There's an art to action fiction. And SEAL TEAM 666 author Weston Ochse—a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier—will show you how it's done.
Your Instructor: Weston Ochse, author of SEAL TEAM 666 and GRUNT LIFE
Where: Online — Available everywhere!
When: January 24, 2017 - February 21, 2017
Enrollment: 16 students
Many writers are skilled in characterization and scene setting. They can weave an in-depth mystery the likes that would make Ellery Queen jealous. Their dialogue rings with the repartee of Quentin Tarantino’s greatest characters.
But when it comes to portraying action, they stutter, and pause, and ultimately lock up until eventually their characters are looking up at them and jostling, “Come on, let’s go.”
This happens far too often. Great writers find themselves hogtied and unable to move their plot forward, all because they don’t know how… or don’t trust themselves enough to figure out a way through the narrative. The idea of combining dialogue, characterization, scene setting, plot development, and action seems far too difficult.
That’s because there’s an art to action fiction.
Not everyone can pull it off—falling victim to repetitiveness, unbelievability, and boredom. In High-Octane Fiction, Weston Ochse will teach you how to combine it all, setting the reader on the razor’s edge of anticipation, while creating believable action.
Why is Weston the man for the job? Because he's a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, border crossers, narco-bad guys, and human smuggling punks. And he's the author of acclaimed novels like Grunt Life and Seal Team 666.
Weston doesn't just talk about this stuff. He's lived it. And he'll give you valuable, unique insight into his process. The class will include lectures, writing assignments to be critiqued both by the instructor and your peers, and opportunities for Q and A along the way.
What This Class Covers
Week One: Call to Action
Lecture: If we think of action as a weapon, then we definitely need some ammunition. We need action words. How many ways can you say run? How many ways are there to describe a fight, to fall, to jump or even just to walk? Before we can even begin, together as a class we’ll adopt a master list of action words that will be the ammunition for the attack on your narrative.
Assignments: Watch the three action videos of the instructor’s choosing and provide ten action words from each movie. Read the fight scene between Achilles and Hector and write a minimum 500-word response, detailing what the scene taught you about writing and conveying action. Participate in discussions.
Week Two Frame the Action
Lecture: You can wing it if you want to, but there’s a systemic approach to creating a coherent scene. Here we will learn the elements and then be able to apply them.
Assignment: Read assigned materials, then, using the master list of action words, create a 500-word action scene that follows the structure provided. Participate in discussions.
Week Three: Pace the Action
Lecture: Ever seen a Michael Bay movie and got sick to your stomach, or at the very least dizzy? Ever had to take off your 3D glasses because the input was too much? Ever put a book down because there was so much action you lost track of the plot? This happens when people value action over story. Pacing is essential to a successful high-action narrative and here we will learn the four elements of pacing high-octane fiction.
Assignment: Read assigned materials, then, using the master list of action words, create a 500-word action scene that has enough downtime to accentuate the action.
Week Four: Show the Action
Lecture: Show-don’t-tell can be extremely difficult when writing action scenes. Action doesn’t always mean a life or death struggle. Action can be responding to the news a family member has been hit by a car or a visit from someone you don’t want to see. Action can be psychological or it can be conveyed in what people say.
Assignment: Read assigned materials, then, using the master list of action words, create a 750-word action scene where we don’t know the identity of the fighters or the reason they are fighting, then reveal it through action without ever telling us. Participate in discussions.
Goals Of This Class
- Learn the complex choreography of action.
- Develop techniques to push the action through to the other side of the narrative.
- Explore the many different ways that action plays out in narrative.
- Reveal characterization through doing.
- Finish a draft of three action scenes based on instructor’s guidance and create a high-action master list.
LitReactor offers a unique approach to a writing education: You study what you want, when you want, at your own pace. We bring in veteran authors and industry professionals to host classes covering a wide range of topics in an online environment that’s interactive and flexible. You get detailed feedback on your work and take part in discussions in a judgement-free zone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced writer, our workshops are about working together to achieve your writing goals.
Where do classes take place?
Entirely online. So, anywhere you have Internet access.
Are there certain times when the whole class needs to "meet" online?
Nope. Our students come from all over the globe. Everything is posted online and accessible 24/7. (We do occasionally schedule phone chats, but try to reach a consensus on timing.)
What does a typical class consist of?
It varies, but nearly all our classes include weekly lectures, homework assignments, peer reviews, critiques from instructors, and discussion forums.
How much experience do you need to take a class?
Beginner or pro, everyone is welcome. We encourage all skill levels.
Got more questions? Click here for an extended FAQ.
And click here to explore a sample class that shows our layout and features.