Writing Tip Wednesday: Tips On Writing Action Scenes by Janice Hardy.

In the YA urban sci-fi I’m writing there are a few fight scenes. When first writing these scenes, I started to wonder just how good they were, because there’s only so many moves your characters can make in a fight before things start getting repetitive. Recently I discovered the blog by writer Janice Hardy, and just tonight I came across an article on writing action scenes. It was very helpful and I will be taking her advice when editing.

If you write action scenes in your novel, you might want to check it out too. In the article Janice says, ‘Action can be tough because it’s easy to focus too much on the action and not enough on the character in peril. So long descriptions sneak in and what the character does takes center stage. What the character thinks and feels often gets shoved into the background.

And that’s bad. Because those emotions are what make or break an action scene.’

To see more of her tips for writing action scenes, go to her website.


4 thoughts on “Writing Tip Wednesday: Tips On Writing Action Scenes by Janice Hardy.

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I struggle a lot with fight scenes––I’m a little less intimidated by them now than I was a few years ago, but I still find them very difficult to write. It’s hard to find that good balance between action and the protagonist’s internal thoughts/feelings as the fight is happening. I think that post had some very good advice in it; I’ll have to save it for future reference. 🙂

    1. It was a great post and I just had to share it when I read it. I haven’t written a lot of fight scenes before my latest WIP so I’m fairly new to them, so I need all the advice I can get. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. Spot on, Rochelle. My challenge is the actual crafting of each scene. I’ve found Dwight Swain’s idea of a “motivation-reaction unit” (as interpreted by Randy Ingermanson) very helpful in this regard.

    The basic idea is to show the external motivation (villain advancing with murder in his eyes) first, then the instant emotion it evokes in your POV character, then the reflexive action that instantly follows the emotion, and only then the “rational action and speech.” Okay, yes, it sounds formulaic, but I have been amazed at how effective it can be. And how often I now notice this pattern in other authors’ work which I enjoy.

    Better authors than I (seems like Janice is one of them!) get this sort of structure right instinctively. Me, I needed the scene/sequel and MRU concept to keep my fight scenes or action scenes credible and exciting. I hope you find this sort of thing as helpful as I did…

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