Action Scenes

July 19, 2009 at 8:57 AM | Posted in Writing, Writing Advice | 5 Comments

So yesterday I had to write an action scene. I knew nothing beyond what I wanted the result of this action scene to be. I figured that the rest of it would just kind of come flying out of my fingers. You know, like those really magical scenes were your characters are talking to you and you’re like ‘I got this!’ or something. Yeah – for some reason, it didn’t work out quite that way. So, for all of you who are in the same boat (the one called ‘I can’t write an action scene’) I’ve come up with a way that might help you out.

Action Movies: Youtube is your friend here (and I don’t say that often). Search up action scenes from the good action flicks like Elektra, the Matrix (all three), and so on. These fight scenes will help you come up with description. Especially if you know absolutely nothing about fighting.

Kick-ass Music: This is not necessarily crucial, but it works for me. Awesome, loud, rock out music really helps with writing the action scenes. It helps me get into that adrenaline high mindset that (I imagine) a person going into a fight might have.

Choreography: The stunt directors in the movies do it and you should to. Go in with an idea of who’s fighting who, how, and when. Even if you’re not going to write a play by play, have it in your head. It’s super super helpful to know exactly what’s happening so that you can transfer it better to paper or screen. Really. Honest. No lie.

Write, write, write: I know this seems kind of obvious, but when you’re stuck in the depths of despair it isn’t. Once you’ve got the music, done your research and mentally choreagraphed the action scene write it. Write it however many times you need to get it right, but get it down. You’ll notice what’s wrong and what’s not working. But if you never get it down, you’ll never get past the scene and get to write the rest of the awesome stuff.

That’s pretty much all I could think of to help with writing these tricky scenes. If you guys have suggestions of your own, please share. The rest of us would love to hear! :)



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  1. I agree with youtube being able to help you visually!
    Good post. I’m just stuck writing a scene that has a lot of necessory background information. The boring stuff…lol

  2. Thank you! This was really helpful.

  3. Haha, great post! I love it! :)

  4. Oh, I have such problems with action scenes! *dreads all these impending war scenes* But I’m definitely going to have fitting music playing when I write them. :D

  5. I used to do karate and we would spar in class.

    The moments before the first move is filled with a feeling of nervousness. The rest of the sparring is just like riding a roller coaster and you do things involuntarily. For me at least.

    If there’s a local martial arts place, and they don’t mind spectators, go and watch the advanced classes spar. Its really awesome to watch them.

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