1. Rapaz
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    Rapaz Member

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    Fights?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rapaz, Apr 1, 2012.

    In my current project I came across the need to describe a physical fight with weapons such as axes, knifes, swords, hammers and such.

    It is really complicated especially since I write in English which isn't my native language, and I was wondering if you either have any general advice or some tips on what and where I could look at for good examples of well portrayed fights.

    On a side note:

    I usually take a lot of time to write because I try to write everything as good as I can on the first try. Should I just write what comes to mind and then later go back and correct? A good example would be this fight where I have it all planned out on my head but since when I put it into writing it sounds bad it's kind of an obstacle.
     
  2. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    In my story, I have several of these arcane type of fight scenes so to describe them I tend to stay with short, direct sentences to match the dynamic. As for examples I suppose looking to some such scenes in your choice books might help. I also write slow as I try to set everything just right on the first run, and even though I do re-edit later, it is usually less work because of the initial effort; but it is really a matter of preference, experiment with fast drafts to see how you like those. They could work well for fight scenes as the point is to be quick and visceral.
     
  3. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Well, don't be too polished, most barroom brawls look like drunken versions of "the wave." Lots of pushing and shoving and farm-boy roundhouses.

    Just remember, Mike Tyson said, "Everybody's got plans...until they get hit."

    Even now there seems to be a trend in 'reality based fighting.' They even make a special knife for it, no kidding. And everyone has a 'chemical dump' when scared. Everyone suffers from tachypsychia.

    I have some amazing stuff around my house. But when Wisconsin got our concealed carry provision I went out and bought a SW642. A bargain basement, idiot proof, five shot revolver in mundane .38SPL. To that I carry a Mantis Tough Tony and a Zero Tolerance 0550.

    Yeah, I know. Mr. Normal stuff. But you have to make choices to win, and simpler is always better.

    http://i209.photobucket.com/albums/bb231/TheTourist_bucket/002-67.jpg
     
  4. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Veer away from blow-by-blow description. "I thrust my sword, and then he parried my attack, and then he lunged at me." It's better to include as much sensory detail as you can. Talking about the scent of blood and death at the end of a battle, the glint of a sword as it is drawn, the clatter of axe on shield.

    Be more specific on sensory details, and less specific on step-by-step movements.
     
  5. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    Write it down first and then correct mistakes, edit it, improve it. This is how almost every writers does it, why should you be an exception? In time you'll find that your first draft needs very little tweaking to become the final draft.

    For fight scenes, or any other scenes for that matter, don't consume yourselves in the details on everything. Give a big picture of what kind of fight is going on and then zoom in on a particular image which is strong, image people will remember and image that kind of sums up the scene. Remember the scene in 'Saving Private Ryan', in a combat scene a bullet hit the helmet of a fighting soldier, he is safe, he smiles at his luck, he took out his helmet to see the impression of the bullet, then another bullet hit him at that moment and he dies. This is the kind of details you should concentrate on in a scene. Yes, this is a movie, but your writing should work similar to a camera lens?
     
  6. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Funky, I'm about 90% with you, especially the sensory idea.

    The issue I have is that even a fantasy story has to make some connection with the reader. In old detective TV shows the hero always got clunked on the head with a gun butt--every week. Nice story, no basis in reality, and then lost credibility.

    I just don't think readers can relate to guys who want to fight for a living. Unless the guy's wife in is jeopardy, even soldiers want 3 to 1 odds before they engage.

    And then the problem compounds. Everyone has to top the next author and the stuff winds up like a walk-through of a Duke Nukem game.

    Heroes should experience fear, uncertainty, remorse and reluctance to even be in the same room with conflict. That's what makes them heroes. The entire premise of "Batman" is that he has a screw loose.

    I use the expression in my story that "Killing kills the killer." And I believe that. One of the things I'd like to do--when my rookie credentials are earned--is to post segments of 'graduation day at the religious academy.' Oh, we have weapons...
     
  7. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    cant go wrong with a stubby. almost whent with one of those, chose a ruger semi insted.
     
  8. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    You could also take the side that in a fight, with adrenaline pumping and the need for survival pounding in your ears (or even more accurately temples), you aren't consistently aware of all your sensory input. You're looking for openings. As both of you get tired and the ferocity wanes (which it does), you may notice, for instance, that you're dripping with sweat, or that you can taste blood in your mouth from the last time he hit you, or whatever. As far as detail goes, don't go on and on. A fight can go on and on. But unless you're the one in the fight, you're going to be totally bored by a step-by-step description of every punch or kick or roll or whatever. IMO, there's nothing wrong with describing parts, but they should be the turning points, important parts. A good example of a fight scene is the duel in The Princess Bride (the book). "He countered with the Whatever - he struck with the Blahblah - and the man in black blocked it!" Or however that goes. We never are told explicitly what these moves are, which makes it a little humorous, which you may not want, but it allows Goldman to spout fencing jargon about every detail of the fight, and we don't know every detail either.
     
  9. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    Fights are generally, short, violent, and brutal. Generally short direct sentences work best.
     
  10. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fight scenes I've written are typically a combination of the moves (and as someone else said, not a blow-by-blow but more general except for pivotal moves), the fighters' emotional reactions, and descriptions of how they look (sweating, blood, facial expressions and body language - ie, confidence, uncertainty, anger, etc). I try to involve all or most of the reader's senses. Sentences are shorter, to an almost staccato rhythm during the height of the fight.

    I also watched a lot of fight videos on YouTube and downloaded a hand-to-hand combat instructional video from the military. These allowed me to see how things were done, and then I could put it into my own words.
     

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