Dogging the Action

I’ve done my 50,000 words and more this National Novel Writing Month, but I haven’t verified the win yet. I have more days in the month and more plot in the story. I’m writing an action scene now, and I have to write them very slowly or they turn out too fast. Action scenes are very tricky–they have to SEEM fast, but they can’t BE fast or they’re over too soon, and that ruins the impact.

My go-to guy for writing action scenes is Albert Payson Terhune, author of LAD: A DOG and other collie stories. Yes, that’s right, I said collie stories. Stories about collies. You know…dogs. He wrote THE BEST action scenes! He’d go through pages of details about a fight or a struggle against physical obstacles, then say, “In less time than it takes to tell it,” and the plot sprang on. You were like, “MAN…! Whew!!

I can’t hope to do that well, but that’s my touchstone.

Hope all my NaNo buddies, finished or not, have enjoyed the month as much as I have. Horace, Daphne, Pepper and the denizens of Spadena Street and Spadena Villa have enjoyed coming to life in PICKLE IN A PEAR TREE. Now they get to duke it out to see what gets cut, what gets expanded and what gets moved around in the rewrite.

WRITING PROMPT: Write an action scene. Now make it three times as long.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Dogging the Action

  1. M. T. Logan

    November 28, 2010 at 1:09pm


    I’ll have to check out Albert Payson Terhune’s books again. I read all of them as a kid and loved them. Thanks for the tip about action scenes. Best of luck in the contest.

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