Most books have action scenes in them. These action scenes can be a fight, a car accident, a chase, etc. It takes a lot to get these scenes just right, but don’t worry because I am sharing ten tips to help you master the art of action scenes.
1. Show action and reaction. In a fight, every movement from one person causes a reaction with their opponent. What happens when someone receives a punch? Their head turns with the impact, they stagger, and sometimes fall.
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2. Describe, describe, describe! Describe each step of a fight and the pain a character feels from injuries. Bring a car accident to life with speed, bending metal, and shattering glass. Let your words make the suspense!
TIP: Keep the tone of your story in mind. If you don't use much detail in the rest of your book, only add a little more detail during the action scenes to give your reader's a clear image of what is happening.
3. Use action verbs! And try not to use the same verbs over and over again. A thesaurus can help you find a good alternative.
4. Write short sentences. Shorter sentences quicken the reader's pace, giving the illusion of fast action.
5. Use “All of a sudden” and “Suddenly” sparingly.
6. Don’t forget dialogue! Action is not all about what a character does, but also what a character says. Have your characters spit threats back and forth. Adding a character's thoughts can also add a great deal of suspense.
7. Read books by your favorite authors and study how they write action. Note words and phrases they use, but don’t plagiarize!
8. Get into the mood for writing action by listening to rock music.
9. Act it out. Even if you can’t do half the things a fighter can do, by acting it out you can understand how a body moves to better describe the movement with words.
10. Watch action movies. Depending on what you need to write, find movies that show a lot of it and then study them. Now write the scene in your book as if you are watching it unfold on a television screen.
* This is an updated version of an article previously posted on my blog, Write with Fey.