View Full Version : How Much Action Is To Much Action?
I know that authors are sometimes criticized for using too much action in their novels. But, if you have a solid storyline and do have character development, is it all right for the story to be mainly action? The majority of my novel so far revolves around action sequences, but also is heavily connected to the element of adventure in general.
Is it considered acceptable of maybe 70% of the novel is composed of action and adventure sequences if the novel isn't just pointless killing and actually has a decent plot and such?
I enjoy reading because it's a break in reality but if the book is WAY too overboard and not believable then you're probably looking at too much action. My characters while fictious have all the same limitations that you do. Adrenaline dumps, sweat, shaking, sleep depravation and the like. Could anyone do the "too much" action you talk about? I like fiction but it's got to be believable.
So are you saying that if the action is believable (yes) and that the character has human flaws (yes) than it is alright for a story to have lots of action? My character is hindered by several flaws other than the more typical ones you listed and the action, in my opinion is realistic. Although the action is nearly continous, he isn't immortal. He gets shot and wounded, feels exhausted, and screws up.
Don't forget about making the reader think. That's one of the reasons why Agatha Christie books have remained so popular for so many years. Imagine a murder mystery where there are so many suspects that it boggles the mind. Either nobody killed the victim or all 23 of them did. One thing that most writers can't or don't do is explain how the main character's sense for survival kicks into play. Mickey Spillane used to explain it almost but then Mike Hammer was always getting knocked out just before he could defend himself. Mike had a lousy sense of survival but a fantasically hard skull.
If you have to ask, then you have too much action. Back when I was writing (just for fun) I did serialized short stories. I tried to have an action scene in each installment and looking back, it was WAY too much. Thinking about most "quality" books, the action is rather limited. I think the Bernard Cornwall "Sharpe" books have a good mix. Start with a good fight, throw in a few small ones in the middle, then end with a bang. Any other fights ought to be refered do, not described in detail.
Otherwise I think you bore the reader with repititous scenes. Unless every battle is unique (knife fight, sniper shoot, artillery strike, chase, jet ski battle) having multiple similar fights is redundant.
Of course the subject matters. If you are describing a war with a big cast of characters, then it might be ok. But for the typical "lone wolf" spy/action books, continuous fights limit the book, IMHO.
In response to Herd Sniper, I've been trying to make the readers both think and feel for my character. I'll be the first to admit the novel is almost entirely elongated action sequences, with the thinking and such woven into the action.
In response to Jason, I'm trying to make the multiple action sequences that make up much of the book as different as possible (different locales, assailants, ect.) The story could be catagorized as somewhat of a war story with an adventure serial flavor, so I'd like to think the amount of action is plausible.
My goal in writing this novel isn't to have an thoughtful tale with romance and deep personal meaning but rather to create and action serial that makes you think and feel. I'm trying to add in as much realistic history as possible.
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