It feels a bit strange posting writing advice into the void given the events of the past week, but since many of you are likely channeling your emotions into writing these days, I wanted to write a quick tip about action.
I often see a peculiar writing tic where writers rush and put the dramatic effect of an action before the actual action.
Tires squealing, Nathan peeled out of the driveway.
The arrow found its mark when Nathan released the bowstring.
I find these backwards descriptions of action really disorienting.
Channel your inner Isaac Newton: action, then reaction. The action is that Nathan peeled out of the driveway, the effect is that the tires squealed. Nathan fired the arrow, then it found its mark
Nathan peeled out of the driveway, tires squealing.
Nathan released the bowstring. The arrow found its mark.
If you describe things in order the reader will absorb what’s happening and won’t feel a momentary pang of disorientation.
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Art: Pelagio Palagi – Newton’s Discovery of the Refraction of Light