I have a lot of difficulty with describing the actions of characters.

As the title suggests, I have trouble with describing the actions of my characters. I don't see myself as a great writer, as I am still learning, but something I have struggled with since I started was with the actions of my characters. I can't think of any good ways to describe their actions without it being bland and repetitive.

The biggest example is writing a fight scene. What I'm writing in this case is medieval fantasy and I cannot think of creative ways to describe the fights without reusing a word way too many times, like 'He' or the characters name.

I also struggle with any regular actions the characters take during dialogue, mainly with their facial expressions or how they may move while sitting down.

I would greatly appreciate if someone could help me or at least give me some suggestions on how to tackle this problem. Thank you.

Comments for I have a lot of difficulty with describing the actions of characters.

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Feb 25, 2014
Describing actions
by: Audrey


Your problem is one many people share. Here are a few ideas that may help you.

First of all, reusing the word he is not a problem. Pronouns stand in for nouns and pass by almost unnoticed.

Now down to the bigger issues:

1. Read, read, read! Read action stories. If you don't have a library full of these stories, ask your public librarian for suggestions.

2. After you read, think, think, think about how the writer handled the action. Use each scene as a pattern, but make it your own. For example, if you read about a sci-fi clash between aliens, rewrite it as a scene between two cats, or kids, or teens.

3. Notice how much description published writers use on inconsequential actions or facial expressions. I think you will find that they use almost none. Describe only what the reader must know. If someone sits down, simply saying, "He sat down," is often enough. If you take the time to say, "Bending at the knee, and leaning forward slightly, he lowered himself into the chair," the reader has to pay a great deal of attention to that action. Time and words spent signal importance. Be sure that what you describe MUST be described. Will the story fall apart without the description? If not, toss it.

Finally, you can ask other writers to help. Write scenes and share them with other writers you trust, asking for input. Of course it's a good thing if you also give some input into things others struggle with as well.

If you don't want to share your writing with others, you might consider an educative edit, which will allow you to work on this topic until you feel confident in your ability. You can learn more about the educative edit at https://www.writershelper.com/educative-edit.html.

I wish you well with your writing.

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