Ready, Set, Write: How Authors Craft Realistic Action Scenes

by | Dec 21, 2023 | writing tips | 0 comments

Photo by iMike Stettler on Unsplash

Realistic action scenes are among those clips that easily excite readers. These have a hard grip on their attention, but watching and reading them are two different situations.

Writing is a tricky business.

It isn’t simply about choosing and combining words to convey a story. Instead, authors must also ensure the words and phrases they’ve woven together are enough to entice and seize readers’ interest. When asked what the most challenging part of writing is, authors would be divided in their opinions. After all, they have to work, build, and balance different aspects to craft an exciting novel.

Most authors would find creating dialogues challenging. Others may believe choosing and planning an absorbing plot and conflict is the only obstacle to overcome. However, while they may be divided between these, perhaps writing narratives, especially realistic action scenes, is a common struggle.

First, What Are Realistic Action Scenes?

When talking about realistic action scenes, people may immediately think of fight scenes. They’re an evident display of action and damage – the ultimate encapsulation of what action should be. However, realistic action scenes don’t only rely on or aren’t limited to fist-action. Instead, these include anything that depicts physically rapid movements or adrenaline-inducing scenes.

Realistic action scenes are parts that require significant consequences if things go south, those that make people grip the edge of their seats. These usually are events with a consequential cause, occurring because the protagonist wants to protect something of value.

Two fundamental features make up realistic action scenes. These should be composed of, one, swift physical events and, two, an equivalent sense of danger or urgency. Physical action should be caused or done to prevent the threat attached to these episodes. With these, realistic action scenes don’t always have to revolve around physical aggression. Instead, they can even be a gentle build-up of events simultaneously with an element of danger.

For instance, in Quinn’s Dilemma, a notorious mob thriller book by Ball, the author captivates his readers with his action-packed narratives. However, his story isn’t filled with fight scenes, blood, or gore. Instead, it’s an insightful and steady depiction of politics and the criminal underworld. It veers towards a mind-boggling narrative, not a physical and forceful description.

Yet, regardless of this absence, Quinn’s Dilemma is still considered an action-packed novel.

How Is This Achieved?

Crime novels are typically the perfect example of realistic action scenes. These stories can’t be without a thrill, fight scenes, or car-chase descriptions. Such narratives rely on the exhilaration of these scenes, vicariously feeding readers the adrenaline rush their characters are experiencing.

An excellent and thrilling novel is as good as how these scenes are defined. This is why authors who dabble in such genres should confidently experiment with their narrative tones and definitions.

Actions Should Utilize Strong And Short Narrations

This doesn’t mean these physical scenes should end as quickly as they started. Instead, using solid and short narrations means authors must avoid using too many adverbs or adjectives. Realistic action scenes rely on how quickly readers can piece the narrative together. Its pace depends on how fast readers will finish reading the paragraph.

Compared to romantic scenes, action-packed descriptions should be with fewer flowery words. They shouldn’t be composed of too much emotional description but of verbs and motion. These scenes should be passionate, but this fire must be invested in the proper movement and not the profound definition of the characters’ feelings.

When writing action-packed scenes, authors must stick to verbs and action and a little less about the characters’ feelings. These can be spotlighted in narratives before the actual action.

Command The Action’s Pace

Again, the scene’s pace depends on the author’s narration. How they command the movement and string of words depict how well the speed of the scene will be.

Realistic action scenes are quick. Things don’t happen in slow motion in real life, but this narration style can still be appropriately utilized. But when it’s action-focused, the definitions must be short and straight to the point. They must deliver the type of movement swiftly as though they’re acting the moment the words are read. Authors don’t rely on more description, but the focus must be on the movement’s details.


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