1. jps117
    Offline

    jps117 Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Lake Highlands Area, Dallas, Texas, United States

    How to write action/fighting

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by jps117, Jun 2, 2008.

    I'm fairly adept at writing general story-line and emotional scenes, but I've never really tried hand-to-hand combat. My story uses swords, shields, bows and arrows, and spells. Please help by giving hints or showing examples.

    Thanks!
    Jack
     
  2. B-Gas
    Offline

    B-Gas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    14
    R.A. Salvatore, while not great at plots or deep characters, is a true master of understandable, interesting and emotive combat. He writes it in a blow-by-blow style that manages not to seem cluttered, lengthy or dumb. Read any of his stuff for a great reference.

    My main suggestion is this, though: Keep fights short. Two strikes and a killing blow are usually enough. The 'boss battle' boils down to a protracted series of two-strikes and a near-killing blow.
     
  3. nailer123
    Offline

    nailer123 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Plymouth, England
    Yeah that sounds about right. Mine usually consist of quick confrontations with two or three blows before the finishing one, or the 'boss battle' consists of short confrontations seperated by dialogue and then the final blow.
     
  4. Scribe Rewan
    Offline

    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    2
    Another good idea is (if you don't know any already) learn some specialist terms. Look at fencing words- parry etc. Also learning the names for different parts of the sword- hilt, crossguard, pommel etc. This gives you more vocabulary. And just make sure it flows, and doesn't sound like stage directions. If you post an example of it up here or in the short story section we can have a look at it and help you out.
     
  5. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    Jack,

    Possibly read how some fantasy authors have done it. Then give it a try on your own, using some of their techniques, emulate their pacing and level of description. With a little practice and rewriting of combat scenes, you'll develop what works for you.

    Some suggestions:
    Steven Brust (especially in the Vlad Taltos series): Dragon, would be a good choice.
    Roger Zelazny: Chronicles of Amber series.
    Stephen R. Donaldson: The first trilogy (Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever), Lord Foul's Bane, The Illearth War, The Power that Preserves.
    Michael Moorcock: Hawkmoon or the Elric Series.

    Those four examples include first person and third person POV. Both single hand to hand and larger formations/armies battling. They include swords and arrows, etc as well as magic being employed.

    Just a few suggestions. Folks here could probably recommend others.

    Terry
     
  6. Scribe Rewan
    Offline

    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    2
    At the least the fantasy forum is full of short stories featuring action- just have a look in there.
     
  7. Lucy E.
    Offline

    Lucy E. Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    898
    Likes Received:
    4
    Just keep it short and don't wander off into description - as the others suggested, try to vary your vocabulary throughout the scene and do not have the characters striking each other over and over - it'll get repetitive.
    Also, for battle scenes in which, say, there is an entire army fighting against another large army, simply focus on various points and people in the battle.
     
  8. jps117
    Offline

    jps117 Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Lake Highlands Area, Dallas, Texas, United States
    Hey, thanks for all the help people.

    Yeah, R. A. Salvatore does do action well, though I've only read the first book in The Legend of Drizzt. (Homeland - and I lvoed it.)
     
  9. Aurora_Black
    Offline

    Aurora_Black Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    10
    I appreciate it too guys (got a one on one fight coming up in a story) thanks for the great advice!
     
  10. Milady
    Offline

    Milady Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Messages:
    289
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    North Carolina
    A bit stylistically-- As they've said above, shorter is better. Thus, you can keep the action snappy and make it seem more intense if you keep your sentences short and broken off. As you can see,

    is cumbersome and harder to read as compared to something like

    And last... don't neglect the senses. Though you don't want to give Tolkein-worthy description in the middle of a battle, a note as to the things you'd notice in that situation--sounds, usually, but also smells and feelings--can go a long way.
     
  11. Scribe Rewan
    Offline

    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    2
    Writing action is one of my favourite things I've had to do in my book, and many people say I'm good at it, so if anyone wants to post any scenes up here for everyone to look at that would be cool. I can try and help, but I might not be much good! Depends really on what style, I suppose.
     
  12. BrinkofDawn
    Offline

    BrinkofDawn Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Messages:
    723
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    So-Cal
    Try role-playing the fighting with someone else. I used to role-play a lot on Myspace and I've learned how most of my characters will fight.
    Of course it's good to keep things short and simple, not too much detail but enough for the reader to understand what's taking place. You also have to take into account the way characters fight and the amount of skill each character possess. For example if the villain is stronger than the hero than address that to the reader (unless in the event the villain is toying with the hero).
     
  13. Darkthought
    Offline

    Darkthought Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Messages:
    824
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    Newport News, Virginia, United States
    Short choppy sentences are best to give the feel of a fast paced "what is going to happen next?" type of action.
     

Share This Page