that.

Who is I, what is I fighting for, when and where is I fighting, and why does it matter? Plug and play at your own leisure. Dangit.

2) Figure out what kind of action scene are you writing.

Believe it or not, there's a plethora of ways to dance this tune.

You can go the softcore route, where you're basically summarizing what happened in an action scene (best for kiddie stories and non-action genres like romance novels); or you can go hardcore, where there is no way to summarize all this awesome, and every little detail, every click of the gun, fly of the bullet, waste of the shell, must be writ.

Best for everything else.

Serve hot.

Or maybe you're doing horror? Believe it or not, there's a formula for that, too. And it bleeds very nicely into my favorite brand of action scene: the over-the-top kind.

He flew face-first into his fist, recoiled, and received several more punishing blows that led him into the air and through the roof of a nearby sedan.

Whatchoo you know about that?

3) Make sure you get your vocabulary gooder.

Make very sure of this.

You got your five W's, and you've chosen your style, and then you start writing, and it feel like there were of all the way to best.

Let me repeat that.

It feel like. There were -- this is important -- OF ALL THE WAY. To best.

Make sure not it for of the happen. Please.

I'm going to go blow up an island now.

Street Talk

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