Monday, May 16, 2011

Storymaker Conference - Report 5: Writing Action

Go ahead. Describe what's happening in this pic.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I took two classes from Traci Abramson at Storymaker. She's an entertaining writer and instructor.

Writing Action
The POV should be from the people who have the most to win or lose.
  • Visualize your novel like a movie. Don't write about the character -- BE the character. Doesn't this sound just like that Show, Don't Tell thingy?
  • Use visual words.
  • When there's action, there will be more white space on the page.
  • If your pacing is too fast, you'll lose your reader.
  • If your pacing is too slow, your reader will get bored.
  • Be concise in your writing because sometimes less is more. If five words will do, don't write thirty. Some good examples of concise writing can be found in poetry, song lyrics, and newspaper articles.
  • Your sentence structure is important with action. All right, your sentence structure is important in all writing unless you want to sound like Yoda. Watch your paragraph format and see if your sentences are in the right order.
  • If you want to write action, read the books of writers who do it well.
  • If you're not sure if the action scene is working, act out the movement. Watch yourself in the mirror.
Do you have any particular techniques for spicing things up in an action scene?


  1. I like to marry the length of the sentence with the length of the action in the sentence. So 'He stopped' would be very short, but if slid to a stop in a out of control car, that would take longer to describe because it would take longer to happen.

    Moody Writing

  2. Great tips, thanks! :-)

    (Just wondering: what's wrong with sounding like Yoda? Much wisdom he has!)

  3. These are really great tips for writing action scenes. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Nice blog and very helpful post! :)

  5. Great advice~ realistic, compelling action has always been a bit of a challenge for me, and these tips/bullet points give me a lot to keep in mind!

  6. I like writing action, especially since the scenes play in my mind like a movie, so the action isn't all that hard to write. :D

  7. I always find I write a summary of what is going on instead of writing out a scene. Something I need to work on when it comes to action!

  8. Thank you for sharing these tips, they're very helpful!

  9. Fantastic tips!! Thanks for sharing them! I love writing action.

  10. Great list!! When I write action, sometimes I act it out to see how realistic it is.

  11. Awesome tips. When writing action, I like to use short sentences. It automatically speeds the pacing.

  12. Top Tips there, Donna. I'm cutting and pasting them into a Word doc right now.

    Also love the pic - very INCEPTION. Who turned the gravity off?


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