Action fiction

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Main article: Genre fiction

Action fiction is a type of genre fiction, that includes physical action of an exciting kind. The phrase "action fiction", as used here, refers to prose fiction and not fiction in other media.

The word "action" also refers to "the events represented in a story or play: the action is set in the country" (New Oxford English Dictionary). And "action" is one of the modes of fiction.

Genre fiction[edit]

Action fiction is a form of genre fiction whose subject matter is characterized by emphasis on exciting action sequences. This does not always mean they exclude character development or story-telling. Action fiction, is related to other forms of fiction, including action films, action games and analogous media in other formats such as manga and anime. It includes martial arts action, extreme sports action, car chases and vehicles, suspense action, and action comedy, with each focusing in more detail on its own type and flavour of action. It is usually possible to tell from the creative style of an action sequence, the emphasis of an entire work, so that, for example, the style of a combat sequence will indicate whether the entire work can be classified as action adventure, or a martial work. Action is mainly defined by a central focus on any kind of exciting movement.

Action as a literary mode[edit]

"Action is the mode fiction writers use to show what is happening at any given moment in the story," states Evan Marshall,[1] who identifies five fiction-writing modes: action, summary, dialogue, feelings/thoughts, and background.[2] Jessica Page Morrell lists six delivery modes for fiction-writing: action, exposition, description, dialogue, summary, and transition.[3] Peter Selgin refers to methods, including action, dialogue, thoughts, summary, scene, and description.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (Marshall 1998, p. 142)
  2. ^ (Marshall 1998, pp. 143–165)
  3. ^ (Morrell 2006, p. 127)
  4. ^ (Selgin 2007, p. 38)


  • Marshall, Evan (1998). The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. pp. 143–165. ISBN 1-58297-062-9. 
  • Morrell, Jessica Page (2006). Between the Lines: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 978-1-58297-393-7. 
  • Rosenfeld, Jordan E. (2008). Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 978-1-58297-479-8.