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Intro Music by Fretts!

Our intro and our outro music is Your Government Loves You and Wants You to be Happy, by Fretts! If you love it as much as we do, you can find more beautiful music at fretts.bandcamp.com!

It’s Time to Take Action!

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What We’re Drinking:

We’re drinking Briny Melon Gose from the Anderson Valley Brewing Company. This is another sour beer, and it’s not my favorite that we’ve had, but I kind of love all sour beers, so most of two thumbs up from me.

What We’re Saying:

Action scenes.  Action scenes are super important in your writing. They’re one of the most common means of regulating tension, especially in pop fiction. Classics, by which I mean old books and not necessarily good ones, though some of them are, often use different methods to regulate tension, and particularly modern writing set in the modern day we have so many more options in terms of action scenes than we might have once had.

Not every book you write is going to have violence in it, and not all books will have what is typically thought of as an action scene. For books that have action, the tension can get too high when you’re reading action scene after action scene after action scene, and it can create a great deal of discomfort in the reader.

So the use of action in your book can be to increase the tension, or to provide a resolution to existing tension.

When you’re writing an action scene, it’s important to keep realism in mind. Anything that doesn’t feel real to the reader can bring them out of the narrative.

When your character’s injuries disappear or don’t seem to have any impact on your character’s ability to move around and continue to fight, that robs action scenes and fight scenes of their drama. I hate to see writers shoot themselves in the foot by blunting their own tools.

Additionally head injuries particularly are spectacularly downplayed in modern fiction. I suffered a head injury that resulted in a skull fracture, a moderate concussion, and six months of recovery, and it did not result in my losing consciousness. Now of course a lot of this depends on how the head is hit and where the head is hit, but if your character gets knocked out, they’re injured. They’re potentially badly injured.

So you’ll want to do some research when writing action. There’s lots of medical resources online for various injuries, and your local MMA group, or Marital Arts school, or SCA club, will probably let you watch.

Also, James recommends the book Violence: A Writer’s Guide by Rory A Miller. Also? Your friends on social media have hidden competencies. Some of them might know about firearms, some of them might be former police officers or soldiers. Even something as common as being punched in the face might be something that you can assume feels one way but that actually feels another way.

There’s changes in how a character in an emergency situation perceives the passage of time, and there’s a change in what the character is most focused on. So keeping in mind that narrowing of the vision can help you write scenes that are really compelling.

We all think about heroes as being without fear, but nobody is entirely without fear.

Action scenes are fun, tight writing is important in writing them. Short, punchy sentences tend to be most effective in communicating a fast pace and a sense of urgency. There are other ways to play with the perception of time in these scenes that are very useful, and you can learn a lot of that from reading good action scenes.

And on a final note, violence changes your character. The experience of violence is a traumatic experience. Different characters will respond to this trauma differently, but they will have to deal with it.

 

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