Writing [Tutorial] Writing ACTION 2: The Plug & Play Method

OokamiKasumi

Author of Quality Smut
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
177
Points
58

Writing Action Scenes:​

The Plug & Play Method

Writing ACTION 2​

☕
WARNING! This tutorial is NOT meant for those do Creative Writing.
This essay was originally written for writers seeking to be professionally published authors. As a multi-published author, I have been taught some fairly rigid rules on what is publishable and what is not. If my rather straight-laced (and occasionally snotty,) advice does not suit your creative style, by all means, IGNORE IT.

If you are new to my tutorials, please read this one first:
The Secret to Proper Paragraphing and Dialogue
Certain things covered in this tutorial are based on that information.

Brom The Dungeon.jpg

Art by Brom

So you want a Quick way to write Action Scenes?

Before we go there, did you read the first part of this series?

Writing ACTION 1:
The Trick to Writing Action Scenes that Work

You did? Great...!

Lets begin with a Review.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
The flash of pain exploded in my cheek from the slap her hand lashed out at me.
-- WRONG!

Why is this wrong?​

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you were watching this scene as a movie, that sentence is NOT how you would have seen it happen.



Actual Sequence of events:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1) Her hand lashed out in a slap. [Action]
2) A flash of pain exploded in my cheek [Reaction]


ACTION Sequences = Chronological Order


REALITY = something happens to you and…you react.
Action > Reaction = Chronological order



FICTION = the Plot happens to the characters and…they react.
Action > Reaction = Chronological order​


If you want the reader to SEE the actions that you are trying to portray, Chronological Order is the ONLY way to write that scene. In other words, if you visualize the characters doing something in a specific order, you write it in THAT order!

Violating chronological order is a Very Bad idea. If you knock the actions out of order, the reader’s Mental Movie STOPS because the reader has to STOP READING to rearrange the sentences into the correct order to get the movie back.


Before we go on, you also need to know about the Action scene's Worst Enemy...!

1631753528786.png

The Evil Nasty Vicious "As."

In school, they teach you that "as" is a word used to connect fragments of sentences together, rather in the same way you would use “and.”

Unfortunately, “as” doesn’t quite work the same way as an “and” in fiction.

As” means; “things that happened simultaneously.”​
“And” means; “this happened too.”​

In Fiction NOTHING is truly simultaneous because the eye READS only one word at a time. The only things that can actually be counted as simultaneous in written fiction are groups of things.

Example:
All the soldiers marched.​

IMPORTANT!
~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm NOT saying that simultaneous events CAN'T be written! I’m saying that using "as" is not the way to do it. Any group of events listed in one sentence are generally perceived as happening all at the same time -- until you get to the "and". However, they should still be listed --using the Serial Comma-- so as to make the reader's VISION of the whole event crystal clear.​


As far as I'm concerned, the only place an “as” belongs is at the BEGINNING of a sentence--

As all the soldiers marched, the drums and fifes played.​

Or in a comparison.

As black as pitch.​

See?

Where “As” goes WRONG​

I consider “as” a red flag word. A word that marks that something has gone terribly wrong in your sentence structure.

What went wrong?​

In fiction, the word “as” usually marks where a sentence has gone out of Chronological Order.

Example:
The vampire scratched his head thoughtfully as he crouched over his victim.​

Think: Which actions actually happened first?

1. The vampire crouched over his victim.​
2. He scratched his head thoughtfully.​

The chronological way to write this would be:

The vampire crouched over his victim AND scratched his head thoughtfully.​

Why does this matter?​

A sentence Out of Chronological Order means that the reader has to Stop Reading to reset their mental movie of your story. That’s bad, very, very, BAD.

Do this enough times and your reader will stop reading your story to go find something easier to imagine. In fact, some readers will not only drop your story, never to read it again, they’ll avoid anything else you write.

How to Grammar Check for “as”:​

Do a Search/Replace substituting “as” for “and,” then go back and read through your entire work. If “and” doesn’t fit right in your sentence, then it’s most likely Out of Chronological Order.

Example:
The werewolf flattened his ears angrily as he faced the hunter.​

Search/Replace with "and":
The werewolf flattened his ears angrily and he faced the hunter.​

“And” doesn’t quite work there, does it?

Why not?

The werewolf didn’t flatten his ears before he faced the hunter.

So! Which actions actually happened first?
1. The werewolf faced the hunter.​
2. He was angry.​
3. He flattened his ears.​

Adjusted:
The werewolf faced the hunter and he angrily flattened his ears.​

Now the “he” doesn’t fit, so let’s chop that out.

One more time:
The werewolf faced the hunter and angrily flattened his ears.​

See what I mean? The word “As” is a devious sinister monster that should be destroyed on sight.


Now, on to the good stuff!



Writing Action Scenes​

The "Plug & Play" Method


Life is full of random events. FICTION is NOT. Every element in a story – every character, every situation, and every object, must be there for a REASON, and have a Reason to Be There. NOTHING happens “just because” – especially actions.

The Magic Formula!​

Stimulus >​

Physical Reaction >​

Sensory Reaction >​

Emotional Reaction >​

Deliberate Reaction​


This order is Very specific. You may Skip steps, but you may Not Change the Order.


1) Stimulus
-- Something happens TO the character. (Action).

2) Physical Reaction
-- The character has a knee-jerk Physical Reaction to what has just happened. (Reaction)

3) Sensation Reaction
-- The character feels Physical Sensations and physically reacts to the sensations. (Reaction)

4) Emotional Reaction
-- AND THEN they have an Emotional Reaction reflected in their thoughts and/or a comment about what had just happened. (Reaction)

5) Deliberate Reaction
-- AND THEN they Respond. They DO something about that action. (Reaction)

1) NEW Stimulus
-- External Reaction of the OTHER person or an Outside event. (Action)


The Chain of REACTIONS in DETAIL


1) Stimulus – Something Happened!​

It all begins with: Stimulus > Response, also known as Action > Reaction. Something happens, and the character reacts. It’s that simple.

Stimulus - Joe threw the dagger at Sam.​
Response – Sam ducked, and the dagger flew harmlessly past him.​

Or -- Sam was stabbed through the heart.
Or -- Sam caught it in his hand.
Or -- something of a similar, immediate response-nature.

How can something this simple get confusing?​


Consider this:
Stimulus - Joe threw the dagger at Sam.​
Response - Sam grinned. “My, what lovely weather we’re having!”​

Too many writers think the reader will assume that the dagger missed Sam. Nope. I’m afraid that many, many readers will Not make that assumption at all.

This is a Plot Hole; a missing piece to an event triggered by the obvious question: What happened to the dagger?

I’m not saying you can’t have that lovely piece of dialogue, I’m saying that you have to show the rest of the stimulus-response FIRST.

Stimulus - Joe threw the dagger at Sam.​
Response – Sam caught the dagger in his palm, raised his brow at Joe, and smiled thinly. “My, what lovely weather we’re having.”​


2) Physical Reaction – The Flinch​

Something happens. Your character reacts instinctively. They duck, they flinch, they dodge, they gasp, they choke, they pass out.

In real life, physical actions usually happen before dialogue. The finger pulls the trigger then the shooter wonders, “Oh no, what have I done?”

Most people Act then comment because physical reactions happen faster than thought. Thought happens after the fist has already shot out. Ask any cop or martial artist.

Martial artists in particular are trained to Not Think when they fight --No Mind-- specifically to make their reaction time faster.​

Thoughts that come first FREEZE physical action. Not in the literary sense, for real. Most people stop whatever action they are doing, they pause to process that thought because few people can do both at once.

Fiction should not be any different.


3) Sensation Reaction – Cold Chills​

Something just happened. What did it feel like, physically? How did they react physically to those sensations? Remember--! The Body reacts faster than the Mind!

Sensory = of the 5 physical senses​

Sense of Sight - the appearance
Sense of Sound - the melody
Sense of Taste - the flavor
Sense of Texture - the sensation
Sense of Scent - the aroma​

Sensation Reaction is what they perceived through their senses.
It smelled like--​
It looked like--​
It sounded like--​
It felt like--​
It tasted like--​

And their PHYSICAL reaction to those sensations.
"It tasted like moldy socks, and I nearly retched.”​
USE THEM.

Stimulus - Joe threw the dagger at Sam.​
Response – Sam reached out to grab the dagger. (Physical Reaction) The pommel slapped sharply into his palm, stinging his hand. (Sensation) He winced. (Reaction to sensation)


4) Emotional/Mental Reaction –“Oh, woe is me!” Internal Conflict!​

Something just happened. How did that make your character Feel Emotionally: scared, happy, angry, lustful…? These emotional feelings are reflected internally immediately after the physical sensations that wracked their bodies with unwarranted stimuli. Ahem-- After they feel the physical effects of what just happened.

Additionally, internal observations, internal dialogue, and narration happens before they make a vocal remark.

Stimulus - Joe threw the dagger at Sam.​
Response – Sam reached out to grab the dagger. The pommel slapped sharply into his palm, stinging his hand. He winced. (Internalization) He had known Joe was pissed at him, but he hadn’t thought he was that pissed.​


5) Deliberate Reaction – Retaliation!​

Something happened, your character has felt the effects, had a thought, and perhaps made a comment. So, what is your character going to do next?

A deliberate action designed for Retaliation! More commonly known as: Revenge.

Stimulus - Joe threw the dagger at Sam.​
Response – Sam reached out to grab the dagger. The pommel slapped sharply into his palm, stinging his hand. He winced. (Internalization) He had known Joe was pissed at him, but he hadn’t thought he was that pissed. (Deliberate Reaction / Stimulus – intended to get a reaction out of Joe.) He raised his brow at Joe and smiled thinly. “My, what lovely weather we’re having!”​

Just to make things confusing – Dialogue can be a Response Reaction, an Internalization, an Emotional Reaction or a Deliberate Reaction! When in doubt, always put Dialogue AFTER a physical action.


Plug & Play it!

Fill in the blank!

Stimulus > Physical Reaction > Sensation Reaction > Emotional Reaction > Deliberate Reaction​


Key:
Stimulus - Something happened​
Physical Reaction - Their body’s immediate physical reaction​
Sensation Reaction - The physical sensations and their effects​
Emotional Reaction - What they thought about what was happening​
Deliberate Reaction - How they responded​
NEW Stimulus - What happened next.​
-- In this order.​

1631755570510.png
(Stupid gif won't load. Click to see the action.)

External / something HAPPENED​

1) Stimulus - Physical Action / Action, dialogue or both

Will Turner stabbed his sword toward Jack Sparrow.​

Viewpoint Character’s Reaction:​

2) Response - Physical Reaction / Did they jump? Flinch? Catch the flying object?

Jack twisted to intercept the oncoming blade with his blade, rather than his body.​

3) Response - Sensation Reaction / The physical sensations and their effects.

The swords impacted with a jarring ring.​

4) Response – Emotional Reaction / Internal or Vocal Comment reflecting what they thought about what was happening.

“Will, this isn’t the brightest idea in the world. I don’t know if you noticed, but there are a bunch of cutthroat pirates in the next cave?”​

5) Response – Deliberate Reaction / What they did or said in retaliation.

He slid his sword up Will’s blade, waggled his brows, and smiled.​


External Reaction of the OTHER person or an Outside event:​

1) NEW Stimulus - Physical Action/Action or dialogue or Action & then Dialogue.

Will flinched back and scowled. “I don’t care! I want to rescue her now!”​

On the Page...


Will Turner lunged, stabbing his sword toward Jack Sparrow.

Jack twisted to intercept the oncoming blade with his blade, rather than his body. The swords impacted with a jarring ring. “Will this isn’t the brightest idea in the world. I don’t know if you noticed, but there are a bunch of cutthroat pirates in the next cave?” He slid his sword up Will’s blade and smiled.

Will flinched back and scowled. “I don’t care. I want to rescue her now!”


Don't Forget:

Separate each character’s actions from the other characters. *
NO SHARING. Characters Do NOT share Sentences or Paragraphs ever! Put each individual characters' Actions and the Dialogue that goes with those actions in their own Paragraph. Having two people doing stuff in one paragraph makes the Reader's visuals muddy. The Reader's mental movie --your story-- comes to a screeching halt while they try to figure out what the hell just happened.​

ACTION always goes BEFORE Thoughts & Comments. **
The body reacts faster than commentary thoughts. Ask any martial artist. A REACTIONARY Comment: "Ouch!" Can go first because it plays the part of an ACTION, rather than a thought.​

ONE Point of View Only for an entire Scene! (Especially Beginners!) **
POV switching happen when you change scenes. No Head-hopping! It gets really confusing as to who is doing and feeling what if two people or more are all thinking a feeling in one scene. Pick a POV character and stick with it for the whole scene.​

Use crap-loads of Adjectives to describe sensations. ***
Description thrives on purple prose! Make every adjective highly opinionated to get the reader right into the action as though they are experiencing it.​

*Refer to: The Secret to Proper Paragraphing and Dialogue
**Refer to: The Trick to Writing Action Scenes that Work
***Refer to: Is Description Really Needed? YES.


In Conclusion:​

After figuring all this out the hard way, I discovered that this whole routine (Action > Reaction) is explained in exquisite detail in: Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham. Google is your friend.


☕
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Want to read my other Writing tutorials?
 
Last edited:

Plantorsomething

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2020
Messages
124
Points
58


Writing Action Scenes:​


The Plug & Play Method


Writing ACTION 2​



Writing ACTION 1:
The Trick to Writing Action Scenes that Work



If you are new to my tutorials, please read this one first:
The Secret to Proper Paragraphing and Dialogue
Certain things covered in this tutorial are based on that information.

☕

WARNING! This tutorial is NOT meant for those do Creative Writing.
This essay was originally written for writers seeking to be professionally published authors. As a multi-published author, I have been taught some fairly rigid rules on what is publishable and what is not. If my rather straight-laced (and occasionally snotty,) advice does not suit your creative style, by all means, IGNORE IT.


Lets begin with a Review...
~~~~~~~~~~~~
The flash of pain exploded in my cheek from the slap her hand lashed out at me.
-- WRONG!

Why is this wrong?​

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you were watching this scene as a movie, that sentence is NOT how you would have seen it happen.



Actual Sequence of events:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1) Her hand lashed out in a slap. [Action]
2) A flash of pain exploded in my cheek [Reaction]



ACTION Sequences = Chronological Order



REALITY = something happens to you and…you react.
Action > Reaction = Chronological order​



FICTION = the Plot happens to the characters and…they react.​


Action > Reaction = Chronological order​


If you want the reader to SEE the actions that you are trying to portray, Chronological Order is the ONLY way to write that scene. In other words, if you visualize the characters doing something in a specific order, you write it in THAT order!

Violating chronological order is a Very Bad idea. If you knock the actions out of order, the reader’s Mental Movie STOPS because the reader has to STOP READING to rearrange the sentences into the correct order to get the movie back.


Before we go on, you also need to know about the Action scene's Worst Enemy...!


The Evil Nasty Vicious "As."

In school, they teach you that "as" is a word used to connect fragments of sentences together, rather in the same way you would use “and.”

Unfortunately, “as” doesn’t quite work the same way as an “and” in fiction.

As” means; “things that happened simultaneously.”​
“And” means; “this happened too.”​

In Fiction NOTHING is truly simultaneous because the eye READS only one word at a time. The only things that can actually be counted as simultaneous in written fiction are groups of things.

Example:
All the soldiers marched.​

IMPORTANT!
~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm NOT saying that simultaneous events CAN'T be written! I’m saying that using "as" is not the way to do it. Any group of events listed in one sentence are generally perceived as happening all at the same time -- until you get to the "and". However, they should still be listed --using the Serial Comma-- so as to make the reader's VISION of the whole event crystal clear.​


As far as I'm concerned, the only place an “as” belongs is at the BEGINNING of a sentence--

As all the soldiers marched, the drums and fifes played.​

Or in a comparison.

As black as pitch.​

See?



Where “As” goes WRONG​


I consider “as” a red flag word. A word that marks that something has gone terribly wrong in your sentence structure.

What went wrong?​

In fiction, the word “as” usually marks where a sentence has gone out of Chronological Order.

Example:
The vampire scratched his head thoughtfully as he crouched over his victim.​

Think: Which actions actually happened first?

1. The vampire crouched over his victim.​
2. He scratched his head thoughtfully.​

The chronological way to write this would be:

The vampire crouched over his victim AND scratched his head thoughtfully.​

Why does this matter?​

A sentence Out of Chronological Order means that the reader has to Stop Reading to reset their mental movie of your story. That’s bad, very, very, BAD.

Do this enough times and your reader will stop reading your story to go find something easier to imagine. In fact, some readers will not only drop your story, never to read it again, they’ll avoid anything else you write.



How to Grammar Check for “as”:​

Do a Search/Replace substituting “as” for “and,” then go back and read through your entire work. If “and” doesn’t fit right in your sentence, then it’s most likely Out of Chronological Order.

Example:
The werewolf flattened his ears angrily as he faced the hunter.​

Search/Replace with "and":
The werewolf flattened his ears angrily and he faced the hunter.​

“And” doesn’t quite work there, does it?

Why not?

The werewolf didn’t flatten his ears before he faced the hunter.

So! Which actions actually happened first?
1. The werewolf faced the hunter.​
2. He was angry.​
3. He flattened his ears.​

Adjusted:
The werewolf faced the hunter and he angrily flattened his ears.​

Now the “he” doesn’t fit, so let’s chop that out.

One more time:
The werewolf faced the hunter and angrily flattened his ears.​

See what I mean? The word “As” is a devious sinister monster that should be destroyed on sight.


Now, on to the good stuff!



Writing Action Scenes​


The "Plug & Play" Method


Life is full of random events. FICTION is NOT. Every element in a story – every character, every situation, and every object, must be there for a REASON, and have a Reason to Be There. NOTHING happens “just because” – especially actions.

The Magic Formula!​

Stimulus >​

Physical Reaction >​

Sensory Reaction >​

Emotional Reaction >​

Deliberate Reaction​


This order is Very specific. You may Skip steps, but you may Not Change the Order.


1) Stimulus
-- Something happens TO the character. (Action).

2) Physical Reaction
-- The character has a knee-jerk Physical Reaction to what has just happened. (Reaction)

3) Sensation Reaction
-- The character feels Physical Sensations and physically reacts to the sensations. (Reaction)

4) Emotional Reaction
-- AND THEN they have an Emotional Reaction reflected in their thoughts and/or a comment about what had just happened. (Reaction)

5) Deliberate Reaction
-- AND THEN they Respond. They DO something about that action. (Reaction)

1) NEW Stimulus
-- External Reaction of the OTHER person or an Outside event. (Action)



The Chain of REACTIONS in DETAIL


1) Stimulus – Something Happened!​

It all begins with: Stimulus > Response, also known as Action > Reaction. Something happens, and the character reacts. It’s that simple.

Stimulus - Joe threw the dagger at Sam.​
Response – Sam ducked, and the dagger flew harmlessly past him.​

Or -- Sam was stabbed through the heart.
Or -- Sam caught it in his hand.
Or -- something of a similar, immediate response-nature.


How can something this simple get confusing?​


Consider this:
Stimulus - Joe threw the dagger at Sam.​
Response - Sam grinned. “My, what lovely weather we’re having!”​

Too many writers think the reader will assume that the dagger missed Sam. Nope. I’m afraid that many, many readers will Not make that assumption at all.

This is a Plot Hole; a missing piece to an event triggered by the obvious question: What happened to the dagger?

I’m not saying you can’t have that lovely piece of dialogue, I’m saying that you have to show the rest of the stimulus-response FIRST.

Stimulus - Joe threw the dagger at Sam.​
Response – Sam caught the dagger in his palm, raised his brow at Joe, and smiled thinly. “My, what lovely weather we’re having.”​


2) Physical Reaction – The Flinch​

Something happens. Your character reacts instinctively. They duck, they flinch, they dodge, they gasp, they choke, they pass out.

In real life, physical actions usually happen before dialogue. The finger pulls the trigger then the shooter wonders, “Oh no, what have I done?”

Most people Act then comment because physical reactions happen faster than thought. Thought happens after the fist has already shot out. Ask any cop or martial artist.

Martial artists in particular are trained to Not Think when they fight --No Mind-- specifically to make their reaction time faster.​

Thoughts that come first FREEZE physical action. Not in the literary sense, for real. Most people stop whatever action they are doing, they pause to process that thought because few people can do both at once.

Fiction should not be any different.


3) Sensation Reaction – Cold Chills​

Something just happened. What did it feel like, physically? How did they react physically to those sensations? Remember--! The Body reacts faster than the Mind!


Sensory = of the 5 physical senses​

Sense of Sight - the appearance
Sense of Sound - the melody
Sense of Taste - the flavor
Sense of Texture - the sensation
Sense of Scent - the aroma​

Sensation Reaction is what they perceived through their senses.
It smelled like--​
It looked like--​
It sounded like--​
It felt like--​
It tasted like--​

And their PHYSICAL reaction to those sensations.
"It tasted like moldy socks, and I nearly retched.”​
USE THEM.

Stimulus - Joe threw the dagger at Sam.​
Response – Sam reached out to grab the dagger. (Physical Reaction) The pommel slapped sharply into his palm, stinging his hand. (Sensation) He winced. (Reaction to sensation)


4) Emotional/Mental Reaction –“Oh, woe is me!” Internal Conflict!​

Something just happened. How did that make your character Feel Emotionally: scared, happy, angry, lustful…? These emotional feelings are reflected internally immediately after the physical sensations that wracked their bodies with unwarranted stimuli. Ahem-- After they feel the physical effects of what just happened.

Additionally, internal observations, internal dialogue, and narration happens before they make a vocal remark.

Stimulus - Joe threw the dagger at Sam.​
Response – Sam reached out to grab the dagger. The pommel slapped sharply into his palm, stinging his hand. He winced. (Internalization) He had known Joe was pissed at him, but he hadn’t thought he was that pissed.​


5) Deliberate Reaction – Retaliation!​

Something happened, your character has felt the effects, had a thought, and perhaps made a comment. So, what is your character going to do next?

A deliberate action designed for Retaliation! More commonly known as: Revenge.

Stimulus - Joe threw the dagger at Sam.​
Response – Sam reached out to grab the dagger. The pommel slapped sharply into his palm, stinging his hand. He winced. (Internalization) He had known Joe was pissed at him, but he hadn’t thought he was that pissed. (Deliberate Reaction / Stimulus – intended to get a reaction out of Joe.) He raised his brow at Joe and smiled thinly. “My, what lovely weather we’re having!”​

Just to make things confusing – Dialogue can be a Response Reaction, an Internalization, an Emotional Reaction or a Deliberate Reaction! When in doubt, always put Dialogue AFTER a physical action.



Plug & Play it!

Fill in the blank!

Stimulus > Physical Reaction > Sensation Reaction > Emotional Reaction > Deliberate Reaction​


Key:
Stimulus - Something happened​
Physical Reaction - Their body’s immediate physical reaction​
Sensation Reaction - The physical sensations and their effects​
Emotional Reaction - What they thought about what was happening​
Deliberate Reaction - How they responded​
NEW Stimulus - What happened next.​
-- In this order.​
https://i.makeagif.com/media/7-07-2015/Sns5mn.gif
View attachment 9714
(Stupid gif won't load. Click to see the action.)

External / something HAPPENED​

1) Stimulus - Physical Action / Action, dialogue or both

Will Turner stabbed his sword toward Jack Sparrow.​

Viewpoint Character’s Reaction:​

2) Response - Physical Reaction / Did they jump? Flinch? Catch the flying object?

Jack twisted to intercept the oncoming blade with his blade, rather than his body.​

3) Response - Sensation Reaction / The physical sensations and their effects.

The swords impacted with a jarring ring.​

4) Response – Emotional Reaction / Internal or Vocal Comment reflecting what they thought about what was happening.

“Will, this isn’t the brightest idea in the world. I don’t know if you noticed, but there are a bunch of cutthroat pirates in the next cave?”​

5) Response – Deliberate Reaction / What they did or said in retaliation.

He slid his sword up Will’s blade, waggled his brows, and smiled.​


External Reaction of the OTHER person or an Outside event:​

1) NEW Stimulus - Physical Action/Action or dialogue or Action & then Dialogue.

Will flinched back and scowled. “I don’t care! I want to rescue her now!”​

On the Page...


Will Turner lunged, stabbing his sword toward Jack Sparrow.

Jack twisted to intercept the oncoming blade with his blade, rather than his body. The swords impacted with a jarring ring. “Will this isn’t the brightest idea in the world. I don’t know if you noticed, but there are a bunch of cutthroat pirates in the next cave?” He slid his sword up Will’s blade and smiled.

Will flinched back and scowled. “I don’t care. I want to rescue her now!”



Don't Forget:

Separate each character’s actions from the other characters. *
NO SHARING. Characters Do NOT share Sentences or Paragraphs ever! Put each individual characters' Actions and the Dialogue that goes with those actions in their own Paragraph. Having two people doing stuff in one paragraph makes the Reader's visuals muddy. The Reader's mental movie --your story-- comes to a screeching halt while they try to figure out what the hell just happened.​

ACTION always goes BEFORE Thoughts & Comments. **
The body reacts faster than commentary thoughts. Ask any martial artist. A REACTIONARY Comment: "Ouch!" Can go first because it plays the part of an ACTION, rather than a thought.​

ONE Point of View Only for an entire Scene! (Especially Beginners!) **
POV switching happen when you change scenes. No Head-hopping! It gets really confusing as to who is doing and feeling what if two people or more are all thinking a feeling in one scene. Pick a POV character and stick with it for the whole scene.​

Use crap-loads of Adjectives to describe sensations. ***
Description thrives on purple prose! Make every adjective highly opinionated to get the reader right into the action as though they are experiencing it.​

*Refer to: The Secret to Proper Paragraphing and Dialogue
**Refer to: The Trick to Writing Action Scenes that Work
***Refer to: Is Description Really Needed? YES.


In Conclusion:​

After figuring all this out the hard way, I discovered that this whole routine (Action > Reaction) is explained in exquisite detail in: Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham. Google is your friend.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Want to read my other Writing tutorials?

Enjoy!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Holly fuck this helps so much. I feel dumb now! Then again, feeling dumb looking back is a natural part of progressing
 

OokamiKasumi

Author of Quality Smut
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
177
Points
58
Holy fuck this helps so much. I feel dumb now! Then again, feeling dumb looking back is a natural part of progressing
There is no reason to feel dumb. It took me literal years to figure all this out.
-- You would not believe how many writing books I read or tutorials I scoured on the 'net to even catch a clue to how this works.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

KoyukiMegumi

Kitty
Joined
Jun 11, 2021
Messages
896
Points
108
The magic of the word as. It does wonders but can also become repetitive when not used right. Thank you for the tutorials! :blob_aww:
 

OokamiKasumi

Author of Quality Smut
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
177
Points
58
The magic of the word as. It does wonders but can also become repetitive when not used right. Thank you for the tutorials! :blob_aww:
You're welcome. I hope they prove helpful.

More like the Curse of the word "As".
-- That nasty piece of crap still sneaks into my work if I don't pay attention! 💀
 

Biggest-Kusa-Out-There

Futanari Enjoyer
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
334
Points
78
(Will keep it shor cause my wrist is kinda bad atm)
As a person who learned English as a third language, "As" was taught differently to me.
In Spanish, "como", the comparative word similar to "like" (Como dos gotas de agua = Like two drops of water), serves a similar function.
"Mientras", however, is the "as" we're taught to use when two things happen closely followed by each other, so it's a bane as well. Didn't know it plagued English native people, too.
 

OokamiKasumi

Author of Quality Smut
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
177
Points
58
(Will keep it short cause my wrist is kinda bad atm)
As a person who learned English as a third language, "As" was taught differently to me.
In Spanish, "como", the comparative word similar to "like" (Como dos gotas de agua = Like two drops of water), serves a similar function.
"Mientras", however, is the "as" we're taught to use when two things happen closely followed by each other, so it's a bane as well. Didn't know it plagued English native people, too.
Oh gods... That damned "as" haunts me.
-- The problem with it stems from the fact that "As" is used extensively in Journalistic writing; newspapers, magazines, and advertisements, which is the way we're taught to write in school.

Ever notice that we're taught how to write a book report long before they let us write a simple story? It's a Conspiracy, I tell you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks for all those tips!
You're very welcome! I hope they prove helpful. ☕
 
Joined
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I feel like my past writing attempt was personally attacked in this tutorial. Good thing that after a day of sleeping on it. I do agree that beating that thing to death was a correct choice. This is extremely helpful and seeing these tutorials always motivates me to write more!
 

BenJepheneT

Glassworks - Philip Glass Ensemble
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one of the things i would disagree with is the usage of as, or and, along with many other things. I would try to link the two together as I elaborate.

it's probably because I have a drastically different taste when it comes to action, or descriptions in general, but I believe that conjunctions, IN GENERAL, are VERY hit or miss. they either make the mark or lose it so bad that it cripples the entire flow/enjoyment of the story like cerebral palsy. if I have to equate it to anything, it's like masturbation. one bad wrench thrown inside the wanking session, you lose the boner. conversely, if that one extra factor isn't used during the session, you lose the boner. there's no one true way to use as or and. i disagree with what you said with as. one big way this can be used is during the reaction.

tears broke out from his eyes like a demolished dam as the sound of a vicious crack from his nose deafened his ears from within.

as I disclaimed beforehand, I probably have a different taste in action. you may read this sentence as heavy and unwieldy but for me, it captures the state of the reaction. it's an onslaught of pain and sudden sharp senses that renders the receiver groggy and unfocused. just as you're trudging through the sentence, so is the character. with the conjunctions as you can effectively render that chain of internal reactions as it would be shown when it actually happens. you even say so yourself:

A sentence Out of Chronological Order means that the reader has to Stop Reading to reset their mental movie of your story.

i will reiterate again: this is of personal taste, but the fact that I'd be compelled to go back and read the sentence again plays with the intended effect. a character just got blasted in the face. he's gonna wanna try and regain his head and catch what just happened. if the reader catches it on the first go, then all is well.

going forward with the as and the and, it is of my personal belief that action should be delivered in the driest and most straightforward way possible, to the point where the prose can be considered skeletal. no flowery words; to the point with the most obvious of adjectives. what I see most books fail in terms of action is to immerse the reader into said action, and by immerse i mean REALLY immerse. sure, they show the pain and the colours but they don't effectively present the pace, or the timing, or the split-second decision making, or the climbing fatigue that comes with it. they want to achieve the best description so much so that they don't realize that it's the pacing/dynamic of the fight that makes the scene. i don't care about how violent the spurt of blood is; what i want to see is how the victim deals with it, and how fast will they do so.

the and's and as's are what kills the pacing for me, along with but's and therefore's and so on and so forth. it turns a fast-paced, one-two hit-dodge fight into a god damn transcript with flairs. a fight scene needs quick sentences. cleans cuts. only full stops and commas in between. that's it.

what most fight scenes come off to me goes like this:

John and Max stood in the wet alleyway, facing off one another. John snatched his fists and brought them next to his head, shielding his face with his forearm. Max simply lowered his neck down to his shoulders, resting his loose hands next to his thighs. None moved for what seemed like a minute. Their breaths began to mix with the surrounding, stale air, tasting like the rotting trash infesting the sides.

Then a light breeze came, blowing against the two.

John lobbed a straight punch right at Max. The ridges between his knuckles streaked past the air and swung into a head-on collision with Max's face.

But Max, in a split second, flailed his arms up and grabbed John's wrist just as they reached his line of sight. He grasped onto his wrist, clasping it tightly in his palms with John's knuckles bare inches from his face.

John was caught off guard by this. He felt his shoulders jolt from the inertia. He struggled to pull his fists out of Max's grip with a wincing face, but his efforts were in vain. All they amounted to were slight futile nudges.

Max took in a deep breath and, in one burst of strength, twisted John's wrists as if he was wringing a towel. A vicious crack snapped into the soundscape. John felt the sensation of having his forearms torn in two seared into his nerves as his agonizing scream filled the air.

I'm no good writer, but i believe I've made a competent one-two action. i can see what's going on, but, and i mean this unironically, i don't feel it. the descriptions are there but there's no impact. it's like watching a slow-mo fast-cut of a CGI-heavy action movie.

i will reiterate; this is heavily skewed in personal taste, but if I had to edit the aforementioned fight scene, I'll come up with this:

John and Max stood in the wet alleyway, facing off one another. John snatched his fists and brought them next to his head, shielding his face with his forearm. Max simply lowered his neck down to his shoulders, resting his loose hands next to his thighs. None moved for what seemed like a minute. Their breaths began to mix with the surrounding, stale air, tasting like the rotting trash infesting the sides.

Then a light breeze came, blowing against the two.

John lobbed a straight punch right at Max.

In a split second, Max flailed his arms up. He grabbed onto John's wrists, his knuckles bare inches from his face.

John was caught off guard. He felt his shoulders jolt from the sudden inertia. He struggled to pull his fists out of Max's grip. All they amounted to were slight futile nudges.

Max took in a deep breath and, in one burst of strength, twisted John's wrists as if he was wringing a towel. A vicious crack snapped into the soundscape. John felt the sensation of having his forearms torn in two seared into his nerves as his agonizing scream filled the air.

i haven't done much to change it, but i believe I've made it somewhat more effective. i left out the starting description as it would signify the passage of time as the reader proceeds, in order to juxtapose the following action with its length. during John's punch and max's grasp on john's wrist and everything in between, I've cut it entirely. everything that happened there is fast and snappy. all that's needed to be conveyed is immediate action.

after that, i loosen up with the pacing. i let small details leak into the action of max grabbing john's arm and tightening his grip as it wasn't as quick as the thrown punch. as for john's reaction, i let it play out but in moderation in order to have the struggle set in. i still omitted some details, so that i can convey the desperation of John getting his arm the fuck out of there ASAP along with maintaining the pacing.

then comes the deal-breaker, where i make max break john's wrists in full. i let the ENTIRE thing play out, description, reaction and all. THIS is the climax of said fight, and i want it to burn into the reader's eyes. this is the peak of the dynamic where max triumps over john. the struggle is no more; only victory and defeat. it is only then when i let the whole description play out.

pacing, dynamic, and sentence structure is the key. fast actions and quick decisions require snappy sentences. no cuts in between or combinations. everything is as dry and straightforward as it gets. that's what i believe makes a good action scene. the journey to get there is crucial, yes, but it should also be efficient. the impact lies in brevity. DO NOT allow the punches to linger. if there's a reaction you want to convey, strip it down to its bare essentials. he winced in pain. he looked in surprise. she cried in rage. that's it. no looking into the moon cursing your entire family lineage and dooming you to eternal erectile dysfunction.

here's my personal rule of thumb for action, at least those i can list at the top of my head in the moment:

1. pace your fight. don't just focus on the choreography. find the right timing for each punch and kick so that it won't feel like a boring constant. have adequate stand-off and blow-exchanging moments. an ideal circumstance would be a one-two standoff, one-two standoff. if you want to look for references, search up MMA cage fights, or street cage fights in general. most fights boil down to two-three punches. any longer and you'll have a mudfight instead; where both parties are so puffed out that they end up struggling on the ground trying to gain upper dominance in a headlock, leglock, etc.

2. do not let your fights go stale. have the dynamic switch constantly, but not too much. once or twice is enough. three or four times is pushing it. five is when it gets convoluted and confusing. let characters gain upper hands and have them share that moment. it is how you keep the fight on tippy toes. instead of a battle where everyone is simultaneously on the offence/defence, have one turtle down before giving that decisive blow that turns the tide. and make sure the dynamic lingers enough to at least fill half a page so that the switch feels meaningful.

3. descriptions should only be relegated to down moments. remember: descriptions paint the picture. you're not here to do that. you've already painted the characters and the locale. all you need to do is convey the action. don't tell me how the blood spurts, tell me when and that's it, that's all i need to know. I'm here to feel the impact, not to be told about it.

3.5.1. an exception to this rule is during a decisive punch or a decisive moment. remember when i said that you should change a dynamic of a fight? use said length to convey its importance. this is the one move that switches the underdog to the victor. put descriptive importance to signify its use. conversely, you can also just describe that decisive punch as usual, with no more than a bare mention. the readers may be thrown off a loop but if the risk plays off, readers may be able to experience that whiplash of a juxtaposition, where the readers are as surprised as the opponent when the character turns the tide of the fight. make sure you leave clues and signify an oncoming switch like He curled his arms in a defensive position. or He kept his fist to his chest. or He turned his back onto him. Things like these help sell important strikes and reward attentive readers, enticing them to keep paying attention to your narrative.

3.5.2. another exception to this rule is when the fight has reached a constant. this is when a character truly has the other guy pinned and is just lashing out at him with a flurry of moves. you cant just say He punched him. He punched him. He punched him. several times in a row. this is when you can expand it. describe the overwhelming tidal wave of assaults. describe how turtle'd the opponent has become. describe how fucked up the guy is to overwhelmingly fuck the other guy. describe how fucked the other guy is. convey that dynamic with length. this coincides with point 4.

4. sentence length is KEY. how fast an action is conveyed is, believe it or not, mostly entirely up to how LONG the action is conveyed, or rather, how short. a quick, blinding punch would be He jabbed him in the face. while a charged up punch would sound like He lobbed a fist straight at his face. you can also cut the reactions short to convey how drastic the scene is to the point where the characters only have a split second to react before the next move comes.



as I've said, this all comes down to personal taste. to me, fight scenes in books have way too much flair and focus on the impact and punches without considering the weight in which they're conveyed, and how they can substitute visual and auditory stimulations with length and by utilizing the readers' focus/reading time. writers are ALWAYS at a disadvantage when it comes to action. instead of trying to make up with our descriptive strength, we should use our straightforward simplicity and convey the impact with efficiency.
 

OokamiKasumi

Author of Quality Smut
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
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tl;dr but the slapping gif is pretty nice
I think it's funny how she bounces up on her toes to slap the woman with the hat.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
I feel like my past writing attempt was personally attacked in this tutorial. Good thing that after a day of sleeping on it. I do agree that beating that thing to death was a correct choice. This is extremely helpful and seeing these tutorials always motivates me to write more!
Yes, I'm a big horrible meanie.
-- I'm thrilled I could inspire you to write more!

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