10 Tips for Action Sequences

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ACTION SEQUENCES

Due to request, I am trying my best to provide you with several tips on writing action sequences in your books. I will be honest here, I don't write many of these, so if anybody has anything to contribute I would be more than grateful! :)

1-Making it Realistic - This one should be obvious, and probably the whole point of the chapter. The question is how. How do you make it realistic?
          a) As someone continues to fight, they will get tired. I don't care if "suddenly they got a burst of momentum," their bodies can most likely not take all that fighting without wearing down. So unless your character is Captain America, make sure they tire realistically throughout the battle/fight.
           b) Make the injuries realistic. If your character suffers a blow to the arm, at the very least it's going to hurt that arm just enough to where it's harder to fight with. And that's at the very least. If your character gets hit by an arrow, they can't just yank it out and keep fighting. Also, this applies to the people they're fighting as well. If they kick the person and the person falls over, your character shouldn't assume they're dead and move on. And if they do, have that person get up and chase after the character or something, because there's no way he was dead or knocked out from a kick to the chest. And kick to the chest from someone who is incredibly weakened by the battle already shouldn't do too much more than knock the wind out of you. (Unless their head hit a rock on the way down, which would call for explanation...) Once again, unless your character is Captain America, he will most likely come away from a battle/fight at least slightly injured.
            c) Character training/size/strength. Okay, I don't care how well trained your character is, if you have a girl that is 5'1" going up against a modern day giant in a wrestling match, at least make her struggle. Because the truth is, there's no way she should win that. Same goes with fights with swords. If your character has never picked up a sword before, they shouldn't be running around laying people out left and right. Swords are pretty heavy and difficult to wield without practice. So have your character hide under a rock or find a weapon they're a little more suitable with.

2-Detail- You may have read a story before with an action sequence that seemed to drag on and on and on. Unless you are genuinely interested in every elaborate stroke the character killed each person with, my bet is that you kind of glanced over it until you spotted some dialogue or excitement. So with this said, try and avoid boring your reader. It's actually quite difficult to read pages and pages of just description of fighting without getting the slightest bit bored. So this is the one time where it might be a little better to avoid description overload, and maybe just focus on the characters reactions? Speaking of which....

3-Reactions- And I don't just mean: "Wow, I just killed that man" or even feelings like guilt, pride, etc., though those are fine. I mean that in the heat of the battle or fight or whatever this action sequence is, your character usually doesn't have time to plan every attack in detail. Their fighting will mostly be by responding to whatever's getting thrown at them (punches, knives, arrows, etc.). It's all very spontaneous. Sure, if they have a certain move down to par, then they can execute that move if the moment arises. But we shouldn't see a bunch of this: "When he swings right, I'll dodge his blow and then I can take out his left knee and before he has the chance to recover I'll chop his head off." FIRST - Your character can't predict what the other person is going to do. SECOND - If they're in the middle of the fight, they're not going to have time to strategize like this.

4-After - Keep in mind that fighting of any kind will take a toll on the fighters body. They should be incredibly sore the following days (though make sure it's the right kind of soreness depending on what type of fighting your character was doing. If they're an archer, their legs probably won't be hurting, but their arms will.). So plan your book carefully and give your character at least a couple days of rest before his/her next big adventure, or otherwise have them incredibly sore if they're forced into more action sequences. This soreness will limit a lot of what they can do!

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