It's been a while since I first read and reviewed this book, and now I'm increasing its rating to FIVE stars. Why? Well, every time I write an action scene I think about this book. I think it makes me better. And that's deserving of full marks.
I found this useful, but it didn't blow me away. I'm giving it four stars because it gave me something invaluable: confidence. I can write good action scenes. And it got me thinking about what I'm trying to accomplish with my action scenes and how I should put the various parts of the scene together to accomplish that.
All of this book was useful. But in my opinion, the most useful aspect of this book didn't get enough attention. It was thrown in toward the end in a section designed to provide additional tips. I'm talking about pacing
. Throughout the book, the author told me about stunts, which make up engagements, which make up sequences, and he described various kinds of engagements and what to think about for each kind of engagement. All this was very informative and increased my confidence level by giving me a frame of reference.
But how do I write a stunt? That's the building block of an action scene. All through the book, I kept thinking, "Okay, but how?"
I think my action scenes tend to be too mechanical--probably a downside of my being a patent attorney during the day. So how do I write action scenes that flow and excite? The author finally got into this issue while wrapping things up at the end of the book. And what he had to say about pacing was invaluable. But I wanted him to say more, and I wanted him to say it sooner.
So if you decide to read this book, and I absolutely recommend it, then I suggest you skip to the end and read the pacing section first.