1. ABMiller86
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    ABMiller86 Member

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    Writing a fight scene in a story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ABMiller86, Sep 1, 2008.

    I find when i am writing a fight scene with lots of action that it always comes across very he hit, he kicked... just very blah.

    Any suggestion or ideas
     
  2. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    Find some authors who write good fight scenes and study what they do. I can definitely recommend R.A. Salvatore for this; much as I might roll my eyes at the painful angst-bunny his preferred main character has become, the man writes a good, rousing fight scene.
     
  3. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I had a great exercise awhile back in my Karate class. When two people were sparring, I'd watch them and try to translate it into words as it happened! I thought it came out well as I essentially captured the speed and the crispness in the quick simple sentences and with a bit of flash and some fancy language I was able to reproduce the method without watching an actual fight. It might not be the best way of writing a fight scene but its worked well for me and I find it a good way of portraying hand to hand combat.

    Find some movies. i suggest some Bruce Lee or Ong-Bak or the Protector. Both are pretty good with some rousing fight scenes that could help you.

    Just remember to add "FATALITY" at the end :p.
     
  4. ABMiller86
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    ABMiller86 Member

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    Is there a particular piece of his work that you would recommend, please and thank you
     
  5. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally, I would put a lot of description into a fight scene. The scenery, the noises they can hear in the moment of tense silence, the blood spilling from their wounds etc etc. Paint a really vivid picture in the readers mind, use decription and pauses it the right places to build up tension, have them moving around a little, up some steps, down a corridor, one slips over, they are goading one another. That sort of thing may help.
     
  6. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    I sucked at fight scenes and didn’t even know it until I went back and read them…ugh…they were awful. Anyway I started researching different methods of combat fighting in great detail. I would watch videos of fights and slow it down so I could see each movement. I also sat down and watched mixed martial arts with my husband, something I will admit to normally hating, but this actually helped me the most. I still do not like watching these guys beat each other into a bloody mess, but I did learn how to construct believable fight scenes from them. So I guess I’m saying research, research, research. You get the idea.
     
  7. Palimpsest
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    Palimpsest Senior Member

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    Humph. Around 5 years ago when I was still writing fanfiction, this one writer had a great essay on translating onscreen fight scenes to paper.

    He had an awesome website up, with "know your weapon" sections (so he'd probably not write about stabbing people with a curved blade so often) and it wasn't even fandom-specific... it was advice that could be used in original fiction, too. I googled, followed old links... nothing.

    Well, except for this, which I think is very insightful but it's Buffy-specific if you don't mind. Hope it helps.

    A summary of the essay:
    Step 1: Establish your goal in having a fight scene. Is it to further the plot (as in, a climatic battle?) or to reveal something about the characters (their difference of skill in battle, in what style of battling they were trained or fall back to, showing their emotion and motivation to keep fighting-- and, of course, their relationship with the opponent) or both?
    Step 2: "Choreograph" the fight scene. Take into account the length of time it must take for the plot and the difficulty it must hold for the characters (to meet the goal established in Step 1,) also their weapons, their allies, handicaps and injuries sustained during the battle...
    Step 3: Word choice. Compare

    Angel put his fist in the vampire’s face.
    Angel punched the vampire in the jaw.
    Angel smashed his fist into the vampire’s jaw.


    So it needs to be detailed enough so the reader gets a clear image of what's happening, but concise enough to keep up with the pace of a fight.
    It can also reveal emotion (if they're fighting calculatedly, "aiming" their kicks instead-- or with rage, say Hulk "SMASH", or with desperation) or the details of anything else that your story needs.

    (Fight scenes are beginning to sound pretty awesome to me :))
     
  8. assassins creed
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    assassins creed Banned

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    When I did martial arts (aside from teaching it) I also watched when two people where sparring. However when I was street fighting, it was completely different. It was a no holds barred type of fighting - anything goes. These street fights were organized with the travelling community, so when my fight came up I was ready both in body and mind.

    However, before my turn came, I always observed the other fights in front of me. I would look at their style of fighting, seek out what their weak spots are or may be. Then when it came to my fight, I usually went hell for leather.

    Throughout these street fights I sometimes would be involved in a fight where I would have to take on two or three opponents. During theses bouts I would have my friend use a camcorder to record my fights for later analysis- to see where I made my mistakes, what worked and what didn't.

    this is something that took place within these fights:
    opponent A attacked me from the left side with a hay maker of a punch. While I was in my fighting stance,my guard up,I was prepared for this attack. I blocked this initial attack, holding onto his arm and responded with a snap kick to the groin. Still hold his arm I head butted him and followed up with an upper cut, dazing him and taking him out of the fight.

    As I did this, one of the other opponents circled around me. He attacked me on my blind side, with a running jump kick of his own. He caught me square between the shoulder blades. Knocking me forwards to the ground. As I was struggling to get up off the ground
    the other opponents charged forwards to pound me while I was still on the ground.

    I managed to stomp opponent B in the knee as he reached me first. He hit the ground screaming in pain and holding his knee. Opponent C reached me and took a merciful swipe at my head with his right boot. I barely managed to get my guard up protecting my head, but my left arm felt the force of his kick.

    As opponent C went to take another swipe at my head, I swivelled on the ground, catching his leg with mine and knocked him to the ground.

    I got up off the ground while opponent C somersaulted to the side to avoid me. Opponent B meanwhile, was hopping around me and went to charge at me again. I was ready for his attack and when he came at me, I kicked him so hard in his injured knee he immediately hit the ground. I went straight in for the kill and stomped his already injured knee so hard, I took him out of the fight.

    Now there was just the two of us left, I went on the attack. I feinted a left cross and ducked inside his punch. Then I gave him an elbow to the jaw, which didn't seem to faze him at all. I went to throw another punch but he blocked it and grabbed me by the throat.

    I struggled with his grip to get him to release me, but he was strong. Trying to gain my composure I held on to his hand for dear life. Managing to compose myself, I chopped him on the inside of his elbow, causing him to loosen his grip and at the same time pull me towards him.

    I took this opportunity and slapped him with the back of my open hand to the adams apple, causing him to struggle for breath. I immediately kicked him in the groin and followed up with a couple of punches to his jaw knocking him out.


    I hope this is some help to you.

    Assassins Creed
     
  9. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    There you go, research right in the thread from a personal point of view. You just can't beat that. If I were you, I would contact this person.
     
  10. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    You will hear many things about how to write a good fight scene. Ignore most of, if not all of it. Especially when people tell you HOW to fight or things like that. Learning the art of fighting comes from personal study and in that, the learning is the lesson, not a final explanation, there is also the issue with what you are doing, are you doing super-hero combat, paranormal combat, normal human, martial arts, slug fist, etc, etc. Think of the difference between something like a fantasy fight with normal humans vs Sci with cyborgs going at it, or people with god spirits in them, or power cosmic, or wizards, or something else.

    The rules of what makes up combat change by the environment and who is fighting. In one place a haymaker might be the have all end all of combat skills, while in another part people might know a complex series of combat known as Tae Kwon Do.

    In that front, you the author need to decided what the limits of combat are, and sadly until we read the story, we can not make calls as to what sounds "right" as each would have it's own rules on what is 'realistic' and plausible as such you need to make those personal artistic calls.

    The best advice I can give you on how to write a fight seen, is to explain what you are doing.

    Here is the simple way to get a feel for how to write a fight scene, using normal people in a simple fight exchange.

    We start the Scene: Bland simple start to a fight.

    I kicked him.
    Then he kicked me.


    Good start. You have a fight here. You have an action and a counter action in the fight!

    Now where did you kick him?

    I kicked him in the head.
    Then he kicked me in the groin.

    Good!

    Now how hard did you kick him?

    I kicked him in the head so hard his teeth rattled.
    Then he kicked me in the groin so hard I puked on the floor.

    And then you keep asking yourself these questions until you have a good idea of what you want me to know about what is going on.

    Does this help you a bit?
     
  11. ABMiller86
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    ABMiller86 Member

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    Thank you all so far who have responded you have definitly helped me out with bettering my fight scene writing... assasins creed i will be PMing you soon
     
  12. assassins creed
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    assassins creed Banned

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    your more than welcome. With twelve years international experience behind me in the martial arts, fifteen years in the streets and eighteen years as a doorman I hope I have something in me to help you.


    Assassins Creed
     
  13. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    In the following fight scene out of my sci-fi book, I borrowed from some basic principles of Wing Chun Kung Fu which address fighting against opponents who are more forceful (the alien is larger and stronger than the human scout). The fight takes place inside a human space ship after a Heptari fighter rams the ship and enemy soldiers gain access to the interior. The MC (Shilgar) has already defeated one of the alien-soldiers and is now about to fight the Heptari officer. Here is the scene:

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Shilgar watched the tip of a small weapon extend cautiously through the doorway. The forearm of this Heptari was much smaller than the previous two.

    As Shilgar poised to strike, he reviewed the lessons he had just learned about these beings. He burst from concealment driving his empty hand against the elbow of the enemy’s weapon arm. A bright flash of energy crossed the room, but this Heptari was different. Instead of resisting Shilgar’s force, he simply spun away from the scout’s trapping hand to release his pinned arm. As he came around, his tail whipped painfully across Shilgar’s body and the Heptari’s trailing fist slammed into the side of Shilgar’s head. The scout’s vision blurred with the impact.

    Pulse weapons would be most dangerous at a distance. Shilgar knew he must stay close to his opponent so he could control the aim of that weapon. Despite blurred vision, he took the only action he could, clenching tightly to the body of his enemy and stabbing wildly with his knife. The blade tip bounced harmlessly along rows of scales while the enemy soldier attempted to throw him off.

    The Heptari officer dropped his weapon to the floor and brought both hands to Shilgar’s waist, virtually ignoring the flailing knife. With a mighty heave, he lifted Shilgar into the air, and threw the scout onto the scaled body of his slain comrade.

    Shilgar’s vision cleared as he jumped back to his feet and poised for hand-to-hand combat.

    The enemy made no attempt to retrieve his firearm. In fact, he did not even seem concerned, as he took a moment to tear off his knife-shredded shirt. A large tattoo of an ancient looking serpent covered the officer’s entire chest. Parts of the image wrapped out of sight around his sides. The lizard-soldier’s mouth curved into a wicked smile as he positioned his feet in a strange stance. The carved dragon’s head handle of a knife protruded from his red waist sash. Light glinted off its jeweled eyes.

    “You must be a human. Your race is weaker than I imagined. I will take your head for my trophy room.”

    This Heptari soldier moved with amazing speed, crossing the distance to Shilgar in a swift spinning movement. One fist thrust toward the human’s head while his second hand pinned Shilgar’s knife to one side.

    Shilgar had studied such moves in his youth, during ancient-Earth martial art training. He pivoted to the side of the centerline of attack, freeing up his knife hand and positioning for immediate counterattack. His empty hand was closest to the enemy so he struck the only target of opportunity. Eyes.

    Shilgar’s three-finger thrust found its mark, sinking deep into the soft tissue inside the eye socket. The Heptari hissed in pain and disengaged from the combat, rubbing his damaged eye with the back of his hand.

    “Good move, human. Perhaps I underestimated you. Your head will be a greater treasure than I thought.”

    The Heptari withdrew the dagger from his belt. It was twice as long as Shilgar’s. The soldier twirled the weapon in one hand, demonstrating his proficiency.

    Backing away slowly, the old scout studied his opponent’s deliberate stance, looking for balance points, as the enemy inched forward. The soldier lunged and Shilgar reversed his evasive direction from the last attack. The martial arts trained Heptari expected a repeat of the human’s first escape move, so the dragon-dagger stabbed deep into empty air where Shilgar would have been, if he had repeated the direction of his first escape. The Heptari was not discouraged.

    “It’s just a matter of time, human. You can only escape in two directions. One time, you will not guess correctly.” The Heptari hissed arrogantly, and attacked again.

    For the third time, Shilgar guessed correctly, but as he rotated away from the Heptari’s knife thrust, he spit directly into his opponent’s face. The Heptari became enraged at the insult.

    Shilgar’s rudimentary plan was working.

    “How dare you mock me, human!” The reptilian officer wiped saliva from his face. “Now, you forfeit a merciful death! You will beg for death before I kill you!”

    The infuriated Heptari lost his composure, charging recklessly up Shilgar’s centerline. This time, the highly trained scout did not step aside. Instead, he parried the longer blade with his own knife and smashed his forehead into the Heptari’s face, pushing away only after delivering the maximum impact possible.

    Green blood ran down the face of his opponent. In the same instant, Shilgar noticed the red of his own blood dripping onto the front of his shirt. Shilgar backed toward the doorway leading into the engineering room. He recalled one of the earliest rules from Earth martial art chronicles. A doorway narrows your attacker’s options.

    “Human, I see you know basic martial combat, but that doorway will not save you.”

    The Heptari approached, more carefully this time, having recovered from the mistake of losing his self-discipline to anger.

    Shilgar transferred his weight to the balls of his feet so he could adjust quickly to the next charge by the Heptari, an attack that did not come. Using a swift underhand motion, the soldier pitched his dagger across the short span between them. It hit Shilgar in the left shoulder, penetrating to the hilt. More than half the blade protruded from his back.

    “Why don’t you attack me now, human? I have no weapon.” The Heptari taunted.

    Shilgar’s vision blurred almost immediately. He dropped to his knees.

    The Heptari walked up to the kneeling scout and grabbed him by the hair, tilting his head back so he could see into the eyes of his victim.

    “Are you feeling faint, human? My blade is coated with a powerful narcotic. Before you pass out, I want you to see the knife I will use to take your head.”

    The Heptari reached deep inside his belt line, retrieving a small hook shaped knife with a diagonal handle. Like the dagger, this handle was ornate with jewels and the engraved head of a serpent.

    Shilgar could not resist the powerful drug any longer and slumped forward onto the cabin floor.
     
  14. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    The only suggestions I can give are to keep sentences short and to pay attention to what you write.

    I have read some fight scenes by authors that are completly impossible in the realms of the story they are writting. You do not need to know about fighting to write a good scene.

    The reason I say that is I have read a lot of good wizard battles, but I have never heard of a wizard who could levitate and cast lightning for real. Have you?

    A good scene also can not be too long with out some changes. Salvatore is someone who does that well for real. Drizzt and Artemis start a fight in the street that leads to the sewers that ends on a dock. It is pages long but never loses interest. et he is good with phrases like "...a flurry of blows were exchanged leaving tiny cuts drawing crimson over the rivals." That leaves an image in my mind of the boys just going at it hardcore without saying anything at all. I the reader make up my own fight scene.
     
  15. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    AC you should probably copyright this, ahahaha.
     
  16. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    don't forget to throw in thoughts of your MC in the fight scene, because he or she is going to be THINKING during it too, strategizing...unless they're moving on instinct, which f they are, say that too....
     
  17. pizzaboy
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    pizzaboy Banned

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    sometimes in a fight you don't have time to think, you just react to the situation as it is happening. So if you are coming from a fighting back ground like Assassins creed, your instincts would take over
     
  18. bigmac
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    bigmac Banned

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    PIZZABOY you taking all my glory!! now get out the food and fight this is war. The people on this forum can decide which fast food they like, bigmac or pizza!! :):)

    Cool off mac! he's only a boy. A delivery boy, but a boy none the less. Now cool it.

    Getting back to the topic at hand,I have to agree with what Assassins creed and pizza boy (this is killing me) said. AC has experience and (puke!) pizzaboy (puke!) saw that. Maybe because he is used to delivering pizzas to the losers of these fights?
     
  19. dumbBlonde
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    dumbBlonde Banned

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    i would have to say it seems so stupid to be fighting in the first place. If you have to talk about it, make the action sound real. This AC seems to know something about it ask him.
     
  20. smithyJ
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    smithyJ Banned

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    What about watching a Bruce Lee movie - Enter the Dragon, or even Jackie Chan - police story, project A or anything on Jet li (who as it happens is Jackie Chans former bodyguard).
     
  21. sophia_esteed
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    sophia_esteed Senior Member

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    When I write a fighting scene, I try to visualize it first.
    It helps me having fighting scenes from mangas or movies or games opened on my desktop to help me visualize what I'm gonna write...pretty much like a storyboard or something.
     
  22. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    this is small snippet from a fight scene I've doing, I think that it works ok, because it has both action and some thoughts in it:

    Catching a glint of metal in the corner of her eye, Kate twirled to her right, trying to parry the move she hadn’t seen. The move she made was good, but not quite fast enough, the trajectory of the woman’s slice altered not blocked. Kate gasped as she felt the sharpened blade cut through her jumpsuit along her side, slicing into her skin.

    “Oh God ” She screamed, the pain blossoming from her side, as she could feel the blood starting to run. Pain was nothing she was unaccustomed to, but this wound hurt worse then anything else she had suffered.

    Exploding into her head like a mushroom cloud, Kate felt the agony welling up from her side. Feeling like rubber, her legs wouldn’t hold her up, dropping her to her knees. Cursing as she felt herself about to fall onto her back, Kate drove the point of her sword into the ground. Chest heaving in the effort to try to breath through the pain, Kate felt her eyes drop to the dirt.

    Damn that hurts, she told herself, feeling the blood running down her jumpsuit. Groaning with pain, she felt the annoying itching also starting.

    “Get up,” the other woman snarled, switching her sword from hand to hand. “Or I’ll kill you where you kneel.”
     
  23. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    Here is an action scene from one of my stories. I hope this helps some. Like I said everyone has listed great hand to hand combat but here is something with a little more fantasy to it.


    By the time Samuel hit the ground he was already starting to feel better. The burns he suffered were already healing and the pain was completely gone. He healed faster then them, now he had to use that to his advantage.

    Sanders started moving in the direction he had fallen while John could be seen high in the sky. Samuel made his decision on how to proceed quickly. Despite the fact that he was very powerful, John had one fatal flaw. He was a coward. Only cowards hide the truth of what they are in barbiturates. Only cowards wait out of harms reach while someone else hunts for the enemy.

    Samuel leaped into the air after John. John tried to gain more height but seemed and Samuel knew his decision had been on. John had already moved to his maximum height but tried to run first before attacking. That was all the extra time Samuel needed. When John realized that he could not rise he started to charge his attack. Sanders tried to get a shot off, but Samuel was moving too fast.

    John left off a blast just as Samuel grabbed his fist. Samuel squeezed John’s fist till the bones were crushed in his hand. John punched Samuel over and over in the face trying to get him off. Sanders flew in and grabbed Samuel from behind charging up for a point blank shot.
    Samuel managed to block a punch from John and hit him square on the chin with an uppercut. Samuel then raised his right leg kicked John away, and used the momentum to turn in Sanders grasp and face him head on. Sanders let loose with a shot to Samuel’s chest. Samuel let out a scream and pointed his hand at Sanders.

    Sanders eyes went wide as energy flew from Samuel’s hand and connected with his shields. Sanders fell towards the earth trying to recover from the blasts. Samuel fell towards the ground waiting for an impact that never came. He took a moment to see what was happening to him. He was still moving through the air just slower. He forced himself to stop in midair and turned looking for John. John had recovered from Samuel’s kick and looked at him floating below. Samuel smiled at John and started to ascend.
     
  24. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    have you thought of rewording it some? Like Ungood slammed into my head, this sounds a lot like 'telling' then 'showing.' Try to make things a bit more vague then they are...like I used a vague meaning for the attack. For most of the woman's attack that hurt Kate, I kept it vague, the exact movements, trying to keep it as something you imagine...
    Try to go more vague, and more as "showing"




     
  25. alvin123
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    alvin123 Senior Member

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    i see. Because i too have trouble writing a fight scene( as everyone in "Novel" knows)
    Building up tension seems almost impossible for me though
     

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