Tag Archives: action

How To Screw Up an Action Scene

by Diane Holmes, (a) Chief Alchemist of Pitch University, (b) lover of learning, and (c) writer of fiction, non-fiction, and the occasional manifesto.

As a thriller writer, I love me a good action scene.


In fact, there are no thrills without something actually happening.  Color me obvious, but a lot of writers don’t link these two concepts together.

Thrills without something happening?  How would that work?

So, this is the first part of an occasional series about how writers screw up their action scenes and what to do to fix them.

Today I want to focus on the order of your action.  This is something more than story, plot, or scenes.  It’s how you break story information up into little pieces to give the reader an adrenaline rush.

And how you can screw this up.

It’s all about “Visual Grammar”

OpenCulture’s recent post The Dark Knight: Anatomy of a Flawed Action Scene, features a brilliant breakdown of action-scene failure by film critic Jim Emerson.

Read it.  Watch it.  Master it.

Even novelists must master how to create a movie in the reader’s head.

The danger of “The Storyteller Cut”

One of my favorite fiction experts is Terry Rossio.  And of all his brilliant articles (on his site and available free), I find myself recommending The Storyteller Cut over and over, even to advanced writers.

Okay, especially to advanced writers.  Sometimes this is the only thing holding an advanced writer back.

I truly believe that understanding the pitfalls of this type of storytelling can save your novel, script, or stageplay.

Okay, that’s it this time!

clip_image004Diane writes two alternating columns for Freelance-Zone:Fiction-Zone: Leaps in Fiction Mastery and Marketing-Zone:Marketing-Zone: Marketing Yourself and Your Book.