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Believe It Or Not: How Not To Write Action
Tiffany Lawson Inman
A lengthy list of components must come together to create well-written action and fighting in fiction. One of the most important components is believability.
Believability in writing action and fighting is something that trips-up many authors and editors. I am including editors because I have read too many published books with out-of-place action words and phrases and sometimes entire action or fight sequences. So it would seem that the editors as well as the authors either don’t recognize the issue or don’t know how to fix it and it is then a rough spot for your readers.
Always be asking yourself if your characters are using the right actions.
Are the actions you have written for them even in the same skill set as that character?
Are they fighting a fight in your novel or have they transformed into one of the knife-wielding thugs from one of Harlan Coben’s latest novels?
You do not want your character to go from little Ashley, the ninety-nine pound Physiology major at CU Boulder, to Bruce Banner’s Hulk in a blink of a word or phrase. Unless this is a paranormal and she has super powers, of course. A beefed-up and out-of-place word or phrase will pop off the page and wedge itself between your reader and your story.
This is not a good thing.
Examples of out-of-place action words and phrases for the character’s skillset and theme of the book they were written for:
- She launched herself out of the car window.
- He targeted the man’s jawline and threw a fast jab that connected with a crack. He knew he had just broken someone’s jaw.
- She turned back towards her attacker with a quick spin and side-kicked. The kick landed against his neck and she quickly readjusted her stance to get in few more kicks.
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