Action Sequence

An action sequence is a very short story that focuses almost entirely on action.

Step One: Identify the Problem

Most action stories are based on the following problems. Choose one:

  • The Chase: Someone or something is chasing the protagonist.
  • The Escape: The protagonist is trapped and tries to escape.
  • The Showdown: The main character must battle or stand up to the antagonist.
  • The Attack: Someone or something attacks the main character.
  • The Impossible Mission: The main character has to overcome a set of ridiculous obstacles.

Step Two: Exposition

The exposition in an action sequence is very short. You only need to provide enough detail for the coming action to make sense.

Use the following questions to help plan your exposition:

  1. Who or what is the protagonist?
  2. Who or what is the antagonist? Depending on your story, you may choose to wait until The Reveal to introduce your antagonist, rather than doing so in the exposition.
  3. Where does the action take place?

Step Three: The Reveal

In order to make your action sequence as exciting as possible, it is important to use suspense to slowly reveal the antagonist. The chart below is an example of how to use sensory details to create suspense by increasing stress.

Action Sensory Suspense

Step Four: Brainstorm Problems

Think of all the problems your protagonist could encounter in trying to overcome the antagonist.  Use a continuum to organize them from minor to major problems.Action Problems

Step Five: Link Problems with Outcomes

Choose 5 problems from your brainstorm that go well together. Organize them in a list from most minor to most major. Beside each problem create a logical outcome that also leads into the next problem.

Imagine your story is about being chased by an animal in the woods.

  1. stumble – animal gets closer
  2. trip on a branch – hurt your ankle and run slower
  3. animal jumps on you – you dive and the animal falls off
  4. animal bites your leg – you kick the animal off and run
  5. animal knocks you down – you grab a stick and stab it in the eye so it runs away

Step Six: Put it all Together

Take your plan and all your ideas and use them to write an amazing action sequence.

Dogs Don’t Like Horseplay