follow a rookie writing his first novel

Dealing with action

This week I was writing a scene in which a lot of action happens all at once, involving multiple characters and reactions from bystanders.

I know from text books that shorter sentences can be used to convey a sense of speed, and this works really well when there is only one character ‘doing stuff’.

In my novel however, a magical bar fight (well, coffee-house fight to be exact) involving four against three, all casting spells/ throwing magic darts/ conjuring demons and miscellaneous high jinx takes place. In real-time I suspect it would only last three or four minutes and would be frantic. The problem is in writing about it you can only describe one action at a time – unlike film where you could see all the actions at once. I’m quite happy with what I’ve written, but if anyone has come across any sage advice on the subject I’d be happy to hear it…


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2 thoughts on “Dealing with action

  1. I’m impressed. I just wrote a fight scene (four participants, no magic, no bystanders) and even then when I re-read it i realized one character wasn’t accounted for (he had been defeated, but it was not clear how or when).

    If anybody does come up with some sage advice, I’ll be interested, too. 🙂

    • I’ve just finished reading Dean Koontz ‘Odd Thomas’. Towards the end of the book, he has a scene with Odd moving rapidly towards his antagonist while shooting at him amid a scene of chaos and even that lacked pace because of the amount of descriptioon necessary – If an author of his calibre struggles, then I don’t feel so bad 🙂

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