Story Bite #15: Writing Action (Part 2)

In our last Story Bite, we wrote an action scene. We focused exclusively on the path and the obstacles facing our character, but mostly the journey itself. Those scenes are fun to write. For many authors, they just flow onto the page: We’re narrating what’s going on and that’s often not too hard to write about.

But here’s something to think about: A really good action scene isn’t just the action but the feeling behind the action. It reflects why the action is happening in the first place. It includes the stakes (why it matters that the character reaches the end of the action). If you keep that in mind when you’re revising, you can add a whole extra layer to the scene.

Here’s your picture for this post: a close-up of tower of Abbotsford, the house that’s the destination for your character’s action scene.

Photo: Diane Magras

For this Story Bite: Take the action scene you wrote before (Story Bite #14).

Ask yourself: Why is it important for my character to reach the house? What will happen if they don’t?

Look for places to add a few lines to show that. It can be your character thinking about why it matters, and despairing when things start looking bad.

Here are a couple of examples of the kinds of lines I might use for my action scene:

“I have to reach the house, I thought. My family needs me. I dodged the cat’s next blow, my heart almost still.”

“The noisy machine was too close. In seconds, it would eat me. I would never see my mother again. But it was hopefully. I could never pass the green with that metallic beast.”

You may have guessed this by now, but this Story Bite is all about revision. I hope it will help you find ways to make your writing even richer and more emotionally powerful than before with just a few lines.

Further Directions:

If you’d like to share this revised Story Bite with me, please submit it through your teacher or with your school email address or home email address and include: your first name, grade, school’s name (or “homeschooled”), town, and state.

Teachers: if your make story bites part of a lesson, please let me know how it went. And share them! I’d love to see your students’ work.

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