1. ArQane
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    ArQane Member

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    Making a Sword Fight Scene?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ArQane, Jun 7, 2016.

    Hey, ArQ here.
    I find it super difficult to really make a beautiful sword fighting scene. Some of my friends tell me to use a lot of dialogue, while others tell me to read Game of Thrones (Though I skimmed over it and could not find any, just loads of sex), but I really want to write a scene for Hell's Gate that matches what I am envisioning in my head.

    Any good places to see for some brutal combat scenes? Sword slashing fury?

    Thanks.
     
  2. agasfer
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    agasfer Member

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    First, you use "beautiful sword fighting scene", then "brutal combat scenes". That tells me that you find blood and guts beautiful. The suggestion for dialogue would be for other people's view of beauty, but for brutality, you would want to describe the various wounds, agony, deaths, blood, and so forth. For the suggestion about Game of Thrones, perhaps you would like Arya Stark's style. If you don't want to look through the book (which is not called Game of Thrones, but A Song of Fire and Ice), then you can watch scenes in YouTube, eg https://www.google.co.il/search?q=Arya+Stark%27s+sword+fighting&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b&gfe_rd=cr&ei=gFNWV53nDe3a8Af6gKf4CA
     
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  3. ArQane
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    ArQane Member

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    Both :D Thanks for the link.

    Would this be in the book as well? I feel like it would be more writer-ish that way :D
     
  4. Janus3003
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    Janus3003 New Member

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    Medieval fantasy's one of my most favorite genres, and I've written several sword fights over the years. When I started off, I was incredibly detailed about the motions. I'd describe the hero's swing and the villain's defense, followed by his response.
    I advise not doing that. Choreographing the fight bogs down the pace and hurts the scene's tension. The reader starts focusing on trying to translate text into visuals, and describing every last moment gets confusing quick. The best analogy I've heard is to try describing how to tie your shoes to someone who's never done it before, using words only.

    In my more recent work, I've begun focusing more on the emotions involved and only describing actual movements here and there. I also try to use fighting styles to inform the reader about the character.

    Here are some examples from things I've written in the past few years.
    The first story is about a medieval/Renaissance judicial duel. In this case, Hans is accused of murdering Johannes's brother, and they've ultimately gone to trial by combat.
    Johannes's method of fighting is crude and to-the-point. He rushes in with little regard for technique- just a simple strike from over the shoulder (which some historical fencing masters called a "bad peasant's blow").
    Hans shows his experience. He moves laterally, and he keeps his sword moving, making it much harder for Johannes to anticipate what he'll do. He doesn't block Johannes, he counters him, using his own offense as a defense.
    Looking at it now, I think the weakest aspect of this passage is my descriptions of Hans's movements, particularly in the third paragraph.

    The second example is from a fantasy story. Here I try to focus on character emotions (or rather, detachment from them) and try to keep up the pace, as it's the climax.

    Hope this helps, and hope I wasn't too self-indulgent.
     
  5. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    Forget Game of Thrones. Instead, go to Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Chronicles, about a Norseman fighting for King Alfred's Saxon kingdom. Even Martin admits that there is no one better than Cornwell at describing sword fights in particular and battle scenes in general. Every book in the installment had a description of man-to-man combat. Go forth now, and read.
     
  6. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    The First Law series by Joe Abercrombie has tons of good combat

    If you think you might have heard me talk about this book series before, its because I have.

    This guy and Douglas Adams are my idols.
     
  7. ArQane
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    ArQane Member

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    Thanks everyone.
    I'll check out The First Law next! Watched a bit of Arya Stark, and I'm in awe. (A bit by the sword fighting, but actually more on the complicated structure of her life). I'll search the book for her, and that might get me some technique as well.
    Stay tuned! ;)
    ArQ
     
  8. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    Another thing: you might want to make contact with your local Society for Creative Anachronism chapter, and have a trained sword fighter beta-read your fighting scenes. He or she might be able to call you on things that are unrealistic, and suggest better ways to "stage" the fight in a more realistic manner. With thousands and thousands of trained sword-fighters in the SCA, in nearly every major town in the US and elsewhere throughout the world, it would be a shame to waste that resource.

    Note: I wouldn't recommend that you consult fencers. Fencing is a totally different skill than sword combat ... different tactics, different principles. When swords-people see sword-fighting in older movies choreographed by fencers, they cringe.
     
  9. ArQane
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    ArQane Member

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    Oh? That's a good idea. They might find it a bit cheesy though, normally swordfighting does not last quite as long as writers portray them to
     

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