This is the final part of my series on Character Actions and What Your Readers Really Need to Know.
You can read Part One here.
Part Two here.
Part Three here.
and Part Four here.
Eliminate the action if it’s not absolutely necessary.
Cutting action can be difficult, especially when you have hit your target word count, and you consider the story to be over. However, tired, repetitive actions like walking, moving, and standing can dull the shine of a story.
Challenge yourself by going through your story using the find tool in Microsoft Word. Highlight every instance of weak verbs and overused action. How many times does your character walk to a chair? Sit? Stand? How often are they performing mundane tasks that don’t contribute to the overall flow of the story?
How much of the character’s life do you show the reader? All of the unnecessary action is telling not showing. Any time you detail a character’s movements down to the amount of toothpaste she puts on the brush, you’re providing too much information and taking away from the real purpose of the story.
Instead of using tired actions, go for internal dialogue, emotional turmoil, or intense spoken dialogue to keep the pace of the book fast and edgy. Punch up your sentences with those muscular verbs and don’t give the reader more than he or she absolutely needs to have when reading the story. Sometimes, less really is more.