Action before reaction
By Janice Seagraves
Have you ever written anything like this?
Example: Megan screamed as a big, ugly boar stuck its head in the tent opening.
Do you see what's wrong here?
My editor pointed out that Megan reacts by screaming, before the action. The boar’s head is even in the tent yet, before she's screaming her head off.
Always, she told me, remember action before reaction.
Correct: A big, ugly boar stuck its head through the tent opening. Megan screamed.
Always put the action first.
Whether you follow up with action, emotion or internal thought, the action (boar) that provoked the reaction (scream) has to come first.
Ah, I got it.
Here’s the scene with the corrections:
Correct: Just as the sky started to lighten, Megan woke to a grunt and a rustling noise just outside her tent. “Who’s there?” She quickly unzipped her tent.
A big, ugly boar stuck its head through the opening. Megan screamed.
“Huh?” grunted the scarred boar. It tried to hook her with its tusk.
“Get out! Get out!” Megan shrieked, scrambling back to reach under her pillow. She heard something ripping as she jerked her head back to the tent opening.
The pig had gotten a tusk stuck in the tent’s door flap. It whipped its head back and forth, trying to get loose.
“Damn wanker,” she yelled. “You’re tearing my tent.”
My website: http://janiceseagraves.org/
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XUAMBhl76k