Writing Action

WWII Era planes display
Dogfights are fun to read about, and watch. Being in one must be a combination of holding your gorge and trying not to panic.

Working on a scene where our heroes, soaring over the frozen Alaskan landscape, are set upon by either a Roc, or a Thunderbird. They are in a small plane, and I am trying to figure out how to make this work best for our heroes, and my plot.

This is not something I am entirely confident at, writing action. Like most of my readers, I’ve led a fairly tame life in that respect. I’ve never been in combat, haven’t fought hand-to-hand since I was a child, and the last decade and a half have been mostly a stay-at-home mother. So I don’t have experiences to draw on for fight scenes. I can write what resonates for me, in other works, I can write sheer terror, and beserker rage, because I have experienced those.

I can write around the fights, by having the POV character, as I did with Linn in Vulcan’s Kittens, not part of the battle. That was easy enough with her, 14 year old girls are usually kept safely in the background during murthering great battles. Pixie Noir, however, the main character is a pixie with a background of bounty-hunting rogue magical creatures, pressed into service as a bodyguard. He will be fighting. I just hope I can write it right.

One thing I can do as well, is make the confusion part of it. In every fight between multiple opponents there is a lot of confusion, to make my characters aware of everything that is going on, in sequence, would be to give them omniscience. And why write a character like that? Flaws, weaknesses, these give the reader a certain humanity to connect to even when the character isn’t human. So I write confusion, and then afterwards, a debriefing of sorts to give the readers a better idea of what happened, without making the fight scene cumbersome.

But now, I need to return to my midair dogfight between a bush plane and an oversized bird. This is going to be challenging…



5 responses to “Writing Action”

  1. Neil Frandsen Avatar
    Neil Frandsen

    Heh. Over one of the river valleys, such as the mighty Yukon? Over Sitka, or somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle? Over the mountains? Over the North Slope of Alaska, which looks a lot like the plains and hills east of the Eastern Front of the Rocklies near Denver? Over the Aleutian Islands, all 1,000 miles of length? Or over the frozen Arctic Ocean?
    Yes, I am a very irritating person… Grin.

    1. well, the flight plan was for Tok to Haines 😀

      I will be describing the landscape below in some detail, but right now they are more worried about not hitting the ground than admiring the scenery, and it was dark when they flew out of Tok.

  2. A author friend of mine once said that action scenes are “devilishly difficult” to write. He wasn’t kidding! Good luck with the dogfight. 🙂

    1. Thanks! I decided it’s a Roc, the Thunderbird in this story would be aligned with the good guys. Which means it would have a larger wingspan than the Cessna 182 they are in. Good fun!

  3. Go with the Roc, man. You do not mess with thunderbirds. They wouldn’t even bother getting into a dogfight; hell, they’d vaporize the plane the instant they saw it passing by.