Plunge Right into the Action!

You caught me.  I admit it.  I’m a huge Die Hard movie fan (see photo above of Bruce Willis as John McClane from Die Hard).

I love to write action and fight scenes in my novels.  I’m not quite sure what that actually stems from, but I thrive on ways to figure out interesting and sometimes very physical ways to get my main character Emily Stone out of trouble.  And if she has to fight, then she’ll fight her way out of the situation especially if a child’s life is at stake.  Characters are not always going to have a gun or armed backup at their disposal, so Emily Stone gets creative, savvy, and at times a little physical.  It’s my favorite kind of writing challenge!

When I first began writing thrillers, I hesitated a bit when it came to writing action scenes.  I think I was under the impression that women don’t write fight scenes about women fighting.  Maybe it was one of those unwritten “no nos”?  Well, I threw caution to the wind and decided to take the plunge right into the action.  I’ve never looked back!

I strategically figure out in my mind and on paper all the different ways for my heroine to get herself out of the situation and all of the dangerous things that could happen to her.  I see the scene unfold like a play and the players (characters) are like chess pieces that I can move around in different ways.

My background in writing screenplays definitely has played a big part in my ability to write action comfortably.  Writing a screenplay is all about action and dialogue.  I highly recommend for a novelist to learn how to write screenplays because it’ll pump up your storytelling action skills.

For my efforts and enjoyment of writing action, Dark Mind is a 2012 finalist at Readers Favorite for Fiction/Action.  I’m very excited that the action category has taken notice of Emily Stone.  On September 1st, it will be announced if Dark Mind will receive a medal.


Here’s an action excerpt of Dark Mind taken from Chapter 3:

Emily’s odds for escape now doubled with two people in the house, instead of just one man with a shotgun.

Her uncertainties now realized.


Small steps forward, left foot, right foot, then pivoting to the left and spinning around to face her attacker, Emily pounced on the man, pressed against him close enough to smell his sickly sweat, and shoved the shotgun upward blasting off a shot through the ceiling.  Splinters and chunks of drywall sprinkled the living room like an early snow dusting of winter in the mountains. 

The room echoed from the blast.  A couple of seconds passed before the world had normal audible sounds.

Emily knew she couldn’t over power the man, but she used her quick self-defense moves to her advantage. 

Momentarily stunned, the man blinked twice and before he could retaliate, Emily slammed the heel of her right hand into his face making direct contact with his nose.  Blood instantly spurted from his membranes and she felt the slippery, warm liquid on her hand spattering her face and white t-shirt. 

Rage and adrenaline pumped through her body and catapulted her forward as she landed a solid right hook on his jaw.  He didn’t stand a chance and dropped to the floor.  The shotgun flew, completing one full revolution, end over end, and rested next to the sagging couch. 

Fighting the urge to kick his face repeatedly for what he had done to the little girl in the basement, Emily took a set of plastic zip ties from her pocket, rolled the bleeding man on his side, and expertly looped his hands.  She pulled them tight – too tight.  She didn’t care.  He moaned, dazed by the blitz attack.

Just as Emily turned to find an entrance to the basement to find Cassie, a large, muscular man with dark tattoos that seemed to ooze around his grubby white tank top grabbed her by the neck and pushed her backwards onto the couch.  Her fall wasn’t cushioned and she could feel every sofa steel spring jab into her back.  Pain pierced her spine.  The hulk of a man pressed his body against Emily and squeezed the air from her lungs. 


He groped at her sides and at her jeans in a frenzy of excitement. 

She couldn’t move her arms or wiggle her body loose from his enormous weight thrust against her one hundred-fifteen pound frame.  Slowly turning her head to the left, she saw the dark inked flesh of his right shoulder and sunk her teeth deep into the muscle.  The powerful human jaw cut through soft tissue and then sliced through the muscle.  He cried out in agony with an animal wail, retreating long enough for Emily to slide out from under him and hit the uneven wooden floor.  Emily crawled toward the shotgun and prayed that it had another bullet in the chamber.

Before she could reach the gun, she was tugged roughly by her hair, dragged a couple of feet backward, picked up like a rag doll, and thrown to the floor on the other side of the room.  The huge man sporting a long ponytail stood in front of the door blocking any means of escape for Emily. 

Bleeding from his shoulder, red ooze seeped further down his shirt as he stood staring at her with a wide, terrifying smile on his face, reminiscent of the inbred family member intent on wreaking havoc on any unsuspecting visitor who happened upon their place in the woods.  It piqued some type of sick, twisted game to him.  He was oblivious to his partner lying on the floor whimpering softly and didn’t care if he were alive or dead.  His focus was on Emily as his personal sadistic plaything until he killed her. 

Not clear if he was a brutal psychopath or merely a caged wild animal that acted as the muscle partner in crime, Emily knew she was out manned, out maneuvered, and out gunned. 

She stood up shakily and readied herself in a standoff against her opponent.  Her options were to hope that Rick would rescue her, probably not going to happen soon enough, or hand-to-hand combat with an overdriven testosterone, dominated Neanderthal, which was highly unlikely, or plan three… 

She tried to stand up straight to size up the fervent man as a sharp, searing pain exploded down the base of her neck to her lower back, like a lightening bolt, which caused her knees to quiver.  Light headed with difficulty breathing, Emily remembered her early training at the police academy, which seemed like another lifetime ago.  She kept her physical training updated even though she wasn’t a sworn police officer anymore. 

She pushed off with her left foot and took three well-placed steps, covered her face leading with her elbows, and crashed through the single paned, sash window.  She tucked and rolled at the perfect time, hit the catawampus porch, bounced once, and continued down the two stairs to the soft, reddish dirt of the island. 


 DARK MIND is vailable at these e-book and book retailers:


Barnes & Noble



Powell’s Books



The Book Depository

Diesel e-books

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Books: Compulsion  Dead Game  Dark Mind  Silent Partner  Screenwriting

About jchasenovelist

Published thriller author, criminologist, and blogger.
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2 Responses to Plunge Right into the Action!

  1. Gilliad Stern says:

    I am right there with you. My favorite part of a story is writing the action scenes and as a follower of what R.A. Salvatore has done, I think I keep the action moving pretty well. The problem I run into is the space between the action, haha. Keep it going!


  2. There is a good reason why “Dark Mind” is a finalist. It is a well-written page turner, and in today’s constant search for escape, that’s all we want or need in a novel.


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