Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Writerly Wednesday: The action scene

One wouldn't think a girl who writes teen romance would know anything about writing an action scene.

Some reviewers may actually agree with that and say they hate my action scenes in How to Date an Alien. Others think I may have it down and some of you are just wondering how much action there is going to be in Book 3 or Spliced.

Writing action scenes is harder for me than writing a kiss scene, especially in YA. I want the characters to brawl, but I can't just go all shoot-em-up style.

So what's a YA writer to do?

Just like with writing a love scene, it's all about the emotions.

Let's play with an example (You get a Roswell one because I said so!)

In the first book and TV show there is a scene in the cafe in which a shooting occurs. Instead of playing on the action, the author plays on the emotions:


The muscular man cocked the gun.
Liz wanted to run, she wanted to scream, but she was paralyzed. Her mouth refused to open. Her feet refused to move.
The beefy man gave a howl of fury. He launched himself across the table at the muscular man.
an ear-drum shattering explosion rocked the room.
Liz flew off her feet, she hit the wall behind her and slumped to the ground.
She felt something warm and wet, soaking into her uniform.
"There's so much blood," Liz heard Maria cry.
But she sounded so far away.
So far away...


Instead of being all about the action the author uses the emotions: How Liz wanted to run, but was paralyzed. She also used different words and situated them so you could grasp the emotions of the scene:  'Click' 'So far away...'

This is what I try to establish in my own writing. How does the character feel when they are running from an evil being? Is their heart pounding in their chest? Does the crackle of a gunfire sting their ear drums?

How do you work emotion in to your action scenes?

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