Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - and action!

One of my favorite parts to write in paranormal romances is the action scene. It plays out like a movie in my head and my fingers fly over the keyboard to bring it to life. It's not that easy, though. There are some important factors you have to remember while writing action scenes.

They're fast-paced. Things are going to happen faster than your protagonist can process them, especially with beings who have supernatural speed. Use short sentences and dynamic verbs. They will convey the urgency and intensity of the situation. No big descriptions. Only key details.

Know where all the characters are at all times. Blocking is vital. Don't try to describe everything. Tighten your POV. The action must be mechanically believable and written with precision. Your reader can easily lose track of what's going on if they can't visualize where the characters are in the scene.

There's a lot of witty banter in paranormal romances. Don't let the dialogue take away from the narrative tension. The less the better.

Make sure you use the psychological tension to your full advantage. How is your protagonist feeling? The panic, surprise, and horror. How do they react to the pain? Keep the stakes high. There's also a heightening of senses when the adrenaline starts flowing. Use them to your advantage in crafting a gripping scene.

Remember that every action causes a reaction. (Newton's third law of motion!) There must always be a follow-through on every level.

Not all action scenes need be fights. There's the chase, the challenge, and the infiltration scenes.

How are you with writing action scenes? What do you do to help you write them?

36 comments:

  1. I love action scenes too. Great post.

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  2. Great post featuring a lot of great advice for writing action scenes.

    I like to think I do all right when writing action scenes. I tend to sort of act them out to make sure I get the action right. But only behind closed and locked doors...

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    1. *LOL* Actually, I sometimes do the same thing. Or maybe set up some of my son's toys to get the blocking right!

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  3. Action is not my strong suit, but because of my background in screenwriting I picture the scene first, then write it as I "see" it (as I want the reader to see it), just as I would for a director (though without "JUMP CUT TO:" and such!).

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    1. I think a lot of people visualize action scenes in their heads like movies. Now if only more writers could get the camera angle right!

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  4. Great suggestions here. I need to choreograph a scene in a WIP I'm editing right now. Ugh.

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  5. Some great tips here, thank you!! I have a lot of trouble writing fight scenes :)

    Andrea

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    1. From what I've read, I think you have a pretty good handle on them. :)

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  6. Action scenes are not my favorites. Thanks for these tips!

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  7. Your world seems much more fun and interesting than mine. I can't really write anything else but my blog so I'm useless :)

    Hugs

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    1. You're not useless at all. I bet you'd surprise yourself if you tried to write some action. :)

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  8. Great tips for action scenes!

    I'd like to think I write action scenes well.

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  9. Excellent tips, and ones I'll be sure to consider once I get to editing the action scenes in my current WiP. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Check! I've gotten better with the short sentences.

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    1. Cool! I think one of your strengths is action. You needn't worry. :)

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  11. Great advice!

    I have a lot of fun writing action scenes. I'm not sure they're that great, though. :P

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    1. Thanks! You write very well, so I don't doubt your action scenes are fantastic. :)

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  12. Great tips! I have fun with those scenes as well.

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  13. Good advice. I keep my sentences short in action scenes and use strong verbs.

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  14. Like you, I think of my action scenes in terms of being in a movie. In a way, we are the directors of our prose movies, directing the reader where to look and what to see.

    My chapter, THERE IS NO FAIL, when the sky is black with attacking dragons, and Sam McCord is skillfully piloting his Blackhawk helicopter through them, is one of my favorite action scenes in END OF DAYS.

    I added music to the mix with the protagonist, Alice, having a wild gypsy tune put into her head by the shade of her love, Victor.

    If my readers go to YouTube and listen to RATTLE AND BURN by Jesse Cook, it will add to the scene. But the title of the tune alone conveys the spirit of the battle going on around the beseiged Blackhawk.

    Music weaves through my novels and since most of them occur in the French Quarter, it made sense. If my readers go to YouTube and find the tunes, it adds to their reading. If not, as with RATTLE AND BURN, the titles and artists alone give more depth and sense of reality to a fantasy tale.

    Great post as always, Roland

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    1. Thank you! That chapter is an intense action scene! I noticed you use a lot of music as you reference songs in your story. I'm the opposite. I have to have complete silence when I'm writing.

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  15. I have to be in the mood to write action scenes... usually fast music in the background helps me get there:)

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    1. Seems like a lot of folk like to have the music to help them get into the proper frame of mind. Maybe I'm a ninja and that's why I like the silence! *LOL*

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  16. I admire the writing craftsmanship involved in writing an effective action sequence. I've not tried it too much so I probably need some work in that department.


    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I do my best when it comes to action, but there's a few writers that floor me with how seamlessly they write it.

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  17. Keeping track of everyone and their positiions is always the hardest part for me. But I like writing action scenes too :)

    .......dhole

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    1. Blocking is sometimes still a problem with me too. That's why I usually like to do it from one POV and thus I only have to keep track of what my protagonist knows! *LOL*

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