HOW NOT TO WRITE ACTION
So the examples that I’ve shared from the past few blogs seem to refer to scenes from a thriller – hence the title. What if you’re not writing a thriller? Then what do you do? Let’s think about it. I’ll switch over to a less explosive genre (I intentionally did not use “intense” because any novel can be intense).
Let’s go to your everyday urban fiction.
You want to have the scenes, and you want to have the sequels. You also know that you want to include the MRUs, but you’re not interested in having any fight scenes or any forms of physical aggression. You just want regular characters with regular problems. The rules still apply.
And just for the purpose of this blog, let’s say this is the opening to our story. I’ll use one of my previous openers.
How does a broken heart keeping beating? Much the same way as a cold heart she supposed. Tiffany, her now-used-to-be-best-friend, kissing her boyfriend who just earned the same title. None of it made sense.
Two days had past, but forty-eight hours didn’t give Janessa nearly enough time to cry out the pain.
[blah, blah, blah, Janessa reflects a little more].
The bell rang and she dreaded having to face a class full of dagger-eyed, soulless seniors, who despite the anxieties associated with graduating within a week, still had nothing else to worry about other than the wound that she had suffered.
What you’ve just read is the set-up. It’s the introduction to scene. It shows what Janessa wants, and it helps the reader to understand why she wants it. She wants to be left alone so that she doesn’t have to face the embarrassment of her boyfriend cheating on her with her best friend.
Now the conflict. We have Tiffany come in and sit beside her. Dang…now we know something’s brewing.
What direction should we go with this? How about this? Tiffany sits down and tries to apologize to Janessa for kissing Justin. Janessa fights back the tears, but she seems to be giving in to her friend’s pleas for a restored relationship.
Next we have the disaster. Tiffany’s iPhone buzzes on her desk, and Justin’s name shows up. Ahhhh why??? See how there’s still tension. These elements come together to make for an intriguing story.
Now is where we can’t forget our MRUs (Motivation-Reaction Units). When Tiffany’s phone buzzes, we could have Janessa throw her books in the air and storm out. But, we lose the reader.
We should, instead, show that inner-dialogue of her wrestling with the pain, while trying to deal with the betrayal, and while resisting the rage. Now we’ve shown the fiercer side of our studious, book-hugging POV.
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