I really enjoy writing action scenes and what I could call scenes of peril. As a result I try to put lots of these into my stories. For me, I try to remember two things.
If I’m doing lots of action, I like to change up the formula. What I mean by this is that if I am writing something action heavy, the Winston & Baum books for instance. I try to always change up the challenge. Because Winston & Baum are exterminators of the Strange & Weird, it allows me to have a wide range of adversaries to throw at them. For these steampunk themed adventures, our intrepid exterminators tend to find themselves facing off against beings of great power with minions at their disposal or an alliance of fiends. This allows me to switch up what creatures they are facing and it also means they have to keep on their toes, because not all monsters can be killed in the same manner.
Winston & Baum allows me to throw multiple threats at the characters and it creates a more action filled adventure. However, When I was writing my first novel, Friedkin’s Curse: A Werewolf Tale of Terror, I did not have characters that fought the supernatural everyday as the center of the story. Rather, I focused on a group of friends stuck at a school fighting werewolves. Instead of relying on the variety of adversaries in Winston & Baum, I was forced to place a much greater deal of peril on the characters. I still put action into the story and there is plenty of violence and gunplay, but I added a different element to the mix. Since I did not want to add additional types of creatures to the story, I relied on a much more realistic challenge: distrust. Our main characters cannot trust the majority of the people around them. The other characters trapped at the school or the military, which has shown up chasing the werewolf. Any of them could have become a werewolf and won’t show until moon falls. Also the military seems to be more concerned with capturing the werewolf than saving lives. As a result there is less action in the story but a much greater sense of danger.
A quick note, Winston & Baum is a steampunk adventure, therefore it needs to be adventurous, hence lots of action and adventure. Friedkin’s Curse is a horror story and it isn’t nearly as effective if everyone is properly armed and trained. So your genre can also define how you go about creating the atmosphere of your story as well as whether you want to be heavy handed on the action or the peril.
Both of the works mentioned here are novels. I’ll be writing a blog soon about short story writing. So please stay tuned for that and if you’re interested, click on the pictures below to visit the amazon page for my books.