Action-Blog Post


Action-A Blog Post 


The Oxford-English dictionary defines action as …the process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.


What is action at the story level? Action at this level is about the story arc. We meet our story character at some place, we will call it the starting x. The character begins to reflect on his position, imagine a course of action, and begins to take steps. Action in a story should make sense for the character and the setting. It should take into consideration the story goals.


The action of every chapter should be a complete unit and add to the action of the story arc. There is one overall story arcs with the chapter arcs hanging off of it and advancing it. The first half of the action builds to the moment of crisis and the second half of the action winds down to the conclusion.


Actions at the character level are those forward decisions that move the character toward his desired goal. He makes a decision, and then there is a consequence, which will prompt another decision, and another consequence.


Action is denoted by verb form. Verbs are active ones in simple past tense. Simple past tense moves the story forward. Story has to happen in the past, the future hasn’t unfolded, and the story has already left the present tense. The only exception to this rule is the verbs in dialogue. In dialogue the character can be talking about some future or present action without confusing the reader.


Verb tense is an easy mistake for new writers to make. External movement by the characters contrasts with the interior movement of one character where he is operating in his interior head-space.


After attending a workshop on voice and POV I discovered that you can move the story into the present if you are a very skilled writer and it makes sense for your character and story. This just shows that there is an exception to every rule you think you understand.

About Mary T Kincaid

Writer of fiction and non-fiction for children of all ages. Love the mental age where the rules of logic are suspended and there is a willingness to enter the story world no matter what your physical age.

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