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WinchesterPhantom

Hey Everyone!

Just so you know this thread is also being set up so everyone can post their action scenes.

Anyway...I'm terrible at writing action scenes - I really am. But I figure I need to learn so I wrote one and I was wondering if you would be so kind as to offer some advice to improve it. I'm only going to post an bit of it since I'm still writing on it but I would like to know your thoughts sooner then later. The scene is an attempt to re-write the free-running scene from Daniel Craig's first Bond film Casino Royale.

Justs so you know so far Bond, and a agent called Carter are tailing a bomb maker in Madagascar. They have followed him to a mongoose/snake fight and Carter is in the crowd near the bomb maker, Mollaka, while Bond is up above the crowd leaning against the wall of a house that is slowly going to ruin.

-

“Stop touching your ear,” ordered Bond.

“Sorry?”

“Put your hand down,” said Bond urgently knowing that Mollaka would soon spot Carter.

Which he did.

Bond watched as Carter and Mollaka shared a look, both staring at each other. He rolled his eyes. Bloody hell. Now Mollaka knew that something was up. And he reacted on it by moving quickly back through the crowd. Carter followed, pulling out his gun and Bond wondered how M would feel if he shot the idiot.

“Holster the bloody weapon, Carter,” said Bond urgently, “I need him alive,”

He didn’t seem to hear him but suddenly Mollaka leaped from the stands, narrowly missing the viper’s fangs. Carter followed a moment after, tripping and pulling several others down with him as well as letting his gun go off. Bond cursed as the crowd began to move about in panic and for one brief second he lost sight of the target.

Then Bond saw him again just making his way out of the arena. Bond quickly moved, jumping through an empty window and onto an iron roof. He started to race over it, looking to his right to see where Mollaka was on the ground.

He was reaching the end of the rooftop when he saw just ahead, pushing past civilians on the street his target racing ahead. Bond reached the end, slipping of the end of the rooftop and onto the ground. Mollaka was directly in front of him, and Bond grinned as he took off after him the moment his feet hit solid ground.

They weaved through the tiny stalls, past iron shacks and over the rubble of smashed walls: Bond’s heart racing and adrenaline coursing through his body. An old broken down van with the doors missing lay ahead and Mollaka leapt through the inside of it with the grace of a dancer and into the trees. Bond swerved around the van, stretching his long legs that bit further so that he could catch up.

As Bond hit the underbrush of the small jungle he found himself gaining distance on Mollaka. The tree leaves whipped against his face but he took no notice as his heart surged at the sight of Mollaka only a few metres away. If he could just make that extra ground –

-A chain netting fence suddenly appeared through the green thong and beyond that a large construction site. Mollaka launched himself over it and landed gracefully. Bond tried to follow suit but found himself tumbling over as he reached the top. He hit the top of a dirt mound and rolled over, pausing for a second before a large forklift disrupted his view of Mollaka running further into the site.

Damn it.

Suddenly he grinned. If Mollaka wanted to play in this sand box then he’d have to deal with Bond’s toys. Standing up quickly he raced towards the moving forklift and grabbed onto the side. Pulling himself onto it, he steadied himself, he grabbed the driver’s door and opened it. The operator stared at him in horror and yelled at him.

Bond ignored the man, pushing him out by thrusting on the jugular vein. The moment the operator was gone, he looked down on the controls. Looked no more difficult than driving a stick, he thought as he pulled the clutch. The forklift lurched forward. It had better not stall, please don’t stall...

It didn’t stall and Bond accelerated it and drove smoothly past the other trucks. He smirked as the construction workers yelled at him. He saw Mollaka briefly disappear behind a wooden shed. It looked like the bombmaker was heading towards the main hub.

Straightening up, he urged the forklift forward. He had one shot, one shot and he was not going to screw it up. The shed was ten metres ahead of him, now nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two and –

The sound of grinding metal, cracking metal, yelling, truck horns all seemed to come at once as the forklift smashed through the shed and kept on going.

-

Thank you in advance.

~ Winy

2/14/2009 . Edited by Rhea Silverkeys, 4/12/2009 #1
Wildcard999

Edit: I've found that we're getting a LOT of these threads and some are more popular than others, so I'm just going to link all the existing ones so people don't have to keep making new ones.

Death scenes: For writing important character death scenes.

Descriptive scenes: Any scene that needs to focus on description, even in part, can be posted here. Please ensure that description is what you need help with though.

Drama scenes: Any dramatic scene, I guess?

OC Opening scenes: For introductions of OCs. Many authors treat OCs and CCs differently and it can be a bit difficult trying to figure out how to introduce them without annoying or boring people.

Opening Lines: The first few lines of a story can make or break your popularity. Most readers decide if they like your story during your first sentence and not everyone gives your second a chance to captivate them.

Original writing: Any original fiction excerpts can be posted here.

Romance/Love scenes: A thread for any scene about overt lust or love, or just tinged with romantic undertones.

Summary: After the title, the summary is the second thing a potential reader will see and your second chance to interest them in your story. Like your opening lines, if your summary doesn't snare a reader's interest, your fic may not get too many readers.

Titles: Titling a story or chapter can be rather challenging, but it's important to many readers, giving them a tiny taste of what to expect. The combination of words you choose, though short, can go far to improving your story's chances of keeping a reader long enough for the story to show them something they really like. Titles that need improvement may trap your story in obscurity though.

Other: For any excerpt that doesn't fit an already stated category. Go ahead and use this one if you don't feel like making a new thread or don't feel the thread would be useful very often.


This is a good idea, and I may post here soon. Action scenes are a bit of a problem for me since most of the action scenes I remember are from movies, and that isn't very helpful in writing.

Edit: I found this link, which has a lot of useful advice on writing action scenes.


"Stop touching your ear," ordered Bond.

"Sorry?"

"Put your hand down," Bond commanded urgently, knowing that Mollaka would soon spot Carter--which he did. [Bond is an authoritative guy, despite his suave manner. Showing the power of his voice helps the reader see that. Also, that last part doesn't work well on it's own, and is still poignant the way I edited it.]

Bond watched as Carter and Mollaka shared a long look. [Unnecessary. You only need to say they are looking at each other once; want to make it long? Just add an adjective. You don't need another sentence section for it, especially for an action scene.] He rolled his eyes. Bloody hell! [Exclamation points don't always show volume in a voice, but intensity of emotion. A period makes things flat, insinuating that nothing too inconvenient has happened yet.] Now Mollaka knew that something was up--and he reacted on it by moving quickly back through the crowd. [Too many short sentences in the same area is bad, but you combined the wrong ones. The double dash indicates that what comes next is really important and emphasizes that fact without stopping the flow of your writing so bad.] Carter followed, pulling out his gun. Bond wondered how M would feel if he shot the idiot.

"Holster the bloody weapon, Carter," said Bond urgently, "I need him alive." [Urgent infers fear, and I don't remember Bond being afraid of much. If he needs something done quickly, use an adverb that only indicates speed. Also, you end a sentence with a period, not a comma.]

Carter didn't seem to hear him, but suddenly Mollaka leaped from the stands, narrowly missing the viper's fangs. [It isn't obvious who 'he' is. The last name was Bond, and one would assume you are still talking about Bond. And I don't think you should connect both parts of that sentence; they don't belong. But means that Mollaka's action made not hearing Bond a moot point.]Carter followed a moment later, tripping and pulling several others down with him as well as letting his gun go off. [Too much in that sentence. It's overloaded. Add what he tripped over, replace 'and' with a comma, strike 'as well' and put the gun in a new sentence with a description of how bad this fall affected him or the others.] Bond cursed as the crowd began to move about in panic, and for one brief second he lost sight of the target.

FinallyBond spotted him making his way out of the arena. [Then sounds list-y, finally sounds action-y. It also indicates finding the guy is a real relief. 'Just' adds nothing and really doesn't make sense right there anyway and 'saw' makes it sound like Bond wasn't really looking. I nixed 'again' because it's not that necessary and makes who 'his' is a little ambiguous.] Bond moved quickly, jumping through an empty window and onto an iron roof. [Builds excitement better.] He raced over it, looking to his right to see where Mollaka was on the ground. [Unless he stops before he starts, just say he did it. Definite actions like that keep the action going in the reader's mind while you get to the next verb. Saying he didn't quite do it makes the reader wait to read what's next before playing out the verb they were already given. Complicated way of saying 'it kills the action'.

He was reaching the end of the rooftop when he saw his target just ahead, pushing past civilians on the street. [Okay, that was an awkward sentence. Don't get overly creative like that, you'll lose your readers.] Bond slipped off the end of the rooftop and onto the ground. [This is an action scene. People can guess that he got to the end of the roof if he was getting there in the previous sentence. You don't need to say things twice.] Mollaka was directly in front of him and Bond grinned as he took off after him the moment his feet hit solid ground. [What was Mollaka doing? Add a verb or adverb to tell us briefly what Mollaka's reaction or lack of reaction is to Bond's sudden appearance.]

They weaved through the tiny stalls, past iron shacks and over the rubble of smashed walls. Bond's heart raced and adrenaline coursed through his body. [Not the same sentence; you switch from two Subjects to one, and in any event, a semicolon is more appropriate for joining two complete sentences. Plus, you wrote the second as a sentence fragment, making a comma better than a semicolon.] An old, broken-down van missing its doors lay ahead and Mollaka leapt through it with the grace of a dancer, escaping into the trees. [When two or more adjectives describe the same noun, you need commas to join them. Most, if not all two word adjectives need hyphens or are compound words. Overloaded again, I cut some of the fat. Sentences shouldn't be overcomplicated, most especially in an action scene] Bond swerved around the van, stretching his long legs a little farther to catch up. [Be direct in your action scenes. And 'that bit' doesn't work here; it sounds funny.]

As Bond hit the underbrush of the small jungle, he found himself gaining distance on Mollaka. [Separate ideas like in this sentence need commas. You are basically listing verbs here, and any list needs commas to separate. It's not so obvious though because of all the other words in there.] The tree leaves whipped against his face but he took no notice as his heart surged at the sight of Mollakaonly a few metres away. If he could just make that extra ground–[I hate that sentence. 'Make' doesn't sit well with me. The rest of it is fine, but I can't think of a verb to replace make with.]

--A chain-netting fence suddenly appeared through the green thong, with a large construction site beyond. [Awkward the other way. And 'chain netting fence' may need to be looked at because I'm not sure what you intended it to look like.] Mollaka launched himself over the fence and landed gracefully. [The last noun you mentioned was a construction site. Doubt he lept that.] Bond tried to follow suit but found himself tumbling over as he reached the top. [Try a simlie here. Like 'found himself fumbling over it like a drunk in an obstacle course' or something. Oh, and tumbling suggests he lost hold of the fence. I know what you are trying to say, and I think 'fumbling' says it better, but that's a judgement call. Unless you meant to say he tumbled over the top of the fence, which means that 'as' should be a 'when'.] He landed on the dirt mound on the other side and rolled over, pausing to catch his breath. Simultaneously a large forklift disrupted his view of Mollaka running farther into the site. [He fell, right? I think it's also important to say he got to the other side of the fence, because I got a little lost. 'Further' describes something that can't be measured, but distance is quite measurable. Showing us Bond's condition from that long chase adds more depth and explains his hesitation about continuing the chase. I split the sentence because, already laden, it got too overloaded with what I added. I am not happy with the new version, but you are the alpha of this story, so I figure it'll be in your words anyway.]

Damn it.

Suddenly Bond grinned. [I wouldn't assume we still know who you are talking about. Not everyone knows these people as well as you do and might forget.] If Mollaka wanted to play in this sand box, then he'd have to deal with Bond's toys. Standing up quickly he raced towards the moving forklift and grabbed onto the side. Pulling himself onto it, he steadied himself, grabbed the driver's door and opened it. [No need to add an extra 'he'. You are listing verbs, not pronouns.] The operator stared at him in horror and yelled, hoping to stop the inevitable. IDK, felt like it needed a little extra pizazz. The last sentence of a paragraph should be interesting, like the last sentence of a chapter or the last sentence of a fic. It should keep the reader hooked so they continue on to the next paragraph, instead of stopping there. No one stops mid paragraph unless it's REALLY bad, but stopping at the end of a paragraph/chapter/story is common. Give them a reason to continue, or at least come back later.]

Bond ignored the man, shoving him out with a blow to the jugular vein. [Thrusting on the jugular vein? I'm afraid to ask, but thrusting what? Don't give your reader opportunities for perverted thoughts when reading your fics unless that's what you are after. And 'push' is less violent than shove. Bond doesn't care about this nameless guy, and he has a mission to fulfill anyway. Time is of the essence.] Alone in the cab, he gazed down on the controls. ['Look' is so ambiguous. It's a prolonged 'look', so gazed works well. We already know the operator is gone though, so there's no need to say it twice.] Doesn't look any more difficult than driving a stick, he thought as he pulled the clutch. [You need to differentiate between thoughts and narration. Italics are common, as are single quotes, just make sure it stands out like regular dialogue. Also, you should always, always, ALWAYS write thoughts the same way as regular dialogue. Everyone thinks the way they talk unless they put up a front for everyone else. Even so, their thoughts still read like dialogue, just from a different person. No one thinks in past tense or any of the other weird stuff you see in narration.] The forklift lurched forward. It had better not stall, please don't stall...

The forklift didn't stall and Bond accelerated it and drove smoothly past the other trucks. [Narration shouldn't directly respond to thoughts or dialogue. Narration is written as though it is recording everything after the fact, even in present tense.] He smirked as the construction workers yelled at him. [Again, bland. Are the workers angery? Did they hurl profanities or shout threats on Bond's life? Elaborate a little. This is an action scene, so things need to keep moving fast, but that doesn't mean you should ditch all description.] He saw Mollaka briefly before the man disappeared behind a wooden shed. [It sounded like Mollaka was only gone briefly.] It looked like the bombmaker was heading towards the main hub. [Who's main hub? The operation's main hub? His employer's? His cohorts? Be specific.]

Straightening up, Bond urged the forklift forward. He had one shot--one shot, and he was not going to screw it up. [Didn't give the words the proper emphasis.] The shed was ten meters ahead of him. Now eight...six...four...three...two and– [I wouldn't do all the numbers, nobody wants to read all that. They know the order and you only need enough to show a countdown. It has the added effect of building suspense as you skip less numbers. Ellipses show he isn't moving as fast as he can count and don't necessarily account for the same spaces of time.]

The sound of grinding and cracking metal, yelling and truck horns exploded around Bond as the forklift smashed through the shed and kept on going. [Traditionally, one would end any list with an 'and' instead of another comma. Also, you only need to say metal once unless there's different types. If a bunch of stuff suddenly appears or starts up at the same time, especially in an action scene, 'come at once' is a very banal description. It's not very sudden either, the way an explosion is.]

-----

I hope this helped you, and I also hope you don't take any of this the wrong way. I'm not great at action scenes, but I've been doing my best to gather info about them, and even when I can't do it myself, I can at least let other people know what needs to be done. I'll come back tomorrow with one of mine.

2/14/2009 . Edited 3/28/2014 #2
WinchesterPhantom

Darkwinter - thank you so much. Like I said earlier, I'm not good at writing action scenes, and I wanted advice and you gave it to me in spades - so thank you.

The semi-colon comment actually made me laugh a bit since I wrote this is a few weeks ago (been sitting on my desktop gathering dust for a while) and its only been recently that I've learnt about the proper use of colon and semi-colons and to see how I can put it into practical use is great.

2/14/2009 . Edited 2/14/2009 #3
Wildcard999

Np. I'm glad I could help you! I have a tendency to give people all the info I can and I get mixed reactions. Thank you for being one of the ones who appreciated that.

Lol, I'm still struggling with semicolons versus commas and periods. Yeah, that's a tough one to learn, especially since I was absent the week they taught that in...second or third grade? Still, hasn't been addressed since.

Anything else, I'd be happy to help!

2/14/2009 #4
Wildcard999

Okay, I have two sections of action that are completely different. One is mostly moved through dialogue, and the other has most things happening in the narration.

The first scene is set in the Marvel fandom: X-Men: Evolution. The X-Men and the Morlocks are fighting some random terrorist group referred to as the 'Vanguard'.

----

"Jean! Cover Beast, he needs to get her out of here!" He is dodging the gunfire pretty well himself, but he's holding an innocent girl in his thick arms. I need to make sure she stays safe. They've got it. I turn to monitor the rest of the battle.

"Nightcrawler, how are you doing with the wounded?" I can't see him right now, he's on the other side of the battlefield assisting our allies.

«I've almost finished Cyclops. They say they have two more still out there.»

"Good, we're going to have to pull out soon, I don't know how much longer we can hold them off." I try to stifle a wave of relief that crashes across my body; I can't relax just yet.

«Hey, Cyke? Can I get a little help here? The Vanguard is regrouping on the south side and the Morlocks are spread too thin to cover them.» Relief is replace by despair. We can hardly cover our own front, let alone send Evan reinforcements. As a former X-man, he knows we'd help him in any way we can, but I've already given him everybody we can spare.

"We're a little strapped here but-" Suddenly I hear loud grunts and severe gunfire over the radio. I know it's a mistake, we are just barely holding our own line, but I can't just leave him hanging. With a growl, I utter a curse and activate my communicator again. "Iceman, can you give Spyke a hand?"

Glancing over, I notice Bobby had been watching me. If he doesn't concentrate more, that kid is going to get somebody killed!

«On it!» He salutes me as he creates an ice bridge over one of the many hills dotting the junkyard.

«Cyclops, I have secured our young friend in the X-Jet, shall I return to assist you?» Finally! A little good news, I really need that. Thank you, Dr. McCoy!

"No Beast, fire up the jet so we can get out of here. Send Jean back though, we need her." Maybe we'll be okay after all. If we can last the minute or two it takes Jean to get back, everything will be okay.

Feeling good, I shoot down a few more mini-copters with my optic energy blasts. I dodge through a hail of bullets and laser-fire riding a high I haven't felt in a while.

But my optimism doesn't last. A piercing scream cuts across the battlefield, a steel foil through a row of candles.

"Shadowcat!!"

-----

The next scene is set in the DC fandom: Batman Beyond. Terry was kidnapped by a guy he calls 'Blue Crow' for the bird on the mysterious man's costume. For most of the fic, Terry is tied to a chair while Blue Crow explains the reason for kidnapping the bewildered Terry McGinnis.

-----

Blue Crow’s story had had him distracted—and by the looks of it still does—and Terry had been taking full advantage. One hand is already close to loose, and Blue Crow, having paced all over the room during his story, was now across the room staring at a corner. Terry wonders whether this extended respite will somehow come back on him, but he isn’t one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Working his wrist to a slow cadence so as to not make any sounds, Terry finally pulls a hand free. After the first one, the second is released and slips out easily. Silently celebrating, Terry bends to work on his feet, but his bruised chest riots painfully. Alarmed, he tries to suppress a scream but a low grunt escapes his lungs. Blue Crow breaks from his reverie and whips around to watch with shock as his captive rushes to finish the escape. In a flash, the enraged kidnapper charges. Terry sees it coming and does his best to roll himself and the chair toward the center of the room. Blue Crow easily adjusts and delivers a solid kick to Terry’s jaw, giving the poor kid whiplash. By now, the pain just adds to the din clouding his mind, and Terry recovers fast enough to block the next kick, headed toward his exposed stomach.

After so much abuse, the broken remnants of the chair have all but fallen away from Terry, only tethered on by the rope binding his feet, and Terry kicks them off to roll away from another attack. His roll is stopped short by a pile of boxes and junk, plus the wall behind it. Blue Crow misses anyway. Frustrated, Blue Crow pounces on Terry and proceeds to choke him. Terry struggles desperately to loosen his adversary’s death-grip, but even the massive amounts of adrenaline pumping through his body can’t completely counter his fatigue. Strength waning, Terry reaches a hand for Blue Crow’s face and frantically paws at it. He has no idea what he is trying to accomplish, but Blue Crow jerks back in response, knocking into the pile of boxes. The mask had come off in Terry’s hand and gazing up at Blue Crow he sees there was another mask beneath the first. But this one isn’t a full mask; it’s in the old style, only surrounding the eyes, revealing Blue Crow to be a man around thirty with black hair and blue eyes. But it wasn’t the face that captured his attention, it was the mask. He knew that mask. He’d seen it every day for the past three years—even stared at it occasionally for several minutes while the Old Man was upstairs. He remembered that mask, sitting in the Batcave, collecting dust on a mannequin, its owner long retired. That was Robin’s mask.

When Blue Crow had fallen against the boxes, he jarred loose a flurry of papers and a large object. Not even caring what it is, Terry grabs the blunt weapon and drives it into the man’s skull with all he has left. Temporarily freed, Terry hobbles for the window they’d been fighting under and half climbs, half falls, out onto the fire escape. Blue Crow is close behind, but lo and behold, approaching sirens distract him for a moment. A moment is all Terry needs. He can see a trash bin only a couple stories down, full of loose trash and cardboard boxes to break his fall, so he leaned onto the railing and swings his legs over to drop ungracefully into the bin. Unfortunately, Blue Crow is too quick and with a flash of his hands, the purple noose encircles Terry’s neck as he falls. Too late, Terry realizes what happened, and the rope pulls taught. As Terry hangs over the railing, Blue Crow finishes his story…

“She loved you, Tony. She loved you, but you couldn’t love her, could you? So you just took off. Six weeks later, we found her hanging out her window…Now you die the way she died.”

2/15/2009 #5
Resident Bishounen

"Jean! Cover Beast, he needs to get her out of here!" He is dodging the gunfire pretty well himself, but he's holding an innocent girl in his thick arms. I need to make sure she stays safe. They've got it. I turn to monitor the rest of the battle.

"Nightcrawler, how are you doing with the wounded?" I can't see him right now, he's on the other side of the battlefield assisting our allies. (If the narrator can't see him, how does the narrator know where he is?)

«I've almost finished Cyclops. They say they have two more still out there.»(You might need a comma after 'finished', depending on whether Cyclops is being addressed, or is what is 'almost finished')

"Good, we're going to have to pull out soon, I don't know how much longer we can hold them off." I try to stifle a wave of relief that crashes across my body; I can't relax just yet.

«Hey, Cyke? Can I get a little help here? The Vanguard is regrouping on the south side and the Morlocks are spread too thin to cover them.» Relief is replace by despair. We can hardly cover our own front, let alone send Evan reinforcements. As a former X-man, he knows we'd help him in any way we can, but I've already given him everybody we can spare.

"We're a little strapped here but-" Suddenly I hear loud grunts and severe gunfire over the radio. I know it's a mistake, we are just barely holding our own line, but I can't just leave him hanging. With a growl, I utter a curse and activate my communicator again.(When was it deactivated? Hasn't he been talking into it this whole time?) "Iceman, can you give Spyke a hand?"

Glancing over, I notice Bobby had been watching me. If he doesn't concentrate more, that kid is going to get somebody killed! «On it!» He salutes me as he creates an ice bridge over one of the many hills dotting the junkyard.

«Cyclops, I have secured our young friend in the X-Jet, shall I return to assist you?» Finally! A little good news, I really need that. Thank you, Dr. McCoy!

"No Beast, fire up the jet so we can get out of here. Send Jean back though, we need her." Maybe we'll be okay after all. If we can last the minute or two it takes Jean to get back, everything will be okay.

Feeling good, I shoot down a few more mini-copters with my optic energy blasts. I dodge through a hail of bullets and laser-fire riding a high I haven't felt in a while.

But my optimism doesn't last. A piercing scream cuts across the battlefield, a steel foil through a row of candles.

"Shadowcat!!"

Pretty good for the most part - I'm getting a good sense of the chaos that must be happening through the dialog. My only comment is that for 75% of this passage, we don't hear much about what Cyclops himself is doing, besides delegating. Is he ducked behind cover somewhere? Is he standing out in the open? Is he taking shots in between sentences?

I'll read over the other passage when I've got time.

2/17/2009 #6
Wildcard999

Thanks, and Scott knows Nightcrawler is on the other side of the battlefield because that's where Scott last knew the Morlocks were at and he had sent Nightcrawler to fight with them.

Oops, the comma does need to be there. Nah, Cyclops/Scott isn't being finished. XD

I thought it was implied that the startling noises prompted him to let go of the button, and it's one of those 'hold until you are done' buttons. No so implicite? Do I need to add that in?

Thanks for giving this a once-over. I think I should probably pepper in some stuff about what Scott is doing (asside from the delagating). I tend to get side tracked when I've got too much to handle at once and I forget about people. It really helps to get another's perspective on stuff. ;D

2/17/2009 #7
Resident Bishounen

Thanks, and Scott knows Nightcrawler is on the other side of the battlefield because that's where Scott last knew the Morlocks were at and he had sent Nightcrawler to fight with them.

Ah. If it's something you dealt with earlier in the fic, then nevermind.

Oops, the comma does need to be there. Nah, Cyclops/Scott isn't being finished. XD

I thought it was implied that the startling noises prompted him to let go of the button, and it's one of those 'hold until you are done' buttons. No so implicite? Do I need to add that in?

I didn't notice any mention of the communicator itself until that point, so that's why I asked. You might have mentioned it earlier in the fic, or I might have just missed it.

Thanks for giving this a once-over. I think I should probably pepper in some stuff about what Scott is doing (asside from the delagating). I tend to get side tracked when I've got too much to handle at once and I forget about people. It really helps to get another's perspective on stuff. ;D

No prob!

2/17/2009 #8
Wildcard999

No, that's actually the beginning. Everything you read is all that had been there, it just continues on after that. The second excerpt is taken from the end.

2/17/2009 #9
severineyung

Hi everyone! It looks like this is an old thread, but I'll post anyway.

Darkwinter999

Cool, Batman Beyond!

Overall, the strengths of this was your use of strong dynamic verbs: jarred, grabs, hobbles, jerks, whips....My favorite one was "Strength waning, Terry reaches a hand for Blue Crow’s face and frantically paws at it." For some reason I thought "pawed" sounded especially appropriate.

This "re-emphasizing" was good for building up suspense: " it was the mask. He knew that mask."

However, the greatest problem that drained the quickness of the action scene, was your long paragraphs. Really really try to use short paragraphs, most ideally only one or two actions in each. Believe me, this would help quicken the pace a lot more.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's one of my many action scenes from "The Last Slice of Space" (Pokemon fic with slight Animorphs crossover)

Sulphur and Lark, two of our heroes, have morphed into two pokemon (type of creature with special abilities)--a wingull and taillow respectively. Wingulls look like seagulls, whilst taillows are like swallows. This is their face-off against two whimsurs--pink little rabbit like creatures, with huge ears and sound wave powers.

Also, I use these [.....] brackets instead of the standard quotation marks to indicate speech when one is morphed into pokemon form.

--------

BANG!

It sounded again, but seemed softer.

Sul asked, [Could we be getting further from it?]

[No. More likely that the enemy is being more careful and making less noise.] Wild anticipation whirled in Lark’s eyes, adrenalin shot through his body.

BANG!

[Look out!]

Sharp rocks shot at them.

Lark dodged easily with grace, but Sulphur suffered a storm, completely taken by surprise. I believe my teammate will become more accustomed to this. He reassured himself.

A blur of pink caught his eye.

Lark glanced at Sul, [So are you ready for your first battle?] He flexed his wing muscles and glared strongly at the adversaries.

[Heh, not really.Wha—?!]

The blue and white bird veered away just in time from the right whimsur’s burst of waves. Instead, a tree behind him lost several branches and much of its bark.

[Sul, use your watergun!] Called the small taillow. Lark screeched as he launched a wing slap towards the left whimsur.

[Oh yeah, how could I forget? Take this!] A long compact column of water fired out. The pink whimsur dodged, leapt, wriggled its ears tauntingly.

[Ahhh!] Sul was struck back by another blast of noise.

Lark the taillow wheeled around, expertly dodging the left whimsur’s desperate firings of sound waves. He spun, twirled, flitted and swung through all the possible paths in the air. His little body immersed in the midst of a wonderful rhythm.

[Lark! Watch out!]

He was struck full in the face by strange swirls of sound. Thick vapors streamed into his head, shattering his vision and whirling his thoughts. Powerful energies collided and struggled violently inside his body.

[Lark! Are you okay?] The wingull hovered above his confused friend and pink adversaries, a determination forming in his eyes.

Vigorously, the black taillow shook his head. He still felt woozy, but certainly much better than before. But then he heard the same strange swirling sounds, coming from his friend’s beak. Realization struck him.

[Sul, no! The whimsurs will absorb your supersonic! (type of sound wave attack)] It was too late.

The swirling waves were all consumed by the two whimsur’s large felted ears.

[Oh! Whoops!] Sul shrieked as he felt another destructive wave strike his body. Feathers ruffled, he just hovered there.

Just then, one whimsur suddenly leapt up, hurtling towards Lark. What now? A tackle? A slightly scornful amusement percolated his thoughts.

He nimbly hovered, soft innocence playing in his eyes.

Pink head!—LASH! SLAP! SLAM! The taillow watched as the pink plump ball crashed to the ground.

[Take that.]

Meanwhile, Sulphur was desperately seeking a chance to counter-attack.

This whimsur lunged, double-slapped, down fell the gull!

[Fly up!]

At this, Sul snapped alert. With a flap, a breeze of air saved him just in time from the ground.

GASP!

The whimsur was rocketing at him! Sul pulled up, dodged, and fired!

“Whimsur!” It cried, the water struck, slammed it against a wall—unconscious next to its fellow whimsur.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Please tell me if there're any specific strengths or weaknesses with this. Thanks!

6/13/2009 . Edited by AbCarter, 9/9/2009 #10
Wildcard999

Revivals are encouraged, actually. You are doing us a favor. ^.~

Yes, Beyond rules! It's my main fandom (I'm so obsessed with Terry that it's starting to infect the other characters surrounding him.)

Overall, the strengths of this was your use of strong dynamic verbs: jarred, grabs, hobbles, jerks, whips....My favorite one was "Strength waning, Terry reaches a hand for Blue Crow’s face and frantically paws at it." For some reason I thought "pawed" sounded especially appropriate.

Thank you! Yeah, I chose 'pawed' because animals with paws are not known for their dexterity, and all he was trying to do was reach Blue Crow--accuracy wasn't even a blip on the radar of priorities.

This "re-emphasizing" was good for building up suspense: " it was the mask. He knew that mask."

Thanks. I hadn't even noticed that, I just go with what feels right. It's good to see that described in words though, thank you.

I'll take a look at my paragraphs, thanks. I've felt my paragraphs were really short for so long and I've been trying to make them longer; I never even considered there might be instances where this is a bad idea.

I'll have to come back later to take a look at your scene. I've only got six minutes left. I know Pokemon and Animorphs though.

6/13/2009 #11
Maryilee

“Stop touching your ear,” ordered Bond.

“Sorry?”

“Put your hand down,” said Bond urgently knowing that Mollaka would soon spot Carter.--get rid of the adverb and show Bond doing something like putting his hand on the other character's head and shoving it down.

Which he did.

Bond watched as Carter and Mollaka shared a look, both staring at each other. He rolled his eyes. Bloody hell. Now Mollaka knew that something was up. And he reacted on it by moving quickly back through the crowd. Carter followed, pulling out his gun and Bond wondered how M would feel if he shot the idiot.--It's always better to use an action verb instead of a weak verb and an adverb, especially in an action scene. Instead of 'moving quickly', could be dashed, raced, bolted, etc.

“Holster the bloody weapon, Carter,” said Bond urgently, “I need him alive,”--Same advice

He didn’t seem to hear him but suddenly Mollaka leaped from the stands, narrowly missing the viper’s fangs. Carter followed a moment after, tripping and pulling several others down with him as well as letting his gun go off. Bond cursed as the crowd began to move about in panic and for one brief second he lost sight of the target.--don't need suddenly in there at all. Just have Mollaka leap. Close your eyes and picture the scene as if you were Bond. If he can't see it or know it, your reader can't either.

Then Bond saw him again just making his way out of the arena. Bond quickly moved, jumping through an empty window and onto an iron roof. He started to race over it, looking to his right to see where Mollaka was on the ground.--don't need to tell the reader that he started to move--just have him race over it.

I'd go on, but most of the things I saw are repeats of what I've said already, just in other places.

Edit: well, it seems I responded to an old post. I guess I'll leave it in case the original poster comes back to see it.

Okay, new scene to critique.

BANG!

It sounded again, but seemed softer.--don't need seemed. I wish I had a strikethrough option on here for editing.

Sul asked, [Could we be getting further from it?]

[No. More likely that the enemy is being more careful and making less noise.] Wild anticipation whirled in Lark’s eyes, adrenalin shot through his body. --Good action verbs.

BANG! ---sounds written out like that make me cringe. I'd rather the characters react to the sound.

[Look out!]

Sharp rocks shot at them.

Lark dodged easily with grace, but Sulphur suffered a storm, completely taken by surprise. I believe my teammate will become more accustomed to this. He reassured himself. --that last bit seems like it shouild be with the thought in the same sentence. However, even attached correctly, I don't think I like it there. They are dodging rocks and yet that sentence sounds way too casual for the situation.

A blur of pink caught his eye.

Lark glanced at Sul, [So are you ready for your first battle?] He flexed his wing muscles and glared strongly at the adversaries.--don't need strongly, it weakens a good verb.

[Heh, not really.Wha—?!]

The blue and white bird veered away just in time from the right whimsur’s burst of waves. Instead, a tree behind him lost several branches and much of its bark.

[Sul, use your watergun!] Called the small taillow. Lark screeched as he launched a wing slap towards the left whimsur.--good. No problems there that I see with the second part. If the brackets are acting as quotes, then your punctuation is wrong for the first part. Called shouldn't be capitalized.

[Oh yeah, how could I forget? Take this!] A long compact column of water fired out. The pink whimsur dodged, leapt, wriggled its ears tauntingly.--need an 'and' after leapt.

[Ahhh!] Sul was struck back by another blast of noise. --better to show Sul's reaction than just the sound he makes. I'm not sure what the sound does to him, but here's an example--A blast of noise sent Sul hurtling back.

Lark the taillow wheeled around, expertly dodging the left whimsur’s desperate firings of sound waves. He spun, twirled, flitted and swung through all the possible paths in the air. His little body immersed in the midst of a wonderful rhythm.--I like that. Good picture.

I had to stop because I have no idea of this fandom and I got lost with what was happening here, but overall, it's not a bad action scene. There are places it could be tightened up. Look for -ly words and see if you need them. Most of the time, you don't.

6/13/2009 . Edited 6/13/2009 #12
severineyung

Darkwinter999:

Lol, seems like you might like Terry even more than Bruce Wayne, lol again.

Yeah, paragraph length is something to watch out for. Sometimes I suspect my paragraphs get too short as well, simply because I'm so insistent on "suspenseful"/ "snappy" effects. Probably it's best to see a healthy variety of paragraph lengths (They look more pleasing to the eye at least!)

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Maryilee

Thanks for your helpful comments!

I'm glad you like my two favorite parts:

"Wild anticipation whirled in Lark's eyes, adrenalin shot through his body"---yeah, I also feel strong action verbs are very important!

"Lark the taillow wheeled around, expertly dodging the left whimsur's desperate firings of sound waves. He spun, twirled, flitted and swung through all the possible paths in the air. His little body immersed in the midst of a wonderful rhythm.“ I took lots of time to word my exact 'mental movie' of this part, so I'm glad it paid off!

Yeah, I should be more careful of adverbs (or adjectives) that slow down the action.

As for the screaming [Ahhh!] and BANG (sound effect),

they could be effective to create immediacy. But I do see your point too, that they may seem a little rough/sudden/popping out. I'll definitely think about writing characters'

reactions to attacks instead of always relying on "AHHHH!", BANG! too much now.

6/14/2009 . Edited by AbCarter, 9/9/2009 #13
Wildcard999

Bruce and I have an odd relationship. To simplify things, lets say that I hate him. A lot.

Anyway, I'll read everything much more intensely tomorrow and toss in my own two cents.

Anyway, as for the 'Bang!' sound effect, I have to say that I agree with Maryilee for the most part, but sometimes it's necessary to write in the sound, then show the reactions afterwards. The only time I can recall doing this is when I had a guy hiding from a guy who kept shooting and getting uncomfortably close with his shots. And when the shooting stopped, the character, and the reader, were both supposed to think it was safe now.

Btw, Severineyung, careful about your enters. If you look back at this last post, you put them in the middle of your sentences, and that can make you less clear.

6/14/2009 #14
Wildcard999

First of all, I hate the brackets. I like alt 174/175 for this sort of thing. I think it looks better, and people aren't reminded of parentheses. It pretty much goes back to my time reading Animorphs. They used the arrows for thoughtspeak (telepathy), and I'm just used to that now.

BANG!

It sounded again, but seemed softer.

I disagree with Maryilee. I think that with the 'bang' happening over and over like this, it's pretty hard to do exclusively reactions. Isolated incidents should definitely be reaction only, but here you see it over and over again. And now the reader can sound it in their heads with that one word, instead of waiting through reading a bunch of words that infer the sound was heard. I think it's more immediate and real.

Sul asked, «Could we be getting further from it?»

«No. More likely that the enemy is being more careful and making less noise.» Wild anticipation whirled in Lark’s eyes, adrenalin shot through his body.

That sentence sounds weird not having an and or as in there. I'd replace the comma with and or as. Or alter shot to shooting.

BANG!

«Look out!»

Sharp rocks shot at them.

I need more info. Where are the rocks coming from? A wall? A pokemonattack? In front of them or behind? Or to the side? Or above or below? You need to be more specific here.

Lark dodged easily with grace, but Sulphur suffered a storm, completely taken by surprise. I believe my teammate will become more accustomed to this, he reassured himself.

Sulpher suffered a storm? What exactly does that mean? Some kind of poke-lingo for headache? You need a different noun or a different verb, because he either suffered a brain injury from the rocks, or he was pelted by a barrage. Also, thoughts really ought to be in a different font from prose, otherwise it's confusing. And James Patterson got it wrong when he made them separate sentences like that. It just looks wonky.

A blur of pink caught his eye.

Lark glanced at Sul, «So are you ready for your first battle?» He flexed his wing muscles and glared hard at the adversaries.

Hold on, who said that? Was it Lark or Sul? It looks like Lark, until the next line when someone is cut off and then Lark is being described. And as was said before, strongly has no business being there. Actually, I can't think of too many reasons to use the word strongly at all.

«Heh, not really.Wha—?!»

The blue and white bird veered away just in time from the right whimsur’s sonic burst. Instead, a tree behind him lost several branches and much of its bark.

I hate that veered and from are so far apart in that sentence. It's always awkward for me to read a bunch of stuff in between words like veering and what they are getting away from. I also think 'burst of waves' sounds weird. Waves can be gentle and often are. They aren't really dynamic or powerful unless it's a full storm and the waves are crashing or crushing.

«Sul, use your watergun!» Called the small taillow. Lark screeched as he launched a wing slap towards the left whimsur.

I thought it was whismur? Well, it's been a while and I never liked them anyway. They look ridiculous. Not at all like a taillow.

«Oh yeah, how could I forget? Take this!» A long, compact column of water fired out. The pink whimsur dodged, leapt and wriggled its ears tauntingly.

All lists need commas separating them. Even a list of adjectives for the same noun, or a list of adverbs for the same verb. And what is the water firing out of? I hate it when things fire out of ambiguous places, and it doesn't sound like Sul is doing the work, just the water. Another thing I dislike. The fighter taking a vacation while his weapons do the work. XP Also, the lack of ands is fast getting annoying.

«Ahhh!» Sul was struck back by another blast of noise.

Lark the taillow wheeled around, expertly dodging the left whimsur’s desperate firings. He spun, twirled, flitted and [wheeled/winged/flew] every which way, his little body immersed in the midst of a wonderful rhythm.

We know it's sound waves by now. It's the only attack they've used. Also, I'd replace firings with something more along the lines of 'attacks'. Flyers can't swing--nothing to hold on to. They do wheel around in large, graceful arcs though. I also think that 'every which way' sounds better than 'all possible paths through the air'. It sounds more random and confusing for the enemy.

«Lark! Watch out!»

He was struck full in the face by strange swirls of sound. Thick vapors streamed into his head, shattering his vision and whirling his thoughts. Powerful energies collided and struggled violently inside his body.

I love the imagery here. It's a very good and very powerful metaphor. Although, occasionally when someone is warned, the person doing the warning is struck suddenly. I'd tag that as Lark anyway, maybe in the second sentence. It's too long to wait with the next paragraph.

«Lark! Are you okay?» The wingull hovered above his confused friend and pink adversaries, a determination forming in his eyes.

The black taillow shook his head vigorously. He still felt woozy, but certainly much better than before. But then he heard the same strange swirling sounds coming from his friend’s beak. Realization struck him.

Such a short sentence, you don't need to put the adverb in the beginning. It just makes the reader pause and stare. Not good in the middle of a fight. The third sentence didn't need that comma. You could use a -- if you wanted to, but comma isn't right.

«Sul, no! The whimsurs will absorb your supersonic!» But it was too late.

Of course it's a soundwave attack. Please tell me that was for our benefit, and not actually in the fic. In the future though, I'd suggest putting ALL a/n-esque stuff at the beginning of your excerpts. Seeing that in there destroys the illusion. Thankfully, I caught it while altering all the brackets. As a new paragraph, 'it was too late' works, but the same one, you need 'but' in there to make it part of the same thought.

The swirling waves were [completely/nothing] consumed by the two whimsur’s large, felted ears.

All reminds me of little-kid writing. You don't need to say the sound waves were all consumed, but you can if you want with completely. And I might rename 'swirling waves' here unless you are trying to take it back to the previous paragraph.

«Oh! Whoops!» Sul shrieked as he felt another destructive wave strike his body. Feathers ruffled, he just hovered there.

That last sentence feels out of place with the rest of the paragraph. It looks like he's suddenly paralyzed or something. He's struck violently, then suddenly he's just hanging there like nothing is happening. You may need a transition to bring the two sentences together.

Just then, one whimsur suddenly leapt up, hurtling towards Lark. What now? A tackle? A slightly scornful amusement percolated his thoughts.

He nimbly hovered, soft innocence playing in his eyes.

Pink head!—LASH! SLAP! SLAM! The taillow watched as the pink plump ball crashed to the ground.

I think I'd prefer the play-by-play of his attacks. I can't even tell what the heck happened. It's sudden, yes, but to me there was a burst of action I couldn't follow, then everyone's still again. I couldn't see it.

«Take that.»

Meanwhile, Sulphur was desperately seeking a chance to counter-attack.

His whimsur lunged, double-slapped and down fell the gull!

«Fly up!»

At this, Sul snapped alert. With a flap, a breeze of air saved him from the fast approaching ground.

Never say 'at this', 'when he did this' or anything related to that. It sounds really amateurish. I also hate 'just in time' breaking up from and the noun. When you keep from and the nouns and verbs distant from each other, it makes your sentences feel long and winding. Fast approaching fixes this problem by connecting directly to the noun, as well as still indicating this was a last-minute save.

GASP!

Okay, this is an instance when Maryilee is totally right. Nix that. If you want suspense, have Sul notice something that indicates the whimsur is headed for him.

The whimsur was rocketing at him! Sul pulled up, dodged, and fired!

“Whimsur!” It cried as the the water struck, slamming it against a wall—unconscious next to its fellow whimsur.

I really don't like your list-like style. It just gets pedantic. Not the worst I've seen, but a problem. I also could not for the life of me determine where the heck they were. The rocks and the bangs from early on told me they were underground in tunnels, but they moved as though it was open air. That, and the tree was kind of out of left field for a tunnelscape.

Aside from those things, I can't see any problems with the action aspect of this excerpt. It's very fast and well timed to me, as well as having a good lack of non-verb description.

6/15/2009 #15
Ferret's Earmuffs

I have an action piece I just wrote. It's my first ever action scene, so I'm not entirely sure what I should be doing and if I did it right. It's for chapter 4 of my Teen Titans fic. It'll be the next chapter I upload and I want to make sure I'm doing it right before I get that done.

I think I should come back later when I have time and critique some of these, but I'm worried I don't know enough about action scenes to be of any use.

So here it is. It starts right after Garfield Logan contemplates the hair colours in a dream he had.

------

“Raven, is that your natural hair colour?”

She snapped to attention, stopping the sway of her feet so that she was standing a full foot behind Garfield. Her eyes narrowed, brow furrowed. “Why would you ask something like-”

Her question was cut off by a large man in a metal suit tackling her into an ally. Raven made a choking noise as his stone-grey fist gripped her neck, pinning her to a brick wall.

“Hey!” Garfield shouted. The man turned, a single eyehole piercing out of the orange half of his mask. The green teenager had time to register the same burning symbol from his dream, before he morphed into a bear and charged.

The masked man unclenched his fist, letting Raven crumple to the ground where she gasped for breath. He turned to the charging bear and took a stance. Garfield continued to run at him, and when it looked like he’d be crushed under massive trampling claws, the man dove, grabbing a fist-full of green fur, and vaulted over Garfield’s shoulder to land on the other side of the ally.

Stella, who had stumbled in to see the commotion, found herself standing next to the strange man. Her eyes widened and she made to bolt out the exit, but the man clothes-lined her. She tumbled to the ground with a cry and scrambled backwards. The man bent to pick her up before a blast of green energy sent him sprawling back into the ally.

“You will not harm my friends!” Starfire shouted. She stood at the edge of the street, her hands and eyes glowing fluorescent green in the dim light. As she fired up another surge of power, something dropped from the sky and smashed the strange man’s head with a bow staff.

It was a boy who appeared to be around the age of sixteen or seventeen. His black hair stood up in obviously gelled spikes (Garfield was jealous of how good he managed to make them look), and though his eyes were masked in a strange misty material, Garfield imagined he could see an intense fire and determination eating at his soul. His yellow, green, and red uniform told the occupants of the ally that he was none other than Robin, boy wonder.

“Wow,” Garfield said.

The strange man took the still silence as an opportunity to dodge a swing from Robin’s bow staff, slide under Garfield’s arm, and grab a recovering Raven around the waist. Raven swore, and made to pull away, but she froze as a burning symbol appeared on her forehead to match the man’s own. Her breath-rate increased, but the man merely slung her over his shoulder as if she was his own personal loot, and scaled a nearby ladder to the roof.

Robin bared his teeth and pulled a grappling hook out of his belt. He was soon flying through the air in pursuit. Starefire followed as if gravity was nothing but a child’s limitation. Garfield sifted through his repertoire of animals until he found one that could fly, and dove into the sky with the sweep of crow’s wings. Bellow him he heard Stella shout in protest, but he continued only slightly perturbed that he was leaving a pretty blonde girl alone in a dark ally.

On top of the roof he found the metal-clad man holding Raven out like a shield. Raven’s eyes were clenched as glyphs seared through her clothes and Robin was advancing on the man, his steps methodic. Starfire stood behind him, her face a mask of some alien animal she’d been harboring inside her. Garfield started forward, his sensitive ears picking up a deep whisper from the man’s throat.

“It’s starting Raven, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.” Raven screamed as her body suddenly convulsed, her hair creeping out of her scalp in purple strings so that Garfield had to take time to register that it was actually growing. The man’s grip tightened around her upper arms.

Robin seemed to have had enough and used his staff to hurtle himself over the man’s head so he was crouching behind him. He swung a kick at the man’s neck, and to retaliate, the man thrust Raven to the ground like yesterday’s laundry. He twisted around Robin until he had the boy in a head-lock. “She’s much more angelic than I imagined,” the man said. And he launched himself backwards over the edge of the building, kicking Robin onto the dirty roof with his metal boots.

“Damn it!” Robin scrambled to his feet and skidded to the edge of the building. He scowled into the night air. “Slade.”

6/15/2009 #16
Wildcard999

BB's last name is Logan? Huh. Yellow, mean kitty and a yellow, rabid X-man. Funny.

“Raven, is that your natural hair colour?”

She snapped to attention, stopping the sway of her feet so that she was standing a full foot behind Garfield. Her eyes narrowed, brow furrowed. “Why would you ask something like--”

Her question was cut off by a large man in a metal suit tackling her into an alley. Raven made a choking noise as his stone-grey fist gripped her neck, pinning her to a brick wall.

Spelling error. I'm pretty sure you meant a space between buildings, not one of her friends.

“Hey!” Garfield shouted. The man turned, a single eyehole piercing out of the orange half of his mask. The green teenager had time to register the same burning symbol from his dream before he morphed into a bear and charged.

Eyeholes don't 'pierce out'. They can be pierced into...ish. But I'd pick a different verb or instead talk about the single eye glaring out the orange half of the mask. And that comma didn't belong since it connected to the beginning of the sentence. If you segue in the middle of the sentence, you need a comma before and after the segue, or none at all. In this case, it's not much of a segue.

The masked man unclenched his fist, letting Raven crumple to the ground where she gasped for breath. He turned to the charging bear and took a stance. Garfield continued to run at him, and when it looked like he’d be crushed under massive trampling claws, the man dove, grabbing a fist-full of green fur, and vaulted over Garfield’s shoulder to land on the other side of the alley.

I'd be careful about really long sentences like this one. I think this is at least two, if not three sentences here at the end.

Stella, who had stumbled in to see the commotion, found herself standing next to the strange man. Her eyes widened and she made to bolt out the exit, but the man clothes-lined her. She tumbled to the ground with a cry and scrambled backwards. The man bent to pick her up before a blast of green energy sent him sprawling back into the alley.

Made to bolt? I'm pretty sure that's along the lines of 'fittin' to go'. I'd go with 'started to bolt'.

“You will not harm my friends!” Starfire shouted. She stood at the edge of the street, her hands and eyes glowing fluorescent green in the dim light. As she fired up another surge of power, something dropped from the sky and smashed the strange man’s head with a bo staff.

That's bo staff. No w.

It was a boy who appeared to be around the age of sixteen or seventeen. His black hair stood up in obviously gelled spikes (Garfield was jealous of how good he managed to make them look), and though his eyes were masked in a strange misty material, Garfield imagined he could see an intense fire and determination eating at his soul. His yellow, green, and red uniform told the occupants of the ally that he was none other than Robin, boy wonder.

Ditch the parentheses until later. Now really isn't the time for that info. Wait until Slade is done and everyone can relax. And don't do parentheses anyway. I hate it and it's a form of info dumping that is even less good in an action scene. Also, I'd dump the detailed descriptions until later. The first thing that jumps out at you when you see each of these guys is all you need. It's an action scene. Nobody notices much besides color and movement. When Slade is down and the Titans are relaxing, they are taking a closer look at each other and the world around them, and then they are noticing details like hair-style and uniforms.

Anyway, this is way too much for me to read in one shot, so maybe later.

6/16/2009 . Edited 6/16/2009 #17
Ferret's Earmuffs

Ugh, I'm so bad at finding those little spelling errors. I swear I read through it fifty times, but they seem so obvious now.

I see what you mean about "piercing out" and the comma. They don't seem to fit now that I look at it.

As for the "Made to bolt" Uh... I'm not sure I get what you mean. It seems to make sense to me, and I'm not sure what "fittin' to go" is. Maybe if you explained that a little more I'd get it?

And the last paragraph you critiqued was intentionally descriptive to show a temporary slow down in Garfield's fighting. The parentheses stays. It's a part of my writing style that replaces where I'd normally put footnotes because I can't stand writing footnotes in fanfiction. All the scrolling hurts my eyes and gets annoying if you have multiple footnotes and a long chapter. The note is an insight into Garfield's psych, showing that he idealizes Robin and helps explain why he temporarily stopped fighting. He's seeing his idol for the first time in his life and he's stunned.

At least, that's what I intended with that paragraph. You'll have to tell me if it worked once you finish reading it. I was hoping the amount of description in different sections would help demonstrate the pace of fighting at any given moment in the scene.

And thank you for the critique. I hope you can find the time to finish it before I upload the chapter.

6/16/2009 #18
Wildcard999

It's slang. It's not proper English grammar, that was my point. 'Made to bolt' may sound to other people the way 'fittin' to go' sounds to you. Nonsense.

My point about the parentheses is that you don't need them. You could easily have just said Garfield was jealous of Robin's hair without using parentheses, and it'd be less info-dumpy. And footnotes I'd ignore completely if I ever found them in fanfiction. As for BB being stunned, I can get that now, I just didn't know before. If he's slowed down, I can see that paragraph being okay, but you still didn't need the parentheses there. Like:

His black hair stood up in obviously gelled spikes, and he pulled them off so well that Garfield was jealous.

It doesn't need to be a footnote. It can be fit in without seeming out of place or as an aside.

6/16/2009 #19
Maryilee

And the last paragraph you critiqued was intentionally descriptive to show a temporary slow down in Garfield's fighting. The parentheses stays. It's a part of my writing style that replaces where I'd normally put footnotes because I can't stand writing footnotes in fanfiction. All the scrolling hurts my eyes and gets annoying if you have multiple footnotes and a long chapter. The note is an insight into Garfield's psych, showing that he idealizes Robin and helps explain why he temporarily stopped fighting. He's seeing his idol for the first time in his life and he's stunned.

Why in the world would you need footnotes in a fic anyway? In all the writing I've done over the last ten years, I have never once used a footnote to explain something. If the character has some odd quirk, show it, don't tell it--and especially not in the middle of a fight scene. What it does is it draws the reader completely out of the story as you stop the action to say "Psst! Btw, this character really likes his hair gel." --or whatever else it is you--the author-- want to tell the reader.

6/16/2009 . Edited 6/16/2009 #20
Wildcard999

Yeah, that's true. But there's a reason few professional authors use parentheses in their fics for something. It's just not necessary and pulls the reader out of the flow of the story. It's like a riverrock right in the middle of the stream. Try to send a paper boat down it, and you end up capsizing at the riverrock. Same effect with your readers. Too many, and you end up with a bumpy ride that takes forever to get through, and you might not like to try it again with a new tributary.

6/16/2009 #21
Ferret's Earmuffs

Whether you write footnotes into your stories isn't being questioned, but I do use them. I need to practice a bit, as it may not have been the best place to try it. I had deeper intentions when I put that there than to say he likes hair gel.

I may need to look more into how to use footnotes properly, but that doesn't mean I should stop just because it didn't work the first time.

Edit for Darkwinter: That's true, and it's reason why I have very few in my stories. It might even be the first or second I've used in the entire story, but the solution to learning the style isn't always to remove the notes, but to rewrite them.

6/16/2009 . Edited 6/16/2009 #22
Wildcard999

Exactly. I wasn't saying to remove the footnotes, just rewrite them so they work in the fic like the rest of the narration. You can put character thoughts and opinions in there next to objective statements.

6/16/2009 #23
Maryilee

They aren't footnotes if they are part of the narration.

6/16/2009 #24
Ferret's Earmuffs

Well I'm trying to decide if I should leave it in as is, or rewrite it as narration. The reason I chose to put it in parenthesis is because it doesn't fit into the tone of the paragraph. It's more lighthearted and an insight into a character's mind, rather than an intense observation of another character. I think if it really doesn't work out there, I'll have to take it out.

6/17/2009 #25
severineyung

That was a really helpful critique, Darkwinter999, I learnt a lot!

As for the brackets, hehe, I wanted to do the 'arrow brackets' (the ones you see surrounding a URL address) first, but fanfiction doesn't seem to allow that, it just deleted them. So I resorted to [....] Thanks, I didn't think of the guillemets, «....», and I'm glad they didn't get deleted this time!

You're quite right about my tendency of just 'listing' things with commas, and missing out too much detail which confuses the reader on the whereabouts. Gotta work on those.

I agree about the problem with leaving the verb and the result of the action too far apart. It's one of the many things I strive to improve on.

With a flap, a breeze of air saved him from the fast approaching ground.

Thanks, I felt the "just in time" phrase sounded dodgy as well, and I got really stuck on finding better words!

For the "At this"/ "When he did this" point: Yeah, it does somewhat slow down the pace unpleasantly. Thanks for pointing this out, it's another bad habit I'll have to try and avoid.

GASP!

Okay, this is an instance when Maryilee is totally right. Nix that. If you want suspense, have Sul notice something that indicates the whimsur is headed for him.

Thanks for the advice, I admit I'm sometimes too bent on using short words to create suspense that I overdo it! Perhaps I could flash a quick image of what Sul notices instead.

Don't worry, the (it's a soundwave attack) was just posted here in the forums, I'm aware not everyone's familiar with pokemon attacks.

"He was struck full in the face by strange swirls of sound. Thick vapors streamed into his head, shattering his vision and whirling his thoughts. Powerful energies collided and struggled violently inside his body."

I love the imagery here. It's a very good and very powerful metaphor.

Glad you like it! In fact, this was my imagination of how a confused pokemon would feel like. (e.g. Supersonic confuses them.)

Aside from those things, I can't see any problems with the action aspect of this excerpt. It's very fast and well timed to me, as well as having a good lack of non-verb description.

I'm happy you can feel the strength of this piece---its fast pace!

To Ferret Earmuffs,

I would love to critique your action scene, but I don't think I would want to, not yet anyway. It probably contains spoilers for "My Iconic Birthday"! But I'll read it after Chap 4 is out!

6/17/2009 . Edited by AbCarter, 9/9/2009 #26
Ferret's Earmuffs

Thank you for the critique. I've taken out the parenthesis. It doesn't work as a footnote and doesn't fit into the tone of the paragraph.

And yes, it does have spoilers for My Iconic Birthday. I put the warning out just in case you were worried about that :)

6/19/2009 #27
Wildcard999

You're welcome, Severineyung!

No, FFN doesn't omit any of the alt ### symbols, just a few symbols people used to spam with. And that includes the arrows. Actually, come to think of it, the arrows are the only ones I can think of that are automatically omitted. But I'm sure someone said it was because people spammed with them.

Yeah, I had to switch to «» when I found out the arrows won't stick.

Glad you like it! In fact, this was my imagination of how a confused pokemon would feel like.

I've actually felt that way before, so I know you are right. Well, I didn't feel exactly like that, but it was close enough that I can see it as really close.

Anyway, I'm glad I helped you. Good luck with your fic!

6/20/2009 #28
severineyung

“Raven, is that your natural hair colour?”

She snapped to attention, stopping the sway of her feet so that she was standing a full foot behind Garfield. Her eyes narrowed, brow furrowed. “Why would you ask something like-”

I liked the dynamism of “snapped”, it really sharpens the feel of Raven’s fury for us.

Her question was cut off by a large man in a metal suit tackling her into an alley. Raven made a choking noise as his stone-grey fist gripped her neck, pinning her to a brick wall.

The underlined sentence feels a bit too long that it prolongs the movement too much.I think the present participle (-ing form of a verb) “tackling” especially kills the rapid ‘jerk’ of action you’re probably aiming for—an ordinary ‘tackled’ feels faster.Also, the ‘large man’ seems to have erupted out of nowhere…do you really think Raven will register so much detail, that it was a ‘large’ ‘man’ in a ‘metal suit’ in that split second?Instead, you could illustrate Raven’s own reaction at the impact first: E.g. “Her question was cut off when something knocked the air out of her and her body flew back.Raven choked as a large man in a metal suit gripped her neck with his stone-grey fist, pinning her to a brick wall.”It’s when the action stops momentarily in the ‘grip’, that Raven’s eyes can finally absorb the exact appearance of her attacker.

“Hey!” Garfield shouted. The man turned, a single eye peering out of the orange half of his mask. The green teenager had time to register the same burning symbol from his dream before he morphed into a bear and charged.

Good word choice, ‘peering’, it makes Slade more eerie and sinister.Just a minor point, you could omit the words in the second sentence to make the scene feel even quicker, so it’d read, “The green teenager registered the burning symbol from his dream before he morphed into a bear and charged.”

The masked man unclenched his fist, letting Raven crumple to the ground where she gasped for breath. He turned to the charging bear and took a stance. Garfield continued to run at him. When it looked like he’d be crushed under massive trampling claws, the man dove, grabbing a fist-full of green fur, and vaulted over Garfield’s shoulder to land on the other side of the alley.

Nice use of dynamic verbs ‘dove’, ‘grabbing’ and ‘vaulting’.

Stella, who had stumbled in to see the commotion, found herself standing next to the strange man. Her eyes widened and she tried to bolt out the exit, but the man clothes-lined her. She tumbled to the ground with a cry and scrambled backwards. The man bent to pick her up before a blast of green energy sent him sprawling back into the ally. “You will not harm my friends!” Starfire shouted. She stood at the edge of the street, her hands and eyes glowing fluorescent green in the dim light. As she fired up another surge of power, something dropped from the sky and smashed the strange man’s head with a bo staff.

It was a boy who appeared to be around the age of sixteen or seventeen. His black hair stood up in obviously gelled spikes and though his eyes were masked in a strange misty material, Garfield imagined he could see an intense fire and determination eating at his soul. His yellow, green, and red uniform told the occupants of the alley that he was none other than Robin, boy wonder.

‘Eating at his soul’?I understand that Robin is a very energetic and eager superhero (especially in his obsessive pursuit of Slade in “Haunted”, lol), but this particular phrasing makes it appear that the ‘fire and determination’ are brutally destroying him, or sucking out his life.You probably didn’t mean to give this impression, so you might want to reword this.

“Wow,” Garfield said.

‘Said’ sounds like an understatement.You could change it to: “Wow,” Garfield was awestruck. At the same time, this lets you avoid using a ‘dialogue tagtoo! (These can really bog down the pace or even bore the more impatient readers!)

The strange man took the still silence as an opportunity to dodge a swing from Robin’s bo staff, slide under Garfield’s arm, and grab a recovering Raven around the waist. Raven swore, and attempted to pull away, but she froze as a burning symbol appeared on her forehead to match the man’s own. Her breath-rate increased, but the man merely slung her over his shoulder as if she was his own personal loot, and scaled a nearby ladder to the roof.

Again, I thought the ‘three-some dynamic verbs’ form (dodge, slide, grab) worked quite well for me as it vividly and swiftly showed the action, without becoming too ‘list-like’.

Robin bared his teeth and pulled a grappling hook out of his belt. He was soon flying through the air in pursuit. To Garfield it seemed that Starfire followed as if gravity was nothing but a child’s limitation. Garfield sifted through his repertoire of animals until he found one that could fly, and dove into the sky with the sweep of crow’s wings. Bellow him he heard Stella shout in protest, but he ignored her.

Oops, slight typo there:I’m sure you don’t mean the ‘bellowing’ of a cow or trumpet!

On top of the roof he found the metal-clad man holding Raven out like a shield. Raven’s eyes were clenched as glyphs seared through her clothes and Robin was advancing on the man, his steps methodic. Starfire stood behind him with an expression that swore vengeance. Garfield started forward, his sensitive ears picking up a deep whisper from the man’s throat.

It would sound less repetitive if you replaced “Raven” (the underlined one) with “Her”.Also, this clause ‘and Robin was…’ seemed to run hastily out from the previous clause. Instead, you could put in a bit more of a pause here: e.g. “Her eyes were clenched as glyphs seared through her clothes—all the while Robin advanced on the man, his steps methodic.”By the way, I really loved the ‘his steps methodic’ phrase, it describes without any clumsiness!

“It’s starting Raven, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.” Raven screamed as her body suddenly convulsed, her hair creeping out of her scalp in purple strings so that Garfield had to take time to register that it was actually growing. The man’s grip tightened around her upper arms.

Great word choice of ‘creeping’, it shows you the actual movement as well as the horror entailed for Raven.However, “had to take time to register” made the sentence a bit long winded and pedantic. I suggest something like: “Raven screamed as her body suddenly convulsed, her hair creeping out of her scalp in purple strings; then Garfield realized it was actually growing.”How about that?

Robin seemed to have had enough and used his staff to hurtle himself over the man’s head so he was crouching behind him. He swung a kick at the man’s neck, and to retaliate, the man thrust Raven to the ground like yesterday’s laundry. He twisted around Robin until he had the boy in a head-lock. “She’s much more angelic than I imagined,” the man said. And he launched himself backwards over the edge of the building, kicking Robin onto the dirty roof with his metal boots.

Again, the first sentence is quite long.You could shorten it with some commas, semicolons, periods or something: like “Robin had had enough.With a slap of his staff, he flung himself over the man’s head, and crouched behind him.” (I changed a few words just to make it snappier.Anyway, do you have to say Robin ‘seemed’ to have had enough?Or is “Robin had had enough” okay?)

The second sentence seemed to lack some speed in the middle. (Note that I am being perfectionist here, most readers probably wouldn’t mind this too much.)How about: “When the superhero kicked his neck, the man thrust Raven to the ground in retaliation like yesterday’s laundry.” (I changed the first part of this sentence to flow with my above sentence suggestion.Does Robin’s kick successfully hit Slade?If it does, I suggest omitting the ‘at’ his neck.)

“Damn it!” Robin scrambled to his feet and skidded to the edge of the building. He scowled into the night air. “Slade.”

Overall, great action scene!You seem to be quite good at selecting the right dynamic verbs to make us ‘feel’ the impact.But your main weakness is in occasionally writing overlong sentences.You could also replace dialogue tags with something more powerful, like an image that ‘shows’, rather than ‘tells’ us what’s happening as the character speaks.

__________________________________

Side note: Lol, yup, it's Garfield Logan alright. I had a laugh associating Beast Boy with Wolverine too!

6/20/2009 . Edited by AbCarter, 9/9/2009 #29
Ferret's Earmuffs

You have some excellent points (below, bellow... I really need a beta for those kinds of things). You're right about the long sentences. I often have trouble shortening them and making them still fit into my writing style, but I can make sure to be more careful about them in later scenes.

One thing I'd like to point out though is my story is written in third person limited. This scene was done from Garfield's point of view, so to say, for example, that "Robin had had enough" would imply that Garfield can read his mind. Though it might have been possible to make a better show in that sentence. I'm not sure.

Thank you for the critique. It will certainly be helpful for future writing. And ya, I had a good laugh too when I found out his name was Garfield Logan. The fat cat wolverine image is an odd one to picture.

6/21/2009 #30
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