I’m all set to start chapter 17 today in my current fantasy project. I’m a little intimidated, which is why I’m writing this post first, to kind of warm-up a little before diving in.
I’m really good at writing exposition. I can describe things all day. But action scenes give me a bit more difficulty. I have to think more about how people move and how the dialogue flows. There’s so much to consider when writing action scenes, and yet, many times that’s what keeps people reading and makes them want more.
I try to fit a little bit of action into each chapter, to keep the pace up and keep the story moving. But chapter 17, at least the way I envision it at the moment, is going to be pretty much all action, for the entire thing. A lot of things need to happen. Callum needs to face the antagonist again, and it’s going to be harder this time. He’s going to lose, and the antagonist is going to punish him for his interference. The antagonist is also going to kill off his old mentor, which needs action and emotion all rolled into one.
I don’t know how much space all of that is going to take up. After this, Callum will need to free himself from whatever the antagonist does to him (I haven’t quite decided what that is yet), and whatever he does will require more action scenes. That may end up in this chapter, or it may get pushed into chapter 18. We’ll see how it goes.
The point being, I get nervous before writing action scenes. They’re harder for me, and I never feel like I do justice to the scene that’s playing out in my head. Intense chapters, whether they’re action-packed or steeped in emotion, make it feel like the stakes are higher this time. It’s the curse of a writer to be always infected with self-doubt. No matter what we do, it never feels like it’s good enough. Even when you think it’s good, you may look at it tomorrow and decide it’s garbage. It’s just what we do.
So, once more, into the trenches! On to chapter 17, and the action scenes awaiting me.
Talk to me in the comments. What scenes do you find more difficult to write than others? How do you make it through them?