Interview with RaeAnn_Reid, Winner of the July Challenge: LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

In June we challenged you to write a story which delved straight into the action. Forget setting the scene, building your character and developing a back story. We didn't want to know about any of that. 

What we wanted was hard-hitting action, and boy did you deliver! 

We were smashed about, shot, strung up and burned by your words. 

Bloody excellent job! 
(pun intended)

Despite the huge array of excellent entries, writing an action-scene is a hard task for any writer. It's been suggested by various authors, editors and agents, that readers tend to 'skip over' action scenes in preference for getting back to the actual story in hand. 
So what gives? 

Do readers actually enjoy reading action and fight scenes, or don't they? 

Well, the answer to that depends on a few things ('course it does). But it is all in how you structure your scenes. Here are a few variables that you may wish to consider the next time you sit down to pen your newest shoot-out, sword fight, or battle-scene:

1. Pace Is More Important Than Content
Too slow and you'll bore your reader, but too fast and you'll do the same. If you languish over the minute details of your fights, the reading experience will become too bogged down in description and the fight will loose its focus. Yet, if you skip over the important elements, swinging swiftly from one blow to the next without so much as a comma for pause, the reader won't believe in the moment. They'll likely skim the passage; knowing that its happened, but not really caring how it unfolded. 

Try to reach a middle ground between detail and punches. A good way to achieve this is to reveal important elements of your character, or the story, within the fights. This will keep the reader interested on the action, rather than the outcome. If you have a lot of fights in your story, you can use hooks from previous clashes to help maintain interest in subsequent ones. For example, you could use an injury sustained in a previous fight to slow your MC down later on.  

2. Don't Recycle: It's Damaging To Your Environment
One of the main reasons for a reader loosing interest in a fight, is due to repetition. If your protagonist is constantly poking people in the eye, taking a smack to the head, or 'falling to the ground like a stone', it's pretty darn tedious for the reader. You can utilize tools like 'Roget's Thesaurus of Words for Writers' (free on Google Books), or you could even take a back seat and let the reader fill in the gaps for themselves. There are so many routes to take, so don't be lazy, and definitely don't recycle!

3. Keep it short. Get to the point.
It's pretty tiring getting hit in the face or dangling someone over a ledge by their ponytail, so don't forget that your characters need to have believable limits (yes, even in fantasy narratives!). Don't dawdle over the details, readers are pretty good at filling in the blanks. 

No attacker is going to be philosophizing over a blood-orange sunset in the heat of battle, and no victim is going to notice the elegant swish of a murderer's cloak while their life is in peril.

4. Commas, distract. Too much description does the same.
Keep your sentences short. Because, the thing is, once you start dwelling, it gets, well, pretty boring. 

Think about the difference in intensity between a subject-verb-object sentence construction, and a dependent clause construct:

Subject-Verb-Object: 'Alex was felled by a blow to the head.' Dependent Clause: 'Felled by a blow to the head, Alex's fight was over.'

You should also be wary of using too much description. Take a look at this sentence: 

'Alex cocked his gleaming rifle as the age-old inscription on the warm barrel caught the dying evening sun, he thought of the powerful dark bullets trembling within and a sudden resolve steadied his shaking hand; he was ready for the final, powerful blow.'
It's long, it's too descriptive and to be honest, the reader probably lost interest when the barrel became a romanticized object and the bullets were personified. 

So, let's stylize it to prepare for action: 

'Alex cocked his gleaming rifle. The thought of the powerful bullets within helped steady his trembling hand. He was ready for the final blow.' 

You notice the difference in intensity between the two sentences immediately. A good editorial exercise for writers to employ when they're developing action scenes is to write in an unconstrained way, and then go back and apply these rules. 

Our June Challenge was all about hitting a bulls-eye on each of these points, and more. There were a huge range of fantastic entries to the Monthly Challenge.
But, as ever, there can only be one winner...

So congratulations to RaeAnn_Reid for her winning entry, Consequences!

The following entries were June's runners up:

Without further ado, here's our interview with June's WEbook Challenge Winner, RaeAnn_Reid:

WEbook: Your story is brutal, terrifying and sad. But it is also incredibly strong, especially in terms of your first person characterization. 
Although there is no definition of the MC's sex in the story, one automatically assumes that they are female. Firstly, are we right? And secondly, if we are, how did you approach writing a strong, female lead for your story?

RaeAnne_Reid: I’ve always loved writing about inner strength and the strength that comes from the powerful bond of family ties. I wanted to create a strong but vulnerable main character. Her vulnerability is forced to the surface by the protective nature of her relationship with her sister. And I find a lot of the time basing my writing off of my own personal experiences adds a depth that I can identify with to my readers; the desperation and unfailing loyalty to protect and shelter those we love.   

WB: Action scenes are evidently something that you excel at delivering in a convincing way to the reader. Have you had much experience writing in this style, or is it new territory to you? Any tips on how to write a good action scene?

RA: Action scenes are my forte. I love, love, love writing them. The blunt detail and fast paced environment that you have to step into brings a whole new aspect to the imagination. I find that once I start writing an action sequence, my fingers start flying across the keyboard trying to keep up with the scene that’s playing out in my mind’s eye.  

The one tip I would share with my fellow writers is this, read, read, and read some more. I love action novels and stories of war. Reading other stories and novels that have a lot of combat in them helped me pick apart and put together a good action scene. 

The amount of differing perspectives and writing styles of other authors helped me to develop my own style. I could pick something I really liked from one and put it together with another author’s flair, thus creating something unique.

WB: The confession of your MC in the story - that they did it, rather than the sister - culminates in the powerful final line, '"She didn't do it... I-I did." But it no longer mattered.' This line injects a sense of hopelessness into the story, which ultimately ties the piece together. 

When you were writing this scene, where did this line come in during the drafting process? Was it as important as it has become, or was it a happy final accident?

RAThis line was actually the first thing that I wrote and the story evolved from there. During the drafting process I tried inserting it in multiple places but it just didn’t seem to fit as well as it did if it was the last thought. And that’s that! 

WB: Writing such high-octane scenes can be challenging when there is no back-story to contextualize the characters or their motives. Yet in your piece you manage to do both successfully without compromising on any of the action. Did you conceptualize a back-story to help you with the scene, or is this part of an ongoing project?

RA: To be completely honest with you I just sat down at my computer and started typing away. I don’t even know what my main character’s little sister was framed for. But I’ve started brainstorming ideas for the backstory. I would love to make this scene into something more. We’ll see where it goes!

WB: Final questions now...

What are your 3 favorite books?

RA: I have so many favorite books it wouldn’t be fair to pick just three of them! Instead, if you don’t mind, I’ll tell you who my favorite writing role models are:

1. L.A. Meyer
2. Tamora Pierce
3. Melina Marchetta

They are phenomenal storytellers. These authors helped me fall in love with reading and writing. I have all of their books nestled in amongst others on my various shelves. 

WB:Who are your favorite WEbook writers?

RA: The WEbook writers I admire the most are vampiremaiden (who I’ve co-written a novel with), and Elizabeth_Odet. Both bring some amazing talent to the table and are my go to people for any writing blocks that I can’t seem to break through.

** Read RaeAnn_Reid's winning entry, Consequences **

Good luck and happy writing!

- The WEbook Team   

WEbook's August Newsletter!

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Dear WEbook, 

Welcome to the August Newsletter! 

In this month's newsletter, we've put together some useful writing tips for authors who are new to the writing world - they're also excellent reminders for those of you who have been putting pen to paper for a while, too! Plus we'll be revealing our Member of the Month, Writer of the Month and a Project Spotlight - if you've got a member or a Project in mind that you think should be in the running for nomination next month, let us know!

This month on WEbook we've discovered some great new writers, become completely addicted to some fantastic Projects, and had a testing time trying to twig the twists hidden within the entries to our Twisted Tales Challenge. Don't forget to get your entries in for our August Challenge: Read it Well, which challenges you to write a story with a confession - be it good or bad...

Happy reading and as ever, happy writing!

The WEbook Team

Writer of the Month

Writer of the Month


A member of WEbook since 2010, Penny has been nominated as August's Writer of the Month for adding almost 150 individual pieces of content to WEbook in this month alone. Check out her project series: Portals of Paradox.



Words of the Month



A fatal flaw leading to the downfall of a tragic hero or heroine.


Possessing a violent desire to write.


To uproot from a natural geographical, social or cultural environment; to tear up by the roots.

Member of the Month

Member of the Month


Grafiksad has been selected as August's Member of the Month for his outstanding all-round contribution to WEbook. With 60+ pieces of feedback given to authors, among many other on-site activities, this is one dedicated WEbooker!


WEbook's Top Writing Tips

WEbook's Top Writing Tips For New Authors (and older ones too!)

Whether you're just starting out as a writer, or you've been pounding those keys for so long you remember the good 'ol days of pen-and-ink, it's essential for your wor(l)dy progression to have a few fail-safe rules that you can fall back on.

We've collated our top-5 from the WEbook offices to get you started:

#1. Don't be afraid... Starting a story, whether it's your first or your 1,000th is a daunting task. If you've been inspired by a single scene, try beginning by turning this into a short story and then expand on it bit-by-bit. Even the best writers had to start somewhere!

#2. Plan, Plan, Plan - Yes, we know it sounds a bit too much like High School English class, but the teachers had a point. Planning is important. But, what's not important is to start your plan at the beginning. Plan the part of the story you want to write first, then add bits on as they come to you.

#3. Keep, don't delete! - It's very, very tempting to delete when you're not happy with your writing, but give your words a chance. A bit of time away from what you've written might help you see it from a more foregiving perspective during a re-read. 

#4. Learn from the best - Think about the authors whose writing you respect. Re-read how they approach different aspects of writing and try to imitate what they do. After a while you'll develop your own take on this style and before you know it you're a pro!

#5. Research is key - Nothing ruins a great narrative more than an unbelievable fact, an incorrect assumption or just a plain untruth. Don't jeopardise the atmosphere of your scene by neglecting to research your topic fully. 

Project Spotlight

Project Spotlight

We've collected some of our favourite projects from around WEbook to showcase in this month's Project Spotlight. Happy reading!

The Etiquette of Swinging: A Love Story

Juliana is a thirty-something woman who wants to explore outside of relationship norms. Together with her new partner, Andy, she enters the world of swinging. But how does one negotiate a new relationship when the 'rules' are so nebulous?

Innocent Vampire Gals

A woman runs a nightclub where unlawful activities are going on, with her getting a percentage of every transaction. Killed by a blackmailing vampire, she soon finds herself one of them, as well as a prime suspect in the vampire-killing of her absentee business partner’s ex-girlfriend.

Dark Sonata

It’s 1841. Labeled as the White Witch, cursed from her father’s sins, Lady Victoria Orpha Leslie lives in constant fear of her cold-hearted peers, a spoiled cousin, and an aggressive uncle, the Duke of Basingstoke. But there is something much darker and more evil to dread. On the night of a grand ball her life changes forever, with the appearance of the mysterious and devilishly handsome Earl of Stone. Fate is altered, in a very dangerous way. 

​Do you have a project that you think should be featured in our Project Spotlight for next month?

Let us know by emailing the WEbook team with your suggestions!


WEbook's Monthly Challenge

Beneath the humdrum and the day-to-day, secrets lie stuffed in the cracks of our psyche, niggling away at our sanity with the explosions that their revelations could cause...

In this month's challenge we want you to weave a confession into your story. 

Confessions take many forms. 

They can be won through torture, trickery and tact.

They can save, endanger or destroy. 

A confession can be the best thing that happens, or the worst possible turn of events. 

Whatever form your confession takes, be it a letter hidden amongst personal papers, a taped video recording watched by an audience of scammed investors, an emotional revelation between two friends, or information that could save the lives of millions, it must form the central point in your story. 

You have 850 words to craft your tale of confession - use them wisely...


The winner of WEbook's July Challenge: Twisted Tales is...

A Cautionary Tale by Veronica Frances

The following six are this month's runners up:

• On Safari by Keberly  •  Nuisances by LostV  •  
The Game, The Promise, and One Moment by lightningpastry  •
 The Look by Leo1  •  The Last Train by Sprayoncrayon  • 

 Congratulations to everyone who entered!

The WEbook Store

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Things to do on WEbook

Get stuck in with some of the great writing tools available to you on WEbook:

  1. The 500 Words Challenge
  2. Pitch a Plot
  3. Start or join a group
  4. Start a project
  5. Submit to an agent
  6. Submit to Page2Fame
  7. Unblock your writing with 911 Writers Block
  8. Top Ten Topics for Writers

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