How to increase pace and write action scenes

editor/publisher by CommuterLit

Copyright is held by the author.

To increase pace, tension and suspense, try these structural techniques:

• eliminate as much backstory as possible — remember backstory slows the pace

• jump cut back and forth from different points of view or scenes (a shot of the oncoming train, a shot of the damsel tied to the tracks, back to the train now closer, back to the hero trying to free the damsel)

• keep scenes and/or chapters short

• let readers know something your protagonist doesn’t

• prolong outcomes for your characters by continually putting obstacles in their way

• and craft cliffhanger chapter endings.

How to write action scenes
Trying to write a do-or-die action sequence that leaves your readers breathless, shocked and wanting more? To increase pace, tension and suspense use:

• short paragraphs and sentences (or fragments)
• the active voice
• concrete words and onomatopoeia
• crisp and punchy verbs
• harsh consonant sounds
• and pared down speech;

and limit:
• reactions
• dialogue attributions
• descriptions (except for the most telling details)
• prepositional phrases
• and linking verbs.

You can also increase pace and tension through structural choices — which I’ll cover next time.