Xlibris Publishing returns to Action Scenes with part 2.
With some exceptions, it is often recommended you do not bog down your reader with details in an action scene. There can be a serious verbal disconnect if you describe what should be a high-speed chase or an intense fight with too much detail. Strive for a balance between ‘enough details’ to properly illustrate the action scene and ‘concise language’ to maintain the actual speed or rapidity of the scene. It is also not always necessary to precisely describe each and every moment of a fight, sporting event, or chase. Sometimes your writing can be best served by describing key moments of an action scene, the actions that will help determine the final outcome and result. Describe the general tone and flow of an action scene, characterize the actions and reactions.
If you are writing a fight scene, you can verbally illustrate the differences between the fighters in style, method, and conduct. If writing a chase scene, illustrate the energy, the pumping of adrenaline, and the method of movement. Much of the two above pieces of advice can also be applied to sporting events and competitions.
Instinct over Intellect
Going hand-in-hand with the above section, is the importance of balancing instinct and intellect. Sometimes, you will need to favour instinct over intellect. In situations and scenes where the final outcome can be determined by a single moment of action or hesitation, quick decisions are needed. Fighters, soldiers, and athletes practice to turn actions and movements into muscle memory. An elder martial arts master once said to a younger, ‘You are faster and stronger than me, but while you are still thinking about striking I am already striking.’ A common criticism from fighting and athletic instructors to new students is to ‘stop over-thinking, just do.’ This is to emphasize quick thinking in action scenes.
As a final piece of advice- remember to pace out your action scenes. In all stories, but especially dedicated action & adventure stories, make sure to provide breathing room for your readers and characters. Pace your action so the reader (and you the writer) are not overwhelmed. Allow for the ramifications and aftermath of the action scenes to play out and settle.