Action scenes refer specifically to scenes or sequences dominated by physically demanding actions and manoeuvres. You can find action scenes, whether epic duels, gruelling fistfights, harrowing chases, or others, in almost any genre. Action has been found to be appreciated by both male and female readers, of varying ages. There is a reason people enjoy action-movies. The summer film season tends to be dominated by action packed films of all stripes and styles. Perhaps it is the adrenaline associated with such scenes, the heart-pounding and breath-catching stunts that press, if not break, the limits of what is physically possible. As such, Xlibris Publishing seeks to help writers by providing some tips and advice on Writing Action Scenes.
You should not have an action scene, fight, or chase sequence that does not further the plot. One of the criticisms of poorly received action films, television series, or books, is the inclusion of pointless action scenes that do not contribute anything to the overall story, that just there for the sake of action.
If there is a fight, then you should consider what is at stake, why are your characters resorting to fighting, and other such context questions. If you are having a chase scene, then ask yourself what is important about or within the situation that necessitates a high speed, and thus dangerous, chase? When you include any action scene in your story, always ask yourself ‘what is the point and purpose of this scene and these actions?’
A Little Research
Doing good research never hurts a story. Study the fighting techniques and weapons that will be used in your writing. Someone who trained as a boxer will fight very differently from a Kalaripayattu fighter. If your story will include firearms, then it is highly recommended you read about gun safety, terminology, proper use and handling. The musket has terrible aim compared to the modern rifle, and revolvers do not include a safety mechanism, to name a few often glossed-over truths.
Read about the human body, what sort of injuries it can endure, its strengths, weaknesses, and limitations. Do not simply watch films (though martial arts demonstrations and sporting events can provide good information and writing material), read accounts of chases, duels, and gunfights. Speak with a free-runner to better understand how free-running is done, and the ensuing lifestyle. Anything that is used in your actions scenes, tools or techniques, should be studied for best implementation.
Xlibris Publishing will return with part 2 of Writing Action Scenes.