Let’s talk about action sequences


A lot of writers struggle with writing action sequences because there are a lot of thing that you need to take into consideration. I have thought long and hard about it and have come up with a couple of guidelines which can help some of you out. So here we go:

Keep the action real 

Unless your world permits action that doesn’t seem real to us you have to keep in mind that the reader expects to read things that are possible in real life. So don’t have cars crashing and just drive on or have guns with fifty bullets in them. Be realistic about your action.

Don’t be scared to let your characters get hurt

This helps with keeping your story real. For example if your character survives a car crash he is going to be hurt in one way or another. So don’t have him just stand up and run around like nothing happened, something did and it has consequences. That being said, don’t over do it! Especially when you have a lot of action scenes to come. This will also help to keep your readers on their toes because your character will seem more vulnerable.

Keep your novel consistent

Understand that every action has an outcome and you have to carry that outcome throughout the rest off your novel. So don’t let a character get hurt in one scene but have him do something that he wouldn’t be able to do because of that in a different scene. A character who gets shot in the shoulder will have trouble lifting his arm and that’s something that your character will suffer from through the rest of the story. It can hinder him doing something as stupid as taking something from the top shelf to blocking an incoming attack.

Speed up the tempo off your novel 

This way your character is forced to make quick decisions that are more off spur off the moment reactions rather than thought through actions. Plus it helps the scene seem more real. You can even write these scenes like this, by placing yourself in the characters mind and writing what your instincts tell you to write. This way you will make quick decisions your character would have made.

Limit the description factor

Think about it, when your character is walking on the street peacefully he has the time to study and describe the things around him. He would be able to see which car passes him, how the lady with the white skirt smiles at him,… But when writing an action scene he doesn’t have that luxury, he wouldn’t be able to describe anything in detail because everything is moving so fast. For example: don’t describe the car. That does a drive by as a black wrangler jeep edition II, he will only be able to see that it was a black truck that drove by before he had to run for cover.

Always work with a cause and effect setup

Because this happens my character is forced to do this and because off that he is forced to do this and so on. Using this template and by always writing the first thing that comes to mind you will be able to map out an action scene without to much trouble.

Writing action seems intimidating at first but once you get started and follow these guidelines you should be fine. Hope this helped some of you writers out there!

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