Monday, January 30, 2012


The black keys sit beneath outstretched fingers, white letters mocking in their tiny square borders. Micro muscles pull the phalanges in tiny jerks and spasms of anticipation. Pull, relax, pull, relax, a dance of contraction.
The fingertips gently stroke across the keys in a wave of language. The response is immediate. One tentative word splashed across the white screen. The fingers pull back, waiting for the eyes to catch up.
The mind clicks. Unspoken orders fly through nerves, setting them on fire. The fingers react with flash and fury. Dive forward. Strike. Pull back. Strike again. Pressing harder each time, driving down, trying to push the mocking letters through the other side.
The fingers dance around each other, circling with purpose. Darting in and out, barely missing each other. Words spill out across the screen like blood on ice. Stark and quick, laid out in an ever growing puddle of hot, sticky language. The keys cry out, clacking for mercy, but no mercy will be given. Not this time. Not now. Not until the final word is torn from them and left lying among its fallen brothers.
Okay, that may have been a bit of a gimmick and I'm not going to obsess over that. LOL.
I LOVE action scenes. I love writing them and I love reading them. Hell, I love watching them on tv too. When I am writing the Deacon Chalk series I find that if I go too long in writing without an action scene I start to get antsy. I begin to go back and count to make sure that not too much time has passed without one.
But action can be hard to write. You have to find the rhythm of it, the ebb and the flow that makes it exciting and not a hot mess a reader has to wade through.
But I find that I can tell a lot about the character in how they react to a fight. You never really know how you are going to react to a violent situation until you are put in it. Reading about a character the first time they have to make the choice to fight for something they want is a great way to know them. Action scenes lay the character out to their most basic desires, giving us insight into the things that matter most to them. Do they fight to save others? Are they trying to save their own skin? Are they just being cruel to someone weaker than them? What is the one thing they are willing to not only risk themselves for, but also to hurt someone else for?

It can get deep quickly in an action scene. See, my fingers are willing to hurt the keys in order to get words done. They are merciless in this pursuit, uncaring of how much the keys protest. Their clicking and clacking falls on the deaf ears of my fingers as they continue to pound away.

So what does this say about my fingers?

(Okay, this post officially got weird.)

So, dear reader, do you love action scenes and if so why? Are they just mind candy with all the pretty explosions, or do you look for the depths of the character in them?


  1. I love writing action scenes, too! But then, I write action thrillers! I love to put my characters into tight spots, under intense time pressure, to see how they will react--and they often surprise me! And they often get bloody!

    Brian January

  2. Nothing wrong with mind candy, too.