Action, Action, Action

My friend and fellow teacher, David Blinkhorn, posted the following on our school website.

It bears repeating.

Dean R. Koontz knows the need for action in everyone’s writing. He says:

  • “Authors of so-called ‘literary fiction’ insist that action, like plot, is Actionvulgar and unworthy of a true artist. Don’t pay any attention to misguided advice of that sort. If you do, you will very likely starve trying to live on your writing income. Besides, the only writers who survive the ages are those who understand the need for action in a novel.”

No better advice for the emerging writer. I remember back to when I started to write seriously. One of the seasoned vets of my critique group took me aside to tell me that the wonderful description of my tower high on the mountain wasn’t worth a damn unless I had a fiery airplane break through the sun-soaked clouds. Readers want action not pages and pages of description. Something needs to happen, some conflict needs to appear on each page of your story. Action is what we play in our heads as we visualize the words of the writer. As readers, we want to turn the words into action.

ConflictFind a way to put action and conflict on every page and you’ll find success. Your story will interest your readers and they will keep coming back for more. As Dean Koontz says you’ll never starve.

David Blinkhorn.


9 responses to “Action, Action, Action

  1. I don’t know, Ed. I don’t want to be difficult, but while the advice above is great for people who want to write commercial fiction, I don’t think it applies to everyone, nor should it. Might as well tell Prokoffiev (sp?) that he should be writing waltzes if he wants to make a buck. Maybe, but there’s room for more in art than just making a buck.

    • Danielle, obviously we’re on two different pages. Its all art and that’s the point with the elitist literary types. They don’t get that. All fiction should be commercial. All fiction should be art. There is no in between. I fall on the side of the great story teller every time. That’s art. A good mystery is just about as artsy as you can get if its done well. King and Koontz certainly don’t get the respect they deserve because they are financially successful and too “low brow” for some who can’t do what they do… Write compelling stories. Oh and Prokofiev did write waltzes.

      • Oh dear, David, we really are on different pages. I don’t believe for a second that ALL commercial fiction is art, just as there are some great books that are still around today that didn’t sell well at the time. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all happily sneering at the ‘literary’ lot over here in Oz too! And I happen to LOVE Robert E Howard. ‘Literary’ types faint when I tell them that. Story is definitely where it’s at – but story isn’t always action. Just my take. (Thanks about Prokoviev, I grabbed an example out of the blue – I was in a hurry.)

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