A writer inspired by nature and human nature

111-4-reasons-to-use-action-beats-when-writingWRITING TIPSWant to break up boring dialogue, show and not tell, stop info-dumping your setting, and sneak in character description? Check out K.M. Allen’s blog post! ~Bette A. Stevens 4writersandreaders

K.M. Allan

If you’re wondering what an action beat is, you’re not alone. Not too long ago, I didn’t know what it was either.

I’ve since learned it’s an action your character is doing while they’re talking.

Yeah, it’s not exactly an earth-shattering revelation and is something you’ve probably been writing naturally anyway, it’s just now you know there’s an actual name for it.

Not only does this writing trick have a name, it also has four good reasons why you should be working actions beats into your dialogue.

4 Reasons To Use Action Beats When Writing

1. Action Beats Break Up The Boring

When an action beat pairs with your dialogue, it breaks up the usual he said/she said monotony of dialogue tags.

Dialogue tag:
“Hi,” Jenny said.

Action beat:
“Hi.” Jenny lifted her hand, waving her fingers in Carla’s face.

Action beats will also break up long passages of dialogue, puts…

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Comments on: "4 Reasons To Use Action Beats When Writing" (40)

  1. […] via 4 Reasons To Use Action Beats When Writing — Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never heard about the term before. But yeah, I do the ‘he said / she said thing a lot. Then, while I’m doing the torturous revisions and edits, I start either plucking them off or adding those ‘action beats’ whenever possible.
    Great share!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] https://4writersandreaders.com/2019/05/18/4-reasons-to-use-action-beats-when-writing/ “If you’re wondering what an action beat is, you’re not alone. Not too long ago, I didn’t […]


  4. This is such wonderful information! Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great post to share. No, I hadn’t hear this called this ‘action beats’ before but it makes sense. Will share with my writing classes!

    Liked by 3 people

    • First I’ve heard the term too, Pam. Love the term and the wonderful post and am delighted that you’ll be sharing too… ❤ Have an amazing week and holiday weekend! xo


  6. A wonderful post, Bette. Thanks for sharing it. 💕🤗💕

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Great article, Betty. Thanks for sharing. 😀 xo

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great share, Bette. I prefer action beats to dialog tags. They’re versatile and can do double duty in serving a story. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Great writing tip, Bette. I didn’t know the technique had a name.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thanks for this share Bette. Well written.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Excellent! Thanks, Bette!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Wonderful share, Bette! Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Interesting, thanks for sharing , he finally posts after dealing with several typo’s .. 🙂

    “If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” Isaac Asimov

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Thanks for sharing, Bette. I hadn’t heard the term action beats before. It’s interesting though and something most writers do.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Thank you for sharing this post & info. How interesting 😀
    Bless you,

    Liked by 2 people

  16. What a great way to introduce the article and increase our knowledge on “action beats.” Nice piece by K.M. Allan. Thank you, Bette, for sharing with us.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. That’s what always ruined by books — the total lack action. My characters talked, thought, but they never DID anything. If I were writing something, I’d give this a try.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m with you, Marilyn–Kudos to K.M. Allan an outstanding article on writing. 🙂 Had to share and so glad you found it valuable too. ❤ Happy Writing, Reading & Blogging! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Wonderful examples! Thanks for sharing, Bette. xo

    Liked by 3 people

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