Reading blog posts about how not to win the terrible sex scene award got me thinking about a similar but often less explored territory. Because just like a great sex scene, fight scenes require a bit of coordination and good old fashioned practice (er, on the page that is).
So you want to write an action scene.
Or maybe you don't. But if not or if you're on the fence about it, I would encourage you to consider it because they're fun -- both to write and to read! Who doesn't like car chases, explosions, shoot outs, hand to hand combat, and ticking time bombs? There's a reason action sequences are a staple of blockbuster movies and many genres of commercial fiction. They get the heart pumping. They raise the conflict and tension in a scene and make you worry for the characters involved. And of course, they allow the audience to root for the main character, to hope they survive, and that they win against the opposition. Whether you're writing about an assassin on the run, an MMA fighter in the cage, a navy SEAL on a mission, a famous soccer player who loses his cool on the field, a mafia enforcer, a detective chasing down a perp -- whoever your main characters are, adding a fast-paced action scene can really spice up your novel in the same way that a good sex scene brings out the steam.
But how do we wrangle an unwieldy or flat action scene into something explosive?
I'll list the steps I use below when I'm drafting and revising a new action scene. But first, real quick, let me give you an assurance (hopefully) on why I feel I have a little something to offer on the topic. My first two chapters (that's right, holy moly maybe a tad too long at almost 5k?) of my novel are essentially one long fight scene. I introduce readers to my female protagonist by having her bungle a heist and get tossed into a mud-pit to fight for her life against a monstrous and fantastical beast. Yikes! What was I thinking? Well... it was crazy fun to write for starters. And I think it worked out in the end. I've have multiple agents and editors tell me that my opening chapters are some of the most fun and exciting they've read as a start to a novel. It's also earned me several contest finals and wins including the Golden Heart, Pitch Wars, Fire & Ice, the Sheila, and more! One agent who left editorial comments on my manuscript in a "rest" chapter (to pace out the action, readers do need a break now and then!) told me, "Let's get to it, I'm here for the fight scenes!" Oh, and the Manuscript Shredder wrote a blog post on "Opening Action: Getting It Right" based on my first chapter. http://themanuscriptshredder.com/opening-action-how-to-make-it-work/ :)
Now for the quick and dirty of writing a great fight scene -- Click READ MORE below
House of Ash and Brimstone
An exiled-princess-turned-bounty-hunter rescues a minotaur, accidentally opens a Hellmouth in Baltimore, and is terrorized by a ghoul out for her blood, all while arguing with her hot new coworker—who may or may not want her dead.
“I’m not scared of anything,” she said out of habit, though they both knew it was a lie. “I’m not scared of you.”