1. Toritoes
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    Toritoes Member

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    Fight scenes

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Toritoes, Dec 24, 2008.

    How would you go about writing fairly lengthy fight passages? I reckon gun parts will be fine, but how to make a detailed description of hand to hand or even sword fights and still keep the readers interest?

    Any hints?
     
  2. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    You don't want them to go "long" because it loses the reader's interest...
    short, crisp sentences...especially when doing hand-to-hand or sword fights because they're physically grueling.

    Look through my blog as some of the fights in the Chapter 30-39 and see what I'm meaning...
     
  3. Kitbug
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    Kitbug Contributing Member

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    I have to agree with captain kate, long isn't really too good. But of course it really depends on the definition of "long".

    I used to write a fair amount of sword fight scenes because I used to write fantasy fanfic. (Yes, yes, scary to admit.) What I found most important to making it fast paced and really a FIGHT was to keep sentences as short as they could be. Don't try to put them together using semicolons, commas, and dashes. You want the sentence as short as it can be. Even if the flow gets a bit choppy, as long as it's easy to understand I think in sword fights that's almost beneficial. It helps make it seem fast. (Mind you, I'm not very good at writing short sentences.)

    The other thing I'd recommend is to put in enough detail about the actual fight, but without putting in so much that it gets slow. I'll copy a quick sample passage from one of the stories I wrote to give you a rough idea of what I mean.

    [She stumbled backwards as her opponent lunged. Fumbling, she pulled her sword up to block, but as they came body-to-body she was pushed to the ground. Rolling, cursing, she escaped. Her attacker leaped towards her as she staggered onto her feet, barely blocking again. Sweat dripped down her face. He lunged at her again. She parried, but the muscles in her arms screamed in outrage. The attacker leaped at her, knocking her to the ground. She yelped in surprise; his sword was at her throat. He laughed, and she saw her chance. Kicking him in the stomach, rolling to the side, and slashing wildly--her sword bit flesh. He screamed.]

    Yeah, you get the idea. I haven't written stuff like that in a while, and I kind of contradicted myself above, but I hope that gives you some kind of idea. =)
     
  4. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    On top of what everyone else said, I'd also like to add that vocabulary is key. Don't fall into the trap of repeating words like "kick," "punch," "swung," etc. Expand your inventory of verbs, but be careful not to use outlandish vocabulary. The last thing you need is to make your readers pause and think "what was that word." If your readers pause at all, the effect is lost. (Unless there's a pause in the fight itself. Use those moments to show character reactions and thoughts. i.e. Show what these two combatants think of one another's fighting ability. But don't dwell on it for long.)
     
  5. Nitromidas
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    Nitromidas Member

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    I'd also like to point out research. If your reader has any knowledge of the fighting-style you are describing, factual errors may distroy the illusion. If you want to use swords, you should know how a sword feels, and how it is actually used. The same goes for knifes, fisticuffs, et. al.

    Further, if you want to go for a realistic feel, make sure you don't use cartoons and Conan-movies as your reference ;)
     
  6. Toritoes
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    Toritoes Member

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    Thanks very much guys, brilliant advice, as always :)
     
  7. JackyIrratic
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    JackyIrratic New Member

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    I think another important part of writing a good fight scene is to keep the fight interesting. I know that may seem like a pointless thing to say, but I've read so many fight scenes where the author just rephrases "he threw a punch at his enemy" over and over until it becomes so stale and repetitive I don't want to read it anymore.

    If you find yourself in a situation like this, sum it up with a simple compromise. "He threw a volley of punches at him," tends to sound a lot better than six sentences about him punching his opponent six times. Try to keep the fight fresh, I know in real life that most fights revolve around a few well placed punches and kicks, but this is fiction! Let your imagination run wild.

    Lastly; not every fight needs to be an epic confrontation between good and evil! It's very rare that street scuffles last more than a few punches, and the same can apply to your fight scenes. If you're going to write a good number of fight scenes, don't make everyone long. Throw in a few one hit wonders to clear the air and set the scene a little.

    Hope that helped.
     
  8. Daedalus
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    Daedalus Active Member

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    The first questions you have to ask yourself are: What kind of fight scene am I writing? Are the two fighters highly-trained combatants who know martial arts or boxing? Or is it just two guys engaging in a street-fight?

    I've been in enough bare-knuckled fights to write with great authority a novel entirely about them. If you're writing about two ordinary guys going for a round of fisticuffs, you need to remember that most people aren't professionally-trained boxers. Chances are there won't be bobbing and weaving, uppercuts, hooks, or any other number of professional moves. They're be a lot of wayward punches, grapples, and kicks. Street-fights like that are messy. Convey this. Make your characters human. Don't have them winning the fight without breaking a sweat.
     
  9. Toritoes
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    Toritoes Member

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    Thank you JackyIrratic and Daedalus, thats definitely given me a wider insight :)
     

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