Tuesday 1 April 2014

A is for Action and Adventure

Hey! Follow me this month as I work through the alphabet of great writing tips, from creating ACTION to getting into the ZONE. Then, go here to see who else is taking part in the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

*      *      *

“A” is for ACTION and ADVENTURE—my favourite kinds of movies and books. Whether it’s Superman or Harry Potter, I like stories that MOVE!

But, sometimes I have trouble writing my own action adventures.

It’s not the plot that gives me the most trouble, though. It’s the actions sequencing — how to move the characters during a fight or chase scene.

Here are some tips I’ve learned:

  1. Act out the scene where possible. I’m not saying you should challenge your little sister to a sword dual, but you could act that out with pool noodles. Pay attention to body movements and reactions so you can describe them later.
  2. Keep descriptions short. Action scenes are not the place for long drawn-out descriptions of the characters and the setting. Save that for the rest of the story and use this scene to focus on the action. Use short, choppy sentences.
  3. Use active verbs. Find the words that convey energy and focus — slammed, crashed, burst, careened, wheeled, sped, etc. 
  4. No monologues, please. Unless you’re aiming for humour and not action, keep the dialogue short. It’s hard for most people to talk when they’re running from the bad guys or fending off the enemy. 
  5. Learn from other writers. When you read action adventure books, pay attention to how sentences are constructed, the kinds of words used, and the descriptions of people, places and things. 

AMELIA XERCES DUFFY, the fifth book in the Chase Superman Duffy adventure series is an action adventure about a young entomologist who finds herself outrunning insects of unusual sizes. You can contact the Alberta Canola Producers Commission at www.learncanola.com to find out how to order YOUR copy.

Gotta jet! See you on the “B” side tomorrow.

— Chase Superman Duffy

P.S. – A is also for ADVERBS. Try to avoid them in your writing, especially the ones that end on “ly.” Often a strong verb will do. For example, it’s fine for your character to walk softly…but it’s more powerful if he CREPT.


  1. Hi Chase, and welcome to the A to Z Challenge! Chase is a cool name and the name of my main character in my books. Best wishes to you and your friends adventures!

  2. Those are great pointers! For some reason I never thought of physically acting out the action I'm writing. That seems like a great way to get details. Thanks for the tip and for a very lively blog. Happy April!

    1. I'm glad one of the tips sparked something for you! Thanks for stopping by. Happy April, indeed.

  3. Glad to see your back into the A-Z challenge, Chase! Looking forward to more!!!

    1. Thanks, Rocky. I'll be by your blog a lot - can't wait to see what movies you profile throughout the challenge.