Monday, 22 June 2009

About Writing Fight Scenes

Back in May I made a post about how I dreaded writing fight scenes. Since then I've spent some time reading up on the subject to see if I can begin to get a handle on it.

I think I'm finally getting somewhere.

Firstly from the amount of stuff out there it seems this is a common problem writers have. Maybe it's just that misery loves company, but it always feels good to know that other people have the same problem you do.

Secondly I've picked up some good tips which explained why I found the process of writing fight scenes so frustrating. These can be distilled down to the following three tips.


1. Write don't Choreograph. I tended to try and describe the fight I could see so clearly in my head and I ended up telling not showing. They ended up reading like stage direction. Something I'd never do if I had a dance scene in a story. Sometimes the problems are really obvious when someone points it out.

2. Make sure you're inside the Point ofView character's head. An omniscient PoV will create too much distance from the fight. The reader needs to be right there with the character. A fight is an emotional thing even if you're just watching it. You should always watch your PoV carefully in a scene - but in a fight scene it's extra important. There's so much going on that multiple PoV's would confuse the reader. It's generally not a good idea to confuse the reader.

3. Emotion! Obviously this connects directly to point 2, but I felt it deserved it's own point. In many ways capturing the emotiveness of the fight is more important than the action. And the action? Imagine how the PoV character would perceive what's happening, how they'd react to it. You're in their PoV, so that's what you write.


I think this is why The fight scene in "Moonlight and Memories" actually worked for me. It was written very intensely in one character's point of view and concentrated on the emotion rather than the action per se. It still needs some editing, but it's heading in the right direction, I think. It also gives me some idea how to sort out some other fight scenes.

Links to helpful articles bout fight scenes.

1. Does Your Fight Scene Pack a Punch? Awesome article. I think this is the article I learned the most from. Especially the "write don't choreograph" one.
2. How to Write Fight Scenes into Your Manuscript. Full of useful tips that ought to be obvious, but probably aren't - like "fight scenes must make physical sense".
3. Best Ways to Write a Fight Scene. Another good set of advice. Especially the bit about avoiding monotony - another problem with choreographing fights. They tend to be boring.
4. Creative Writing - How to Write Fight Scenes. Another good one, that again mentions the monotony problem and talks about how to balance the needs of action and description in the fast and furious reality of a fight.
5. Five Ways to Write Sizzling Fight Scenes (Superhero and Fantasy) - Given my pechant for writing speculative fiction this one is especially useful to me, because obviously extremely improbable things can happen in fight scenes, and that can raise a whole different set problems.

If you found this post helpful, or have any feedback please comment. Thanks.

1 comment:

Carlo said...

This is perfect I was reading those three tips and that's cool but If you don't Order Viagra you can get into fights.