When describing action in your novel, you want a fast pace and a flowing rhythm. Action is meant to be the element that drives the story forward, so make sure the actions in your narrative does just that.
To ensure that happens, you need to watch out for a few things:
- Keep adverbs in check. Don’t use more than one adverb at a time and don’t use any at all unless it’s necessary. If you must use one, put it either at the start or at the end of the sentence, avoiding inserting it anywhere in the middle. While adverbs strengthen weak verbs, your prose will flow better if you just find a strong verb to replace the combination.
- Details are good, but eschew unnecessary ones. Only describe the details that are actually pertinent to what’s going on. While citing some goings-on in the environment can help set mood, that’s not what you’re doing when writing action descriptions. More likely than not, those will just halt the development of the scene.
- Write in your viewpoint character’s language. That is, imagine the kind of language choices that will come naturally to your viewpoint character and make sure your action descriptions are written in that manner. It’s easy to lose sight of this when describing action, as you tend to project outwards at what’s happening. At the least, try to catch this during revision to guarantee the narration sounds congruent.