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This month, I have to be brief. Daylight hours have slipped through my paint stained fingers. I’ve been doing so many projects around my home. I wish I had more time. I don’t.
Today, I’m thinking about writing tight action scenes, a skill I’ve recently become comfortable doing. The important thing as you write action is to write, then cut. Read, and cut some more. I found a great article to get my thoughts rolling by Write it Side Ways and feel free to visit it for more details.
What are the tips I’ve learned?
There are three I can think of:
1. Pick strong verbs.
2. Write quickly, pointedly.
3. Imagine the stress, the out of breath state your character(s) might be in, and make the dialogue or internal reflections brief to reflect this realist situation.
An example using all three points from my favorite book, A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (page 60):
It takes me another second for the pain to register. Blood is in my mouth. His hand draws back to hit me again.
I jab my arm down against his back. He jerks a little and his hand falls.
I stabbed him. I stabbed him.
Part of me wants to burst into tears.
A darker part of me wants to celebrate.
A personal example in the moment, using all three, and not quite as sharp.
Cautiously, I step through a darkened doorway. My heart hammers so loud, the pound of it echoes in my ears. I don’t see her. She’s here. I feel it in my blood. I can’t explain it. A sister knows a sister.
“Fight me!” Her scream echoes through the warehouse. Overhead, the metal ducts rattle with the fire in her voice. I shirk forward—turn.
A shadow shifts side to side. I hold my breath, waiting. My eyes adjust to the dark. It’s a bag. My shoulders release. A stupid boxing bag.
“Come on then.” I ready my hands, knowing she’s back there, somewhere. “Come get me if you want me.”