Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Like Batman on a Unicorn

Hey folks, our Hump Day Word Whore Linda had a bit of an emergency and won't be posting today. Don't worry - I hear she'll fight her way out of that vampire den eventually. In the meantime, please welcome guest poster Christine d'Abo!

Why hello there! The Word Whores were kind enough to let me snap-kick my way into their action week! That’s right, the coffee queen knows a thing or two about action. A little wine, a few candles. I hone in on my man in a slinky little number, showing off (what little) cleavage, doing my best to entice him into my—

(Jeffe leans in to whisper)

Yes…It’s not…oh…so I have to… get dressed?…OH! Action scenes. Gotcha!

I’m actually a big fan of action scenes. I know several others this week have compared them to sex scenes and how some people tend to like one over the other. For me, I feel they are both critical in giving us a feeling of who our characters are. The way a character handles situations in a physical manner is usually an indicator of their emotional state.

And sex is similar to fighting in so many ways. The grunting. Sweating. Nakedness.

Or is that just me?

The best part of an action scene has to be the emotional cues we get from the characters involved in the action. It’s one thing to fight an opponent with an axe/blade/gun/fists and come out the winner. It’s something completely different when that character is also fighting their inner turmoil. Each step or swing becomes a deeper battle where they must fight off their personal demons, while making sure they don’t die. Lots to handle.

I write both futuristics and contemporary erotic romance. I tend to use action scenes in both, though in very different ways. Futuristics are easier to incorporate in many ways. The fights can be bigger, the emotional stakes for the characters deeper, all while they get to screw in zero-g. It’s good times.

But I find the action sequences in my contemporaries to be more challenging (and in the end) more satisfying to write. They tend to be smaller in duration, the emotional stakes a lot higher. There is more action foreplay, or the taunting that leads a character to take that first punch/pull the trigger/jump out the window. It makes that first action scene almost as sexy as the first sex scene.

A good action scene will leave you questioning not only the physical safety of the characters, but also the emotional security. We need to keep reading to know that everything is going to work out in the end, and with luck, get to see the characters kick some major ass.

A bad action scene will feel like Batman on a unicorn. Pretty damn useless.

Multipublished author Christine d'Abo loves exploring the human condition through a romantic lens. She takes her characters on fantastical journeys that change their hearts and expand their minds. A self-professed sci-fi junkie, Christine can often be found chatting about her favorite shows and movies. When she's not writing, she can be found chasing after her children, dogs or husband.

Christine is published with Carina Press, Ellora's Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and Berkley Heat. Please visit her at and come chat with her at Twitter Christine_dAbo.


  1. Thanks for jumping in, Christine! You have a great point about using the action scene to build sexual tension, too. Something *I* can understand. I'm totally going to trying thinking about it that way.

  2. Personally, I think Batman on a unicorn would be about the most epic thing ever, but that's probably just me. :)

  3. Ha, Allison! I told Christine you'd love that.

  4. I'm thrilled to have been able to help out!

    And Allison, there is a certain amount of epicness that is Batman on a unicorn. I like to think that the unicorn is a robot, with laser-frickin-eyes.

  5. Action scenes that drag on too long lose my interest pretty quickly. Sex scenes that drag on and on? Isn't that porn?

  6. Great post! Batman on a unicorn! Where the hell does he fit that in his utility belt? lol.

  7. Perhaps it's inflatable, Tuck?

    Rebecca has a good point - both action and sex scenes that go on too long are ones that have lost the thread of the story and are just there for, well, getting you off.