General · reading · work in progress · Writing

Action Scene on Page 1

This thought occurred to me today: It’s been a while since I’ve read a book had an action scene on page 1.

The last one was probably an urban fantasy several years ago. Even that went like this: stalk, stalk, fight scene.

Is that weird? I don’t feel like it is. But I am also considering rewriting the beginning of my WiP to an action sequence and I don’t think that is weird, either.

Is there some sort of unwritten rule that says: Thou shall not begin with an action scene?

I feel like I am breaking some sort of rule by wanting to start with an action scene. Well, more like a training/sparring sort of scene, a test of sorts for the main character.

And books start all the time with tests. Still. It would be all action, complete with a chase and a sort of explosion (a weak explosion. very weak).

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10 thoughts on “Action Scene on Page 1

  1. I can’t name any book that opens with an action scene, but I know I’ve read some. I like the idea of doing this. It draws the reader right into the story from the start. I think one danger here could be keeping up the momentum. If you blow all the good stuff on the first pages and things get boring from there then you have a good chance of losing the reader.

    Bottom line is balance. Give the reader highs and lows with good pacing. Start with the action, then give them some revelatory stuff to let them know what’s going on, then some action, and back and forth and so on. But starting with an action scene can be a good tactic in my opinion.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

  2. One of the Harry Dresden novels opens in the middle of an action scene. I think it’s the fifth or sixth one….I can’t recall off the top of my head.

  3. From what I’ve read the main danger in starting out with action is your reader may not know who to care about. If the action gives the reader a reason to care, then I’ve heard action is a good hook.

    I agree with Arlee about balance. My work-in-progress contains an intense action chapter right near the start. It’s taking me a lot of work to create subsequent scenes that are just as interesting but in a different way.

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