Writing action scenes
There are three things you have to worry about when writing a paranormal adventure, love scenes, supernatural scenes, and action scenes.
I’m going to talk about action scenes. Strangely enough this was covered in my college creative writing course. My professor handed out a copy of some poor anonymous sap’s writing.
My god it was horrible.
It was full of blood and pain and suicide and we couldn’t stop laughing. The overwrought descriptions turned what was supposed to be tragedy into farce. Then my professor handed out and example of published fiction. This was a story about a woman in the eighteenth century who was kidnapped by Native Americans. The writing was terse and the violence conveyed with only a few simple sentences. That lesson stuck with me.
That lesson has been brought home time and again when I read scripts for contests. There are a lot of action scripts out there and unfortunately most would be writers try to be the next John Woo. They load up their scripts with gunfights that last five pages or more. The ironic part is that kind of overwriting SLOWS a story down. After a while I was beginning to think Shakespeare had the proper idea. He would always just write “They fight.”
Then a few years ago I stumbled across a post on thriller writers. I found the examples fascinating especially those of Lee Child. The way he wrote, it put the reader in Jack Reacher’s skin as he was struggling to stay alive. I could finally see how the proper action scene was supposed to be executed. It’s about character.
The more I learn about writing the more it comes back to character. In fiction it doesn’t matter what a scene looks like, what matters is how it feels to the characters. You don’t need to choreograph a fight like Bruce Lee. What you need to do is make the reader feel every punch and kick. That’s what I tried to convey in From Russia with Blood. I want the reader to feel like they are in the field with Ian as he’s being stalked by four assassins. I want them to be with Larissa as runs for her life across Connecticut streets. If I’ve done that, then I’ve done my job.
From Russia with Blood
By Michael J Lee
400 year old vampire Ian Redd joined British Intelligence during the Cold War. But after the Berlin Wall came down they decided they no longer needed his services. He was retired, almost permanently. Ian escaped and has lived the quiet life in a small town until a professional hit team arrived at his doorstep. Who sent them? That’s a question that will lead Ian into the arms of a beautiful woman named Larissa Barton and into the most dangerous operation of his unlife.
Larissa Barton’s life has barely begun and it’s already gone off the tracks. She’s back in her hometown working as a barista. But things change when Ian Redd enters her life. Dark, mysterious and gorgeous, Ian is her only protection her from the people and creatures who suddenly want her dead. With Ian by her side Larissa plunges into a world of magic, werewolves, vampires, spies and assassins and discovers her own secret past.
"One part James Bond, one part Dracula, and a whole lot of action and adventure. From Russia with Blood kicks ass!" - Vivi Anna, award winning author of the Valorian Chronicles
About the Author:
Micheal J Lee was born in the Midwest and has spent time out on the East Coast and in LA.
He learned the craft of screenwriting the hard way, as a barely paid reader. That’s how he got a good feel for writing form and the craft of storytelling. His approach to a story is a lot like Bruce Lee's approach to fighting, absorb what is useful.
Lee published his first paranormal romance, My Frankenstein, recently. It's been an adventure – and now he’s on to book 2, From Russia with Blood.