Why "Start With the Action" Messes Up So Many Writers
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy If I took a poll for the most common writing advice, “start with the action” would make the list. Which it should, as it’s great advice. But it’s also like “show, don’t tell.” We know we ought to do it, but we don’t always know how, and those four words don’t help. This can be especially hard on new writers, because they can feel like they’re doing everything right and not getting anywhere with their writing. Maybe it’s the movie industry and all those summer blockbusters, but say “action scene” and most people are going to envision something Michael Bay-ish—car chases, fights, explosions, people in dire straits. Openings where the reader doesn’t care = bad. Thus the problem with this wonderful, yet often frustrating, advice. Let’s break down these four not-so-simple words and explore what “start with the action” really means. Simple version: Start with something happening—characters physically doing something to achieve a goal. Sounds crazy simple, right?
Related: Plot and Structure