Writers Road Recap: Putting the Punch in Action

Last week we chatted about putting the punch in your action scenes. Here is an abbreviated recap:

For some, action scenes can be tough to write, but they don't have to be. #WritersRoad

Action scenes are all about pacing, keeping it going, but still giving the reader time to breathe and absorb. #WritersRoad

@HeatherMcCorkle So. That awkward moment when you do a search in your ms and find a billion uses of ONE word. pfft #WritersRoad

@HeatherMcCorkle The best action scenes I've read have had a mix of short and long sentences. Short ones for the action... #WritersRoad

Short, punchy sentences are great for keeping the pace going during action scenes. #WritersRoad Just don't over do them.

@HeatherMcCorkle ...and longer ones for the breathing moments. #WritersRoad

@HeatherMcCorkle @teetate Ditto and cringeworthy. I had a nightmare about a reader pointing out THE one word in a review. #WritersRoad

Dialogue is tricky during action. It can slow, or speed things. Handle it carefully! #WritersRoad

And, if there is dialogue during an action scene, it must be believable and relevant. #WritersRoad

@HeatherMcCorkle And fergawdsake don't do what superhero comics do and throw in large chunks of exposition. #WritersRoad

@HeatherMcCorkle Like,no monologues during a fistfight? #WritersRoad

@AllisonDuke Unless of course it's done for comedic effect. #WritersRoad

@teetate @HeatherMcCorkle True. No two fights are going to be the same, even if you're fighting the same person. #WritersRoad

With action scenes it's okay to let the hero lose. Shouldn't win every time. *pet perve* #writersroad

@Tina_Moss SO true! But it goes the same way. They shouldn't always loose until the last battle. #WritersRoad

With action scenes it's okay to let the hero lose. Shouldn't win every time. *pet peeve* #writersroad

@Tina_Moss There was an action hero who used to do that in every one of his movies. It got way too predictable. #WritersRoad

@Tina_Moss If the hero always wins, what's the point? Even Superman died. Once. (He got better.) #WritersRoad

Action scenes should be realistic. Do u know what a punch feels like? It hurts both the hitter &the hittee. Do ur research! #WritersRoad

Wining can be relative. Like: Hero stops evil ritual. Win! But bag guy got away and hero got his butt handed to him. #WritersRoad

#Writing a fight scene and never been in a fight? Do your research to make it believable. #WritersRoad

Self defense classes are a great way to get some exposure. #WritersRoad

@Tangynt Yes! Give me a hero who gets best up now and again. Shouldn't be perfect. #writersroad

@Tina_Moss There is beauty in being flawed, so true.

Real fights are never choreographed and rarely what you see in movies. In fact, it doesn't usually go beyond one or two hits. #writersroad

However, you probably don't want to write the way a real fight would be = boring. That's why it's fiction. But... #writersroad

On the subject of research, all slug-throwing weapons have some kind of kick-back. The bigger they are, the more they kick. #WritersRoad

@teetate One of my favorite authors, Patricia Veryan, did action very well. Usually swordfighting. Very romantic. #WritersRoad

@Tina_Moss So true, because it HURTS and most aren't prepared for that. #WritersRoad

Talking to martial artists, watching a class, talking to police officers, all great ways to research. #WritersRoad

@Tina_Moss @teetate @Nightveil BTW, armor is ridiculous to actually try to fight in. It doesn't exactly, well, move. #WritersRoad

For reference: as a shorter woman, I find it typically easier to take down a taller person than shorter person. Gravity helps. #writersroad

@Nightveil @teetate Is the material magical? I can't imagine fighting in a regular corset. Talk about pain! #writersroad

Be realistic about what your characters can endure. Humans are fragile for the most part. #WritersRoad

@Tina_Moss Yeah, that would have to pinch something fierce. #WritersRoad

@HeatherMcCorkle Talk to an ER doctor about what the human body can take. It ain't pretty. #WritersRoad

Really brutal fighting has been popularized by action films. It does make for exciting movies, which aren't realistic. #WritersRoad

Cool as Buffy was, we can't all take what Buffy could take. Or dish out. #WritersRoad

If your character is a superhero or superhuman you have a little leeway, but you have to *explain* why they can. #WritersRoad

Heather McCorkle @HeatherMcCorkle Realism aside, in fiction you need to push your characters to their brink, then push them even further. #WritersRoad

If your hero has amazing super powers that no one can overcome... kryptonite. Then, use the "kryptonite". #writersroad

@Tangynt I may have to put that by my PC. "Everyone has kryptonite". :) #WritersRoad

A thought on action: Be aware of your surroundings. Good advice for all writers. And Jedi warriors. And Batman. #WritersRoad

Don't worry, you don't have to take a hit or a bullet to write a great action scene, but talk to someone who has. #WritersRoad

Adrenalin, tunnel vision, battle fatigue, all things to consider in an action scene. #WritersRoad

Little known fact: A fight lasting longer than two minutes is a REALLY LONG fight. #WritersRoad

@HeatherMcCorkle Which brings up the question of what to do *after* the fight? How keyed up are your characters? #WritersRoad

@HeatherMcCorkle Adding: height dif., weight dif., skill level, ability, agility, flexibility, weapons vs. hand-to-hand. #WritersRoad

@HeatherMcCorkle Adding: height dif., weight dif., skill level, ability, agility, flexibility, weapons vs. hand-to-hand. #WritersRoad

@HeatherMcCorkle Yes! Time is essential. Hitting someone for two minutes is a LONG time. #writersroad

@HeatherMcCorkle Big time yes! There's a reason they have "rounds" in fights. #WritersRoad

@Nightveil Yes! Adrenalin can stay in the system for a long time, keeping one very keyed up. #WritersRoad

Action scenes can be confusing to the reader while making perfect sense to the writer. Be sure to have betas or crits for them. #WritersRoad

@Nightveil @HeatherMcCorkle If adult novel... reason why they say sex and violence (not toward partner) go hand in hand. #writersroad


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