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Posts Tagged ‘fight scenes’

Writing Fight Scenes: Where?

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

My apologies for the hiatus; I’ve been busy, and this is another one of those posts that requires me to pull together a bunch of things I don’t normally think about consciously, ergo requires more brain-power than I was able to muster for a while there. But let’s get back on the wagon, and ask ourselves the next important question: where are the combatants fighting?

As with the question of who’s fighting, this often has a simple answer that turns out to have more packed inside it than you might think. Unpacking that can be useful for two reasons: first, well-placed description can bring the scene to life for the reader, and second, it can influence the course of the fight.

So, what aspects might you want to consider in setting your scene?

Y'all really need to read Dunnett, if you haven't.

not directly about Writing Fight Scenes: knife fights?

xahra99 asked this in comments to the last “writing fight scenes” post, and I couldn’t remember very well, so I put it to you all here:

What films and/or online videos would you say show relatively accurate knife fights?

I know I’ve seen some that looked good, but none of them are coming to mind right now. I figured it was more efficient to ask the Great Internet Overmind, rather than staring at the wall trying to prod my own memory into working. (It always makes me think of that line from Hamlet: “Cudgel thy brain no more, for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating.”)

Writing Fight Scenes: What?

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

Enough with the touchy-feely stuff about character and purpose; you want to know about weapons.

I said at the start of this series that you mostly don’t need technical expertise to be able to write good fight scenes. Weapons are the one place where that’s less true. You don’t have to be trained in everything you put into your characters’ hands, but it does help to have a grasp of general principles, and to look up details once you’ve decided what to use. What I’ll aim to do here is give you a sense of those general principles, and a few examples of what I mean by detail.

Let’s get to the stabby things!

Writing Fight Scenes: Who?

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

The short story is DEAD AT LAST — or at least written, revised, and sent off to someone who can check it for howling factual errors — and so it’s time for the triumphant return of How to Write a Fight Scene!

So: who’s fighting?

I said last time that the most important question to ask yourself is, what is the purpose of this fight? Only slightly less important is this: who is involved in the fight? This both arises from and feeds back into purpose, of course, so you generally end up asking them both at the same time, but they’re both major enough issues that I split them apart for the purpose of discussion.

The answer to this is, in its simplest form, very short: a minimum of two people (or one person and some kind of opponent, anyway). But it isn’t enough to have their names. There are a lot of details packed into the question of who, and those details can have a strong effect on how the fight goes. So let’s take a moment to unpack them.

Do not be frightened by what you find inside.

Writing Fight Scenes: The Question of Purpose

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

All right, enough vague philosophizing. Let’s start digging into the practicalities.

For my money, the most important question you should ask yourself in writing a fight scenes is, What is the purpose of this fight?

“Who is involved in this fight?” is also a critically important question, and we’ll get to that soon enough. But the who is a matter for inside the story, whereas the purpose is a matter for both within and without.

Inside the story, we’re asking why these characters are fighting. What’s their impetus for doing so, and what do they hope to accomplish? Outside, we’re asking what the fight is supposed to do for the story as a whole. As we discussed last time, there should ideally be more than one answer to that latter question.

For this, I will use the Inigo/Man in Black duel as my example.

Writing Fight Scenes: my philosophy

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

So you’re working on a story, and there comes a point where it really ought to have a fight scene. But you’re sitting there thinking, “I’m not a martial artist! I’m not an SCA member! I have no idea how to fight!” Or maybe you’re thinking, “Fight scenes are so boring. I’d rather just skip over this and get back to the actual story.” Or something else that makes you dread writing that scene, rather than looking forward to it with anticipation.

Don’t worry, dear reader. I’m from the Internet, and I’m here to help. <g>

To the first group, I say: the details of how to fight are possibly the least important component of a fight scene. The important components are the same ones you’re already grappling with in the rest of your writing, namely, description, pacing, characterization, and all that good stuff.

To the second group, I say: it’s only boring if the author does it wrong.

Cut for length.

Writing Fight Scenes: Introduction

This month’s SF Novelists post is a bit different, because it’s the launching point for a series I’ll be doing over here on LJ for the next indeterminate amount of time.

At Sirens this past month, I did a workshop on writing fight scenes, and promised those who weren’t able to attend that I’d be posting the material online. That begins today, and will be continuing for a while. Check out the aforementioned post for sort of an anecdote-cum-mission statement, then head behind the cut for a bit more about me and why I’m interested in this subject, plus an outline of how I’m going to approach this.

I’ve always loved fight scenes.