Showing Not Telling: Action

Friday, April 16

Sometimes we all get so caught up in the showing not telling rule that we become obsessed with it and reject anything that doesn't hold true.
There are exceptions. Action scenes are one of them.

Several aspiring writers I've talked to all claim they're terrible at writing an interesting action scene. When I ask why, most shrug and say that they just don't "have the knack for it."
What I've discovered is that most fear telling too much.

When writing an action scene, feel free to tell. It's dastardly difficult to show all the time; impossible in some cases.
Let's examine an action scene;

Max yelped. The bullet had hit him. He stumbled. He clutched his shoulder and ran. More shots echoed from behind. One narrowly missed his heel and sent sparks flying from the concrete. Max dove to the side and under an overturned car. He fumbled with his own gun and tried to take of the safety with one hand. Another shot slammed into the vehicle above his head. Max ducked.

Now let's try to add some showing to the scene;

Max yelped as hot lead seared his flesh. He stumbled, using the hand not clutching his shoulder to stop his fall. More shots echoed from behind, forcing him into a run. Sparks flew up from the concrete as a bullet narrowly missed his heel. Max dove to the side and under an overturned car. His free hand fumbled to take his own gun off safety. Max ducked as another shot slammed into the vehicle.

If you'll notice, not every sentence is showing. But there's enough sprinkling of it to make it interesting while maintaining the pace.

7 comment(s):

Shaynie Friday, April 16, 2010  

Wow! Great post. I struggle with this a lot in my writing.

Milli Friday, April 16, 2010  

Great post! You have no idea how much your blog has helped me throught writing troubles.

Story Weaver Saturday, April 17, 2010  

Wow, thanks guys. *blush* Keep writing. :)

Guinevere Amoureaux Saturday, April 17, 2010  

Ooh, I love your blog! This one was especially helpful!:D

Story Weaver Tuesday, April 20, 2010  

Glad to hear it Guinevere.

Koala Bear Writer Friday, April 23, 2010  

I think like any rule, a writer has to know when to apply it. :) Reading writers who are good at showing and telling helps. There's definately a time for telling, but showing helps get the reader into the scene and the main character's head.

Toys Exporters Thursday, December 01, 2016  

It is very interesting that do not to show but tell story very clearly that the second person can have perfect image in his mind. Only some people can do it in good and easy way as people can do essays writer in easy way. People should go for these extra activities to give more improvement to their writing sense.

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