How to Write Action Scenes in First Person

action adult athletes battle
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Writing in first person can be a unique an interesting experience for a writer. It allows you to get inside the head of your main character, and experience the fictitious world you have set them in through their eyes.

However, there are certain considerations you have to make when writing in first person, particularly when writing action scenes.

1. Know your character.

First, you’ll have to consider their experience in fighting.  A veteran fighter would have sharper reflexes and a keen eye to catching their opponent’s moves as compared to a person who has never trained in fighting before.

Let’s say your main character is an average guy who works in a desk all day. He gets assaulted by a random stranger on the streets. There’s a big chance that he would never see what hit him. He’d get socked in the face and would hit the pavement fast. He would not know whether it was the left or right hand that struck him.

As for an experienced fighter, there is a higher chance that he would be able to spot the striking fist, and be able to react appropriately. Your fighter could possibly see the hit and anticipate its move, and be able to either dodge or counter the attack. Even if he was hit, there is a chance that he was able to see which hand dealt the blow.

Basically, what I’m trying to point out here is that you should be able to have a good idea of your character’s reaction time to be able to write action scenes more effectively.

2. Write short sentences

Short sentences give the impression of urgency.

Write with less description, more action.

Writing with a lot of description would slow down the reader’s pace, and therefore, also slow down the action of your scene.

Besides, we are writing in first person perspective. When in a fight, your character will be intensely focused on his opponent, and his moves. Everything around them would be a blur.

If you must set the scene, do it before everything goes down.

adult athlete battle fight
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3. Are there any complex choreography?

One thing I really enjoy in watching action scenes are the complex choreography that the fighters make when they fight. It looks so beautiful on the screen – like a dance, but much more deadly.

The issue I have with this is that when writing, it can be difficult to convey such action to your readers. Using complex descriptions of the move may even be distracting, or downright confusing.

So how do we do this?

I frankly don’t know as I have not read nor written an action sequence that involves such things. It might even be that these things are limited to the visual media, as opposed to the written media. It may be possible to try writing complex choreographed moves in say third person or even limited third person perspective, but as of now, I am having difficulty wrapping my head around this concept.

So, I guess if it seems to complex or difficult to write, it would probably best to avoid it.

4. Use the right words.

This one sort of falls in the “Know your Character” category, but when writing first person, we have to remember that it is not the writer that is speaking, but the main character.

We should avoid using fancy (or even non-fancy) words that your character would not be caught using. A character who does not have a wide ivy-league level vocabulary should avoid terms and words or phrases that may in effect break his character. We are in his head, we are in his mind, and we are hearing his thoughts. If we are dealing with a potty-mouthed fighter who talks street jargon – we should try to use that.

Would that be confusing? How about let the character explain a term that you think your general reader may not know.

If you know anatomy to a certain degree, but figure that your character probably does not know that much, limit your use of such things when describing out a fight.

 

two man in white shorts fighting using sword during daytime
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I have to admit that I am no expert in writing in the first person, but have found the above-mentioned tips to be useful when I attempted to write some works in the first person.

Writing in third person, or even the limited third person is much, much easier, and in a bind to create something, I would probably write something in those perspective.  However, if you do wish to stir things up a bit, and would want to have a different writing experience, get in your main character’s head and try writing in first person perspective.

Happy writing, and have a nice day.

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The Sacrifice

 

This prompt is in participation of Myths of the Mirror’s writing prompt.


 

Cold Journey

There used to be more of us… The frigid temperature of the North was unforgiving. More than half of our party succumbed to the cold. They fell asleep and never woke up.

There was only nineteen of us now.

We were on a quest to appease the god of the northern hemisphere, Boreas. A heartless god of ice and snow.

His temple could be found at the peak of Mount Frost – a long dead volcano that is frozen all year round.

The priests say that the task was simple enough – take the chest of offerings up into the temple, read the words, offer prayers… that’s it.

The pay was good, so a lot of us adventurers took on the quest.

We have not thought about why so many of us were needed. We have not realize it until it was too late to head back.

When the first deaths happened, we all shrugged it off as the aftermath of a weak constitution.

“Those fools were too weak!” Laughed Olaf, a large, muscled barbarian who clothed himself with the fur of wild beasts he hunted.

The rest of the group laughed along as we all huddled around a fire.

The wind blew and I felt a chill. The journey to the peak did not seem that far at the time.

The next night, six people crossed the great beyond. It was twice the amount of the previous night’s toll.

No one spoke a word, for among those who perished were men of iron strength. It was just too cold.

The winds seemed harsher, and the freezing temperatures cut deep into the bone.

We thought it was only a two-day’s journey. However, we camped for another night, and it was even colder than the last.

We built a large fire to keep us warm.  We used whatever we had on hand to use as fuel. We huddled close, and tried to rest. Some were afraid to sleep as they fear that they may never wake again.

Most of us thought that our foes would be great beasts of the north – bears, direwolves, some even feared the frozen corpse of the waking undead… We never thought that our foe would be an unseen force that would pick at us one at a time… The cold. For this, we were terribly unprepared.

The mountain seemed more cruel than the previous nights of our journey. Twelve of our companions slept their last.

We were on the last leg of our journey – we could see the temple. It was in the shape of a large, bearded man who seemed to be holding down the head of a large beast. The beast’s mouth was the temple’s entrance, so it seems.

We went in and warmth was a welcomed surprise.

Inside, we saw a large intricate altar which looked like it has been frozen and covered with sharp icicles. There was no fire, but the rays of the sun served as illumination.

We placed the chest on the altar, opened it and found it was empty, but for the piece of scroll that contained the prayer we need to recite.

“What trickery is this??” Olaf shouted. He lost three fingers to the cold.

I read the scroll.

“O lord of hail and ice and snow, take the souls of these brave men who have entered your holy realm…” I read words written on the scroll… it was short, but it conveyed the message clearly… We were not transporting a sacrifice to the god… We were the sacrifice!

The altar lowered, most likely due to the weight of the chest. I heard a loud click. The room rumbled, and the door to the entrance was sealed shut by a large stone tablet. From the ceiling, ice spears fell, killing five of our companions who were unlucky enough to be on the receiving end.

We heard more rumblings – the sound of a mechanism in the temple’s walls moving. It was an intricate trap, and we sprung it.  The temperature quickly dropped and we felt the icy chill.

We were trapped!

“Those damn priests tricked us!” Olaf yelled as he bashed at the door with his one good fist.

“They didn’t lie to us,” I said recalling the instructions to take the chest and sacrifice up the mountain temple.  “But they did trick us.”

“I am not dying in this damned place!” Olaf took out his axe which he hid underneath his furs and started attacking the stone door.

He barely did any significant damage.

A group of seven people volunteered to explore the temple with the hopes of finding a way to either disable the trap, or perhaps find another way out.

We never saw them again. We assumed they either fell victim to some trap, or died some other gruesome way.

There were only seven of us left in the main temple – Olaf, the barbarian, three spear men hailing from the nearby settlement of Friis. Hardy men who were no stranger to the harsh, cold wilderness. One bowman from the south who was chattering his teeth the entire journey. He was severely under-dressed for the journey, but survived by taking the clothes of the dead. Last of our companions was a silent, hooded man. he barely spoke. Olaf said he seemed like a spell-caster, for he saw trinkets under the man’s cloak, as well as markings on his arms.

I looked up and saw the light and how there seemed to be a wind that was blowing all the cold inside. How the entire temple changed to freezing cold from warm and toasty was a mystery to me. However, there might be a way if we investigate the source of the cold air.

I took our climbing rope and gave it to the archer.

The ceiling was high, almost three persons high. A fall from that height may be fatal. The bowman shot an arrow with the rope attached. It struck the temple’s ice-covered ceiling. It seemed to be sturdy enough.

I climbed the rope, with the hope of finding an escape.

“Where is this light coming from?” I thought to myself as I ascended.

My heart sank when I reached the top. The air was flowing in from thin gaps between the ceiling. Light is coming in from it, as well, and was being reflected at the mirror-like surface of the temple’s high ceiling. I reached out, and felt the cold breeze flowing in.

I took out my knife and attempted to make the hole larger.

I only ended up with a broken knife.

“No use…” I grumbled in frustration as I began my descent.

“What now?” Olaf asked. “Anyone got any bright ideas?”

I looked around and noticed our spell-caster companion had vanished!

“Where did Hood-man go?” I asked.

The archer crouched down to the floor and examined the floor.

“He went this way.” He pointed to a corner of the room with a dead end.

“Strange. His track disappeared from this corner… could it be?” He inspected around the area. He found a loose ice stalagmite, an ice formation that  rose from the floor. We heard a feint click, barely audible, and a hidden wall door panel appeared.

“That bastard!” Olaf screamed in outrage.

The cloaked mage was most likely with the priests of the god of ice.

We followed the path out – a long and winding stair case that seemed to crawl underneath the mountain. We found ourselves midway down the mountain’s slope, our spell-caster friend nowhere in sight.

“He seemed to have went that way.” The archer pointed to the east. “He’s probably heading back to the village priests.”

“What do we do now?” I asked the remainder of our group.

Olaf smiled a rather sinister smile, while his one good hand gripped the handle of his large axe.

 

{To Be Continued}

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Thank you for reading. I hope you liked it.

This prompt has helped me not only as an exercise in writing, but also in building on what could be a potential series of stories. If I could turn it to a novel of sorts, I’d be really happy…

For now, rest assured that I will be continuing on this story real soon. So please subscribe to be updated and notified once it does.

Have a nice day!

Preview of my Dragon Slayer Story

In my previous post (10 Ways to Slay A Dragon), I mentioned that I was working on a short story involving a dragon slayer… it is still in it’s unfinished stage, and while I am currently stuck with the process of actually writing it, here’s a first preview of the story:

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The Dragon Slayer

Everything changed when the dragon came.

The fields once rich with flock were decimated with fire. Herds were turned to ashes in a blink of an eye.

Everyone was afraid.
This was a community of farmers.  They did not have the strength.
Each night, like a typhoon, the winds would pick up, the trees would sway, and a loud thunderous roar filled the air.
People huddled together in fear.
One day, a stranger arrived. He was tall and well-built. He had a shield as tall as he was by his left arm and a large spear on his right. He wore armor of dark blue enamel, with almost no distinguishable markings and it had dents. His shield bore no marks of any noble house, but rather had a large scratch mark that run from the top to the bottom.
He was looking for the dragon.

*****

Well, I know that isn’t much to go on, but please do leave me a feedback.

I am also posting the incomplete draft in my patreon page  (which is more or less half-way into the story already) and would update it as soon as I can get more information and research done, which I hope would be sometime early next year.

I haven’t been able to do any decent fiction writing ever since my incomplete attempt at this year’s NANOWRIMO, which was another stab I did at writing mystery fiction. I’m trying a different genre this time, and it’s a genre that is also dear in my heart – fantasy.

My recent manga reading lists also somewhat influenced me into trying out fantasy. I have read Konosuba and caught up with the latest chapters of Goblin Slayer… which are both on the opposite sides of the spectrum as far as fantasy goes. One being a comedy, and the latter a rather dark fantasy kind.

Well, I figured that if my writing skills is not yet at “Novel Writing” level, I might as well write enough short stories to keep my skills sharpened. Who knows, perhaps one of my ideas could be fleshed out to be a novel one day.

Well, that is all for now. Seeing as this will probably be my last post for this year… Thank you everyone for subscribing and supporting my blog. I hope that next year will be a lot better for all of us.

If you are new, and haven’t subscribe yet, please consider subscribing. I’m sure that it will bring good fortune for you in the next year! (>_^)

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Thank you and have a nice day.

Down the Stairs

I’m not really too fond of my Aunt Clara.  She’s strange, and bossy, and smells a bit funny.  She also has a lot of cats.

However, when my parents went up north for work, they left me at Aunt Clara’s house.  Despite all of my protests, they held on to the argument that she is our only relative within locality.  They mentioned a few other reasons, which I am sure were probably reasonable, but I also have my very reasonable reason for not wanting to be sent to my Aunt Clara’s house.

Her house is scary.  It has two floors and a basement. However, since she is the only one who lives in that house, save for here horde of feline army, most of the house remained unmaintained.  Some areas are closed off, and some have dirt and dust thicker than a three-layered sandwich. As for the basement… Well, the basement… That’s the scariest part.

The last time I went there, which was five years ago – I was only eight years old back then – the basement was locked.  Aunt Clara forbid me to even go near there.  I sneaked around late that night and almost wet myself when  heard strange scrapings and thumping in there.  Needless to say, I ran away from that doorway, straight to my room, and I can’t quite remember how I managed to sleep.

I’m still morbidly curious about that basement.  Whatever in the world could she be keeping under there?

I try to kid myself that it is probably just more cats.  That may be where she keeps the more rabid ones…

We arrived at Aunt Clara’s house where, where she, and my parents exchanged stories, questions and instructions. I have a feeling most of it involved me. While they were busy with their pleasantries, my eyes wandered off into the basement door.

To my surprise, I saw a key inserted in the knob!

Aunt Clara must have forgotten about it when she came to answer the door. I slowly stood up from my seat and pretended to go near a cat.  I pocketed the key after locking the door, as to avoid any suspicion.

I dared myself that by tonight, I’ll know the secret of Aunt Clara’s basement.

That night, I sneaked out the room and went to the basement door.  I took out the key, and after checking for any signs of my dear, old Aunt, I inserted the key.

As soon as I placed the key, I heard a faint thud by the stairway!

My heart skipped a beat as I feared it was my Aunt. I froze in place, not knowing what to do.  Then I noticed a pair of green eyes looking at me.

“Meow!” It said.

I let out a sigh of relief as I found out it was one of my Aunt’s cats.

I returned to my business and slowly unlocked the door.  The way down was dark. I flipped on the light switch and a weak glow from the light below can be seen from stairs.

I slowly went down, and to my surprise, I saw the basement, which gave me nightmares for weeks.

It was empty. Nothing. It was just a huge expanse of empty floor.

I scratched my head as I chuckled.  There was nothing to be afraid of!

Thud!

I suddenly heard  a sound from the far corner of the basement.  I slowly walked over, fearing that one of my Aunt Clara’s cats may have followed me down. I can’t just go out and leave it locked in here…

I checked the place, and saw nothing, except for the closet  door, which was slightly ajar.

I peeked in and saw nothing.  I was starting to feel afraid. Then I noticed that the closet has another door inside it! And it was unlocked.

“Whatever could this be?” I thought to myself.

My curiosity got the better of me,and I pushed it open.  I was more surprised to find a staircase leading down.

Weren’t I in a basement? Where could this possibly lead to?

A lot of other questions were jumping around in my head, but out of them, one was leading the polls – should I go down?

Anyone with a sane mind would have probably left it alone… But I chose to go down the stairs.

There were no light to guide me, so I had to feel the steps as I went down.

I was almost pitch black when I reached the center, and yet, a warm glow seemed to be coming from bottom of the stairs. I thought that it might have been my eyes starting to adjust.

I reached to bottom, and to my amazement, saw a huge expanse of corridors. There are tunnels right under my Aunt Clara’s house! The tunnels go as far as I can see.  I wondered if it was empty. Suddenly hearing noises,made me realize I was not alone. I tried to slowly go up the stairs, when I felt a heavy weight on my shoulders. I looked at it and saw giant claws holding on to me.  A scary-looking creature, almost twice my height had me by the shoulders and was not letting me go.

It effortlessly lifted me, and took me in a cage.

Time seemed to have passed a lot and did not know how long I was held captive.  I wrote down everything I knew and tried for ways to send it to the outside.

If you are reading this, warn everyone! There are monsters tunneling underground.  Their network is already extensive.  There are many of them. My fate as of you reading this is uncertain. Who – or what my Aunt Clara is, is also unknown.

I pray it is not too late.

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Image Courtesy of Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/95994086@N00/168885709/

–End–

Writing Prompt based of “Down the Steps”