This blog post has been walking around my thoughts for a while. I’m glad it coincides with the first letter of the blog writing challenge from A to Z.

Have you ever got to the point in your story that is begging for an action scene? You stare stupidly at the screen in front of you. Your imagination presents to you a clear picture but the words you type out are bland. All you want to do is get your main character up the stairs (insert whatever scenario you are writing about here) quickly and down the hallway to the back bedroom where there is another hidden room that she can hide from the baseball bat carrying stranger. You feel her anxiety rush through your bones but yet you can’t convey it on paper.

There are a million action scenes that can be acted out right in the confines of your own home that will help make your scene stronger. I am forever jumping over obstacles, banging into things, pretending to shoot darts, stirring a pot just so I can experience the moment of the scene. What happens when I bump into something? Does pain shoot through my body? Do I bounce back? Do I bruise?

Please don’t think I like self mutilation because I promise I do not. But, I like to get down and dirty with my writing so I can help my readers experience the scene as if they are part of it.

If I was trying to get my character up the stairs, I’d probably find a flight and start racing up them. I’d pay attention to my movements. Do I stumble? Do I catch my fall with the palms of my hands slamming against the step above? Do I trip over clutter on the stair, causing my knee to smash into the step? Once I reach the top what happens? Do I turn back to see if the stranger is right behind? Or do I race down the hallway to the secret room only I (aka the character) knows about?

If this is not something you have done before, I suggest you give it a shot. It could be something as simple as making a pot of coffee. Act out the action and see what you come up with.


Filed under character, constructing, Fiction, life, writer's life, writers, Writing

7 responses to “ACT IT OUT

  1. This is a really interesting idea. I am definitely going to give this a try. Thank you for a great post.

  2. Very helpful post! Good one for A! Look forward to seeing more of your writing.

  3. Great advice, glad I stumbled across your blog via the challenge. I will be back.

  4. Merritt | LiveSimplyLove

    ooohhh! I love this! I’m not a fiction writer (maybe because it feels like too much work to me) but this is definitely inspirational! (And now, I want to check out your whole blog!) Found you through the AtoZ Challenge. And can’t wait to see what else you write about this month. 🙂

  5. ooooh! this is a GREAT idea! thank you!

  6. Great post. I’m glad I’m not the only one who does this! Sometimes the only way to bring a scene alive for others is to experience it yourself. And the most mundane things are often the hardest to describe in a vivid way, because we’re so used to them that we tend not to pay attention. Acting them out is a perfect way to beat that over-familiarity by making the effort to look through new eyes.

  7. A great challenge and a fabulous start.

    I am really enjoying reading your blogs and have bookmarked to refer back to (such brilliant advice) – Thank you.

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