Action! Action! Action!

That would be today’s writing, then.

I revised the troll battle, and half of chapter 4. While I added 500 new words, I whacked two scenes.

Today’s writing question: when you are writing, do you find yourself with boring explanation? One of the reasons I’m reworking these chapters is because I realized they were like watching an old school Star Trek film. Blah, blah, blah, planet fall, blah, blah, plan of attack, blah!

I realize that readers would prefer action to explanation, especially the young crowd that this book will no doubt be marketed to. Of course, there are scenes that are not active, but keep the plot moving, but so much of the last draft seems to be me figuring out what’s going on, punctuated with some action. I’ll be cutting a substantial amount, and replacing it with things that happen whether someone’s sat around a table to suss it out or not.

Just curious about whether or not this happens to you.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

2 thoughts on “Action! Action! Action!”

  1. For action I tend to think through the whole sequence first before writing it. I have had to rewrite from the “but wait, the gun was in his left hand here…” point of view. BLocking int through first tends to help avoid those problems.

    With this current WIP, there’s a lot of action, and for most of it I tend to shorthand into descriptive kata names (the kata – martial arts moves – are all made up but relate to Tai Chi if you did it with a sword). It doesn’t matter if the reader knows specifically what “Pierce the clouds” is, except to know it’s a thrusting attack. I could explain exactly what happens (and have to for one scene, but only for the final thrust), but that slows down the action scenes.

    And with this one I’m also trying something new for me. It’s in a noir voice so I can add some of the snide/smart-a$$ remarks. The character tends to go up against groups of people. Since he doesn’t know their names, and it’s written in first person, and it gets tiring to say, “the guy, over there by the door, you know the one I described before…” he gives then all names from fairy tales and nursery rhymes (Eeany, Meeny, Miney, and Moe, for instance). It makes the sentences go quicker, and it adds a sense of humor in what otherwise would be a fairly gruesome scene.

    There are a few chapters that will be reworked as they also suffer from the “okay, how to I get from here to there” disease (sometimes the characters go their own way or find a different way than what I thought).

  2. While generally it’s good to keep things moving, I think the biggest exception to the rule is “hard” science fiction, where it’s considered appropriate even to stop in the middle of an action scene to explain some future technology you’ve just worked out.

    This is why I don’t read a lot of it.

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