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Shoop’s Last Boost
Style Tips for the Man of Action Writing Adventure Stories


My apologies to Toker for taking so long on this article

There are various ways of writing action. One of my favorites is Robert E. Howard’s atmospheric mode of using totemic and elemental imagery to develop a mythic sense for extreme action, particularly in the Conan and Kull yarns, though he does more biomechanical treatments with some other characters. There is always a blending of the two, in various measures.

Most writers of fiction rely on extensive mapping and planning and choreography of fight scenes, for instance. Conversely, writers of different types with experience in combat—such as Howard’s recreational boxing, and Wolfe’s infantry combat in Korea—will achieve a more dynamic read by winging it. I don’t plan action scenes, but base them on actual micro-actions from real experiences and then extrapolate in various ways, depending on the story genre and character type.

The storywriter is trying to get the reader to turn the page and keep reading. But, in an action scene or during dialogue he is trying to prevent the need to reread for detail so that the readers stay engaged as the tempo of the story picks up.

As a general rule I prefer to write action, dialogue and atmosphere [scenery], background, reflections and mechanical narrative [Like, “Shoop headed down the alley] in separate paragraphs.”

Tips:

-When you mix dialogue with other elements try to start or finish with the quote.

-During dialogue, try to avoid confusion by not quoting more than one character in the same paragraph.

-If your action is based on your own experience and knowledge [and therefore probably includes a lot of mechanics] keep your paragraphs of action content shorter than your scene-setting paragraphs or at least no longer.

A sample story written as a block of text and then rearranged is provided below:

Shoop’s Last Boost

First Draft—just chunked out.

All corrections are made to the arranged text. This is just how it came out without attention to text arrangement. I have not added punctuation, broke run-on sentences, or corrected spelling in this first version.

The cops had been bringing the heat to Shoop and his crew, so he, being “the big-brained nigga of the kru,” had told the others to lay low while he went full creationist up in this bitch. Creationism was in small supply among the BGF ever since old TW got popped and it was about time that creationivity was applied to boosting these gentrified bitchez cars. So, Loopy, his needle-loving sister was always neglecting Lille Richard, her light-skinned baby from that cop that used to bang her rather than arrest her. Since having that kid, she hadn’t been worth shit as a mulebitch, so here he was, with Little Richard toddling along besides him, the effect cover, “Father and son.” These dumb white mutherfuckers doen moved in from Don’t-know-what’s-up-wherever, would just think Snoop had made good, workin’ that bitch-ass Walmart job and whatnot.

Shoop headed down the alley holding Little Richard’s tiny-ass hand looking for that sleek-ass Mercedes that Mexican-Joe had told him about behind this row of houses-then slippy-slide that little guy got loose and was climbing over that white picket fence behind the old burnt out house that didn’t even have a car parked behind it at this early hour. “What da fuck?” he thought to himself, then realized he couldn’t yell for his sister’s baby, and leaped over the little fence and ran that sucker down…almost, he did. Because, just as he was about to put his hand to that little hooded shoulder he heard the snarl of the thing jetting up from the bushes just before it latched onto his arm and yanked his ass down onto the damp ground. He could see little Richard make t up on the porch and reach for the doorknob even as the snarls of three other beasts reached his ears in answer to the hungry-throated growl of the one that had him down. Somehow Little Richard was opening that door as those teeth begin to crack his arm bones and he would have squealed like a bitch if one of those other sets of eyes hadn’t disappeared below his chin and shut off his cry for apathy like a four saws shutting off his life breath even as two other sets of jaws clamped onto his ankles and dragged him—oh snap, in different directions…

Arranged Text

I did some basic rewriting on the last paragraph, seeking a reader pause in the middle of the final moment of Snoop’s career.

The cops had been bringing the heat to Shoop and his kru, so he, being “the big-brained nigga of the kru,” had told the others to lay low while he went full creationist up in this bitch.

Creationism was in small supply among the BGF ever since old TW got popped and it was about time that creationivity was applied to boosting these gentrified bitchez cars.

So, Loopy, his needle-loving sister, was always neglecting Little Richard, her light-skinned baby from that cop that used to bang her rather than arrest her. Since having that kid, she hadn’t been worth shit as a mulebitch, so here he was, with Little Richard toddling along besides him, the perfect cover, “Father and son.” These dumb white mutherfuckers that done moved in from Don’t-know-what’s-up-wherever, would just think Snoop had made good, workin’ that bitch-ass Walmart job and whatnot.

Shoop headed down the alley holding Little Richard’s tiny-ass hand , looking for that sleek-ass Mercedes that Mexican-Joe had told him about behind this row of houses—then slippy-slide that little guy got loose and was climbing over that white picket fence behind the old burnt out house that didn’t even have a car parked behind it at this dark and early hour.

“What da fuck?” he thought to himself, then realized he couldn’t yell for his sister’s baby, and leaped over the little fence and ran that sucker down in the long shadows of the nearly fallen moon…

…Almost, he did. Because, just as he was about to put his hand to that little hooded shoulder, he heard the snarl of the thing jetting up from the bushes just before it latched onto his arm and yanked his ass down onto the damp ground.

He could see little Richard had made it up on the porch and was reaching for the doorknob even as the snarls of three other beasts reached his ears in answer to the hungry-throated growl of the one that had him down. Somehow Little Richard was opening that door as those teeth begin to crack into his arm bones.

He would have squealed like a bitch if one of those other sets of eyes hadn’t disappeared below his chin and shut off his cry for apathy like four saws shutting off his life breath. Then, in a moment of gurgling, back-arching panic, he felt two other sets of jaws clamp onto his ankles and begin to drag him—oh snap, in different directions…

*****

I hope that helps, Toker. And if you have a story you’d like me to take a look at feel free to send it along.

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