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I recently just finished my third novel. I usually write young adult fiction that falls into the action-adventure genre. After I wrote my last fast-paced action scene I shared it with a group of writers I know from a Facebook group. I quickly learned that not a lot of writers knew how to write fast-paced scenes.
Story writing is something that has always come naturally to me. I have always been good at the story part, but the grammar and spelling came later. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am the typo queen. We can’t all be masters of everything.
I have realized that what I am good at though doesn’t always come easily to others. If you found this blog post then you are probably one of those people. And that is okay. I want to help other writers in any way that I can. Out of all the things I am in life, a writer is the most important to me.
I have read my fast-paced scenes many times and have determined what makes one good. Sometimes as writers we get so into the moment that we have to dissect our own work to see what makes it work. I have to say this is not healthy for any writer. Once you start dissecting your own work, you might discover things about yourself you didn’t want to know.
Never the less, I did just that for all of you. I read my work many times and concluded just when the scene pulls me into that my heart starts racing and my palms start sweating. Writing fast-paced scenes can be difficult, but hopefully, these story writing tips will help you along the way.
Know When They Are Needed
Before we get into actually writing the scene, let’s talk about knowing when they are needed. If you don’t place them in the right spot, then all the hard work you put into them is worthless. For me, this is easy to know.
Like I said before I write a lot of action adventure. My fast-paced scenes are usually scenes where one person is fighting for their life, but I have also written flashbacks that require a little speed up as well.
The easiest way to determine if you need a fast-paced scene is to ask yourself if this part of the book is going to change things. If the answer is no, then move on. The moment isn’t right. It is also worth noting that if it feels forced, then it isn’t the time either.
How Much Detail To Give
Detail is very important to storytelling, but only the right amount of detail. When you are talking a setting or a person for the new time it always important to focus on how things look and feel. Fast-paced scenes are not like that. You want the reader to read it faster and be taken into the story. If they are focused on all the colors on a person’s shirt that will never happen.
Think about a time you had something exciting or tragic happen to you. Did you focus on what you were seeing or what you were feeling? The answer is different for everyone, but usually only one of these senses takes over.
In my flashbacks, I usually focus on sight. I give enough details so the reader can easily read the words quickly, but make it clear what sense has taken over. In my action scenes I focus on what is being felt. I am not talking about emotions, but actual touch. Instead of describing how red the blood is I talk about how hot and sticky it feels.
The point here is to pick one sense and go with it. This doesn’t mean you have to completely ignore the other senses, it just means that one is going to take the show.
This one can be the trickiest when writing fast-paced scenes. Because you want it to be read fast and have the reader feeling as if they are there, you don’t want to use a lot of pauses. Instead, you want to hit at certain things.
For an example, I wrote a novel was a chapter ended with a fast-paced scene. I hinted that the main character might have died. These are the little details that build suspense without losing the reader.
Read It Over To Yourself
I am not talking about just reading it once. Read it over and over again until you just can’t see the words anymore. If it doesn’t draw you into the moment then write it again. Anything worth a damn takes time to perfect. It is okay if you don’t get it right the first time.
I know story writing doesn’t come easy for everyone. It took me years to get to a point that I was comfortable with my writing. I still consider my first novel not ready for the public, even though I love the main character. It is okay if you aren’t the master at everything. Your time will come.