How To Write a Fight Scene

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I know I said I wouldn't be posting on here, but I decided I would put my craft blog series on here. In about a week, I'll be adding what you should do. You can find the actual post here: graceknightbooks.blog.com

What Not To Do

1.      The Blow-by-Blow: Please, do not do the blow-by-blow. There are many reasons for this, the first and foremost being that it’s boring. There’s no emotion, no description, nothing for the reader to chew on.

2.      The Conversation: I was reading a published author’s blog not too long ago. Whose blog it was escapes me, but she was one of the first things up on a Google search. She had a post about fight scenes and something else. She seemed to have a very high estimation of her skills, and she was talking about how she showed her main character’s ability to handle conflict. She committed the cardinal sin of fight scenes: the main character held a conversation in the middle of an exhibition of sorts, and his opponent was trying to kill him. Never have your characters hold conversations in battle. It just doesn’t work, especially in hand-to-hand combat. Your brain goes on auto-pilot, and you can’t think clearly enough to do much but grunt indistinctly. She had comments disabled on the post, otherwise I would have said something.

3.      The Olympic Gymnast: Your character is not an acrobat. Your character will not be doing flips and somersaults down a battlefield. I really don’t know how that got started (I blame Hollywood), but don’t ever do that. It’s not realistic, and it seems... well, stupid, frankly. Another thing: Your character will never willingly part with their weapon. So that whole toss-the-sword-and-catch-it thing holds no water.

4.      The Weapons Expert: Your character is not the best with every weapon. Your character may be proficient with two or three, maybe even four, but they do not know how to use every weapon, and they won’t win competitions for them all. Even with different types of swords, the styles can be very different based on what you’re wielding. The Roman gladius is a stabbing weapon. A scimitar couldn’t stab without great difficulty, and very limited success. In the time took you to figure out how to go about stabbing someone with a scimitar, your opponent would have taken your head off. A battle-axe requires big movements, because it’s heavy and long. You can’t fight in close quarters with it either. On the other hand, you can with a rapier. It’s slender and flexible, very light. Also, your five foot tall female character is not going to have the strength to handle most traditional swords. You have to be realistic.

5.      The Walking Armory: No one walks around with a crossbow, a couple spears, and fifty other assorted pointy objects strapped to their backs.  Don’t laugh. I’ve seen it done. You can carry around a dagger or two with a sword or a morning star, and maybe even all three, but you can’t have a longbow and quiver slung over your shoulder with it. I think why is pretty self-explanatory.

6.      The Natural: You must have training. You can’t just pick up a Glock .35 and go win sharpshooting competitions. It takes time and experience to figure it out. The first you fire one, it’ll like your arm is popping out of place. The kick is stronger than what most people believe. Not only that, but your trigger pull is going to be all over the place. You’re not going to hit anything right out of the gate. If it were that easy, we’d have a lot more snipers, and it’s probably a good thing it isn’t that easy. With a rifle, you’ve got to know how to breathe, or you’re going to be worse than you were with a handgun. No one is a master right off the bat.

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