Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The fight scene

Aw, the fight scene. I've got three of them and I just wrote them to get through it. Now I have to go back and make it right. So I looked it up on the internet, my one-stop shop, and came up with good advice from many different sources. You get conflicting advice, but this is what I took away from my quest:

  1. Use short sentences

  2. Put each action into it's own paragraph unless it's just a one liner (I got conflicting stories on this. It's up to the writer)

  3. Don't choreograph it, you tend to distance your character and leave the reader uninvolved.

  4. Use realistic, sequential, logical moves

  5. Use imaginative verbs(Of course)

  6. Experience the fight through a character's pov, preferably your MC. He's the one the reader identifies with.

  7. Follow an action with a reaction. Don't put the horse before the cart

  8. Get the pov character emotionally involved.

Now it's your turn. Add to the list. I can use a lot of suggestions in my rewrite.

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  1. I tend to use a lot of fragments. It gives that awesomely tense, rushed feeling you need to get the reader invested in it. Other than that, I think your list is great.

  2. Fight scenes are hard to write! Thanks for the advice!

  3. Thanks for the list of useful tips. I find I spend most of my time working the line between 'too choreographed - distancing the reader' and 'not enough detail - reader is ungrounded' when writing fight scenes. I agree that much of the advice on this topic is conflicting, but I believe that is a result of the fact that a good fight scene is dependent on context. I always enjoy reading fight scenes by a writer who can achieve tension over the entire range of styles; from a 'slow motion' type of scene that goes on for pages to one that is over in a sentence. I certainly tend to the more wordy style, myself, which is sometimes appropriate and other times needs a touch of trimming :)

  4. My current WIP will have a fight scene eventually. Good to hear the advice from someone who's been there.

    Liz H Allen

  5. Relevant/motivated dialogue is a useful tool to drive the action forward and give the reader a mental break from pure description.

  6. I'm going to print out this list and put it on my wall. Very nice. Thanks for putting it together.

  7. These are great tips. I struggle with fight scenes, because I tend to want to internalize the fight too much. I like the idea of using sentence fragments or short sentences to generate pace. I think I always want to delve into everything the character is thinking, which is probably exactly the wrong thing to do in a fight scene.