Sign up for my newsletter to receive news and updates!

Posts Tagged ‘fight scenes’

Online version of the Writing Fight Scenes workshop!

I know that some people who were interested in my fight scenes workshop weren’t able to make it out to Seattle this past weekend. I have good news for you: I’m teaching an online version this upcoming weekend! From 1-3 p.m. Pacific time (4-6 p.m. Eastern), through the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers. To register, send an email to catrambo@gmail.com saying you’d like to sign up for this one, and telling Cat whether you would prefer to pay via Paypal, Venmo, or some other route; whether or not you are a former student or Patreon supporter of hers; and how you heard about Cat’s classes. There are also three scholarship slots available, if you are unable to pay — details at that link. (Note that she particularly encourages QUILTBAG and POC people to apply.)

for the edification of others

The other day at the dojo, our sensei had us punching bare-handed against bags (the flat pad type that another person holds onto). I wound up punching mine a few more times with a little more force than was strictly wise — because of course I did; I’m a writer and I was curious to see what it felt like, and I’m unlikely to go around getting into fist-fights just for research.

Since my hand is still complaining at me a little bit today, I figure I should share what I learned with others, so they don’t have to do the same thing. πŸ™‚

The actual impact stung a fair bit, and increasingly so as time went on, of course. But I was good about keeping my wrist straight, so the impact went up my forearm in a direct line; you can really mess yourself up if your wrist isn’t straight, because then it will buckle under the impact and you’ll probably sprain something. (And I really do mean straight. Mostly straight = not good enough.) My knuckles turned visibly red, and I got a small mark in the webbing between my ring and pinky finger, like I’d chafed the skin or something. Fortunately I didn’t persist to the point of really doing myself a mischief, because near the end I subconsciously flinched from the sting of impact; my wrist buckled, but there wasn’t enough force in the punch for that to do any damage, and then after that everything I threw was complete crap. I imagine that adrenaline would have carried me much further in a real fight, but odds are good that it would also have made me more likely to use bad form and hurt myself that way.

My knuckles stayed faintly red for the rest of the night, but were back to normal the next day, and the mark faded about as quickly. The lingering effect is in the soft tissue between my metacarpals: I still feel an intermittent ache there, and if I use my left hand to shift those bones around, I can tell there’s tension and stiffness. So the moral of this story, I think, is that if you’re going to talk about punches leaving a mark on the one who threw them (and you should, unless your character is a hardened bare-handed brawler), the problem isn’t so much in the knuckles as in the hand itself. Or the wrist, if they threw a stupid punch and sprained something. Or, y’know, all over the place if they were really dumb and dislocated a finger or broke a bone. But the palm of the hand is going to take a beating even if nothing more severe happens elsewhere.

So now you know. And don’t have to pound your own hands to find out.

Writing Fight Scenes is in the #NaNoWriMo StoryBundle!

As a balm against today’s infuriating news, I am exceedingly pleased to announce that my ebook Writing Fight Scenes is part of the officially-sponsored NaNoWriMo StoryBundle!

Contents include:

  • Worldbuilding – From Small Towns to Entire Universes by Kevin J. Anderson
  • Brewing Fine Fiction by Maya Kaathryn Bohnoff and Pati Nagle
  • Writing Fight Scenes by Marie Brennan
  • Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys
  • Million Dollar Book Signings by David Farland
  • The Synopsis Treasury edited by Christopher Sirmons Haviland
  • Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget by Stant Litore
  • 52 Ways to Get Unstuck by Chris Mandeville
  • Discoverability by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • How to Write Fiction Sales Copy by Dean Wesley Smith
  • Writing Horses – The Fine Art of Getting It Right by Judith Tarr
  • Jump Start Your Novel by Mark Teppo
  • Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman

And there’s a second-tier bonus, too — the entire 2014 NaNoWriMo StoryBundle, for a total of 25 books of writing advice. What better way to procrastinate on your novel than by reading lots of stuff that will tell you how to write it? πŸ™‚

Writing Excuses Three-fer

If you’re a writer and you’re not familiar with the Writing Excuses podcast, you’re missing out. It’s a weekly show with Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells, and Brandon Sanderson, on a wide-ranging variety of topics related to the writing of fiction. And if you remember me complaining during my Hugo Packet binge about how looooooooong most of the podcasts were? The tag line for Writing Excuses is “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.” That last part is a lie (they are that smart), and the length is sometimes more like 15-20 minutes — but these are episodes you can listen to pretty easily, without having to set aside a cross-country trip or something to get through more than one.

They also have guests from time to time. So while Mary and I were in Salt Lake City during our tour, we got together with Howard and Dan (Brandon was absent) to record a few eps for later use. Three, to be precise, all of which have now gone live:

Recording those was a lot of fun. Like doing a panel, but more condensed. In and out before you run out of things to day — in many cases long before I ran out, but that’s a good thing, as it means I stayed energized and engaged the whole time. And if you like the general tenor of those episodes, you’ll like Writing Excuses: it’s like that all the time, except with Brandon Sanderson substituted in for me. πŸ™‚ (And if you don’t like listening to podcasts, check out the comment thread; there’s a dedicated fellow who puts together transcripts a little while after each episode airs.)

links for the fighty types

These have been piling up for a while, so I might as well put them all in one post:

post roundup

Things I’ve been saying in different places ’round the interwebz . . . .

“Seeing the Invisible” — this month’s post at SFNovelists is a review of Invisible, the ebook collection Jim Hines put together of guest posts and additional essays on the topic of representation. Proceeds from sales go to charity.

“The Gospel of Combat” — an excerpt from Writing Fight Scenes, which will be familiar to long-time readers of this blog. You can comment there for a chance to get a free copy of the ebook, though!

Interview at My Bookish Ways — in which I talk about a variety of things.

“The Dreaded Label ‘Mary Sue'” — guest post at Far Beyond Reality, talking about female characters who don’t apologize for their awesomeness.

Half-Off PRACTICALLY EVERYTHING

Okay, I exaggerate — but only a little.

Did you get an e-reader for Christmas? Or a little extra cash to blow where you please? Or are you just hungry for new things to read? Book View Cafe is having an ENORMOUS sale from now through January 6th. No, seriously: there are five pages of things on sale right now, in genres ranging from fantasy to science fiction to romance to mystery to nonfiction.

Including three titles of my own! Lies and Prophecy, Deeds of Men, and Writing Fight Scenes are all half-off right now — that’s half off the price listed on those pages, as the way we’re handling the back end of the sale is just to apply the discount at checkout, rather than changing every book page.

As mentioned before, this lasts through January 6th, so you have plenty of time to browse the whole slate. (Nice thing about ebooks is, we don’t run out of stock.) There are things to cater to many tastes in there; you might find more things to enjoy.

This entry was also posted at http://swan-tower.dreamwidth.org/605261.html. Comment here or there.

Writing Fight Scene: now an ebook!

Remember how I was writing all those posts on how to write fight scenes? Well, it occurred to me that it might be nice to have them collated in a much easier-to-read format. And, y’know, to revise and expand them while I was at it.

Writing Fight Scenes coverLadies, gentlemen, and swordspeople of all types, I give you Writing Fight Scenes: The Ebook Version. Complete with all the posts from the blog series (now in improved order, with additional thoughts), plus a few illustrative examples. It is, of course, on sale at Book View Cafe, along with Kobo, Barnes and Noble (Nook), and Amazon (Kindle).

(This, by the way, is why I chose to put Lies and Prophecy on special at BVC this month. Not just to celebrate my birthday, but also because I knew I had this coming out, too. It’ll stay a dollar off until the end of the month.)

If you know of people for whom this might be of interest, please do point them at it! Nonfiction is sort of a new thing for me, so signal-boosting would be much appreciated.

Writing Fight Scenes: Focus

NOTE: You can now buy the revised and expanded version of this blog series as an ebook, in both epub and mobi formats.

[This is a post in my series on how to write fight scenes. Other installments may be found under the tag.]

I may have a big soft spot in my heart for the fight scenes in R.A. Salvatore’s Dark Elf series, which describe the mechanics of each combat in loving, blow-by-blow detail, but as I said at the start of this blogging, you don’t actually need to do that in order to write a good fight. Even if you do, you’re unlikely to detail every single move of anything but the shortest clash: you’ll pick key moments to focus on. The same is true of the less mechanical approach. But then the question becomes, which parts deserve focus?

(more…)

Writing Fight Scenes: Dialogue

NOTE: You can now buy the revised and expanded version of this blog series as an ebook, in both epub and mobi formats.

[This is a post in my series on how to write fight scenes. Other installments may be found under the tag.]

This is something I should have touched on before, but it only occurred to me now: what about speech in a fight scene?

In reality, it doesn’t work very well. Have you ever tried to talk while running? Now imagine that in addition to being out of breath, every second or so you encounter a jarring, unexpected impact that threatens to break you off mid-sentence. And remember that you aren’t running — a nice, repetitive activity that requires only a fraction of your attention — instead you’re making split-second decisions the whole time, and distraction could be fatal. Speech is luxury you mostly can’t afford.

Which isn’t to say you can’t have any.