Whether you're writing a James Patterson-like thriller or a more subdued, reflective literary fiction, there's bound to be an action scene or two worked in there somewhere. Is there a showdown in the high school cafeteria between cliques? A car accident? Maybe even one of your characters gets ran over by a stampede of wild moose? Whatever the situation, writing kickbutt action scenes is imperative to keeping the reader turning the pages.
So what makes an action scene work?
Use powerful verbs. Instead of someone simply standing, someone leaps to their feet.
Use shorter sentences. Don't use long drawn out sentences of descriptions. Incomplete sentences when used properly help keep intensity high Do not fear. The Grammar Nazi won't come after you. She approves of this in certain situations as well :)
Don't forget your senses. Remember to add in what someone hears, smells, tastes, etc. Using the senses helps pull readers in.
Act the action out yourself. Can't think of how to describe certain movements? Do them yourself. Watch how the body moves for the action you're trying to obtain.
Make sure you and the reader both know where all involved parties are. I like to write big action scenes involving several characters at once. It can be hard making sure all characters are accounted for without giving a boring rundown of their every movement. But that's how it happens-simultaneously. I've turned to using figurines to stage bigger action scenes. It helps to keep the layout straight in my mind as I write and move them accordingly. Because nothing could be worse than writing a scene where the duck races to attack Spock, only to discover later that it would be impossible since the batmobile was in the way.
Newbie Word of the Day: BIC-not that fancy ballpoint pen, but an acronym for Butt in Chair. BIC time is when a writer rolls up their sleeves and dedicates their attention to their writing. Distractions be damned!