Marilynn Byerly

 

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Suddenly, a Pirate Ship Loomed Over the Horizon

 

Marilynn Byerly

 

QUESTION: In action scenes, I use the phrases "suddenly" or "all of a sudden" a ridiculous amount of times when describing fast paced action scenes. What other words or phrases can I use?

 

If you write the scene correctly, you don't need "suddenly" or any other synonym or phrase. The reader is usually smart enough to know the fighters in a physical battle are moving fast so everything is "suddenly" unless we say otherwise.

The trick is to get into the head of one of the characters and stay there. Let the reader see what the character sees and feel what the character feels.

You don't say,

Suddenly, the other fighter pulled out his knife and jabbed at him.

You say,

Sam dodged the other man's fist. The hand that should have been blocking his next blow moved downward toward the man's knife sheath.

A flash of steel.

Throwing himself backward away from the other man's knife, Sam slammed into the ground on his back.

Or, if you are describing a battle of many men, you don't say

Suddenly, a line of cavalry surged over the top of the hill toward them.

You say,

On the hill just above them, the drumming of many horse hooves and the Rebel yell of hundreds of men warned them.

 

The soldiers spun around as the Confederate cavalry charged down the hill toward them.

THE END

 

Copyright 2008 by Marilynn Byerly

 

This article may be reproduced, but only with the permission of Marilynn Byerly (marilynnbyerly@aol.com). It must contain the byline and copyright information.

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