A Chance for Input on Your Work
Breaking Down the Action Scenes

Circle Around Gloria

IMG_9678Hey, Writerly Women. Your response to the idea of putting excerpts of your work here on the blog and asking for help was awesome.

   "I'd love to do this!"

   "Such a good idea."

   "I'm up for it."

   "When does this start?"

    How about right now?

    GLORIA sent me a snippet, so let's gather around her in what wonderful writer Parker Palmer calls a Circle of Trust. (By the way, his book A Hidden Wholeness is amazing. Love me some Parker Palmer). It works this way:

    * You read Gloria's piece and her questions.

     * In a comment, you tell her what you like about the piece. That always comes first.

  • Then address her question by ASKING questions. "What does the scream sound like?"   "What are the soldier's eyes like?" "How big is the window?" That way, Gloria can figure out what she needs to do by answering those questions. Get the idea?

All right, then. I give you GLORIA:

    He spun around.  There, standing in the doorway, was a soldier in silver uniform.  Screams rose beyond the door.  Wilford’s eyes darted to his own sword, resting on a chair.


     On the other side of the room.


    “Is something wrong?” The soldier smirked, but he wasn’t listening.  They were under attack.


     Get out, he had to get out.


     He ran for his sword, ripping it out of its sheath and whirling around.  The soldier had come in and stopped mere feet away, his hand resting idly on the pommel of his sword.  The smirk grew bigger, as though knowing who would win the fight.


      The soldier drew his weapon.


     Wilford swung his blade and the soldier jumped back easily.  Another swing, and the two swords met.  He heard another scream.


     More were coming, he had to get out.


     Hacking and swinging, he pushed the soldier back until he was against the wall, the clash of steel ringing in his ears.  He had to finish this, then escape before others came.  Through the window, perhaps.  The swords met once more and he pressed down, his blade inching closer to the exposed neck . . .

      GLORIA'S QUESTION: I'm hoping for input on how to write action/fight scenes, because it isn't sounding very smooth to me. 

She's all yours, ladies. Let's surround her with encouragement and get-her-thinking questions. Kenzie at retreat I personally am licking my chops - but I'll save my comments for our next post.

If you want us to circle YOU and YOUR excerpt, just email me. We are all in this together.





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Thank you everyone! These encouragements and questions really help me figure out where I need to concentrate to make it better. :)

Jennifer L Guyer

I like how you showed us what was going on in Wilfred's head. You included things he saw and heard and felt making the scene more visible in my mind. His motivations were clear. Although I was wondering what the soldier's motivation was for not drawing his sword faster? If he knew he was going to win how did he let Wilfred back him against the wall so easily?

Margie Wood

Really good description. I immediately could see the scene, like I was watching a movie.

As Nancy mentioned above, I'm curious about the screams. Are they screams of extreme fear? Screams of pain? A battlecry of sorts?

Was the soldier in the doorway taller/larger than Wilford, intimidating him?

If Wilford isn't a soldier, why is he there?

Good job, Gloria. Best wishes as you revise this scene!


I really like the action in this scene, especially when Wilford begins fighting with the Soldier. I also like the feeling of urgency that grows as the scene progresses. We know right away that Wilford needs to get out of there, even though we don't know why yet. One question that comes to mind is where does this scene take place, and what is the mood/feel of the setting? Also, why is the soldier attacking him? How is what's happening personal to Wilford? What is he afraid of?

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