More Books by Erik Boman
Not everyone has been held up by the collar, but everyone has heard fabric tear and tasted their own blood after an accident. You can summon incredibly detailed information through these minor descriptions: the pull needed to tear a collar is something most people can appreciate, so they understand the violence of the grip without ever consciously considering it.
The opposite of writing a fight scene, but worth the occasional consideration, is to skip the violence entirely. I asked Tyler what he wanted me to do. The key to getting a fight scene right is learning that detail is a dirty word. Television and movies have taught us that the choreography of a fight is the important thing, but different mediums call for different tricks. The pace is so non-stop, the skill and commitment of both characters so well-written, that the reader imagines every thrust and parry and accepts them as expert. Write around the physical actions, set the mood and write the sounds, smells, tastes and feel of combat, and your reader will tap into the visual heritage that was formerly working against you to picture their own kick-ass fight scenes.
Why Not? Are you working on a fight scene now, or have you just finished writing a fight scene? Rob is an editor for Standout Books. He has yet to encounter a bookshop he can walk past, a habit which has become deadly now that you can buy the newest releases digitally at 1am. Thankfully, it also comes in handy for providing the best advice on writing your book. Read more about Rob here.
I find that writing from my own experiences help the flow. I got beat up a lot in elementary school. It helps me to place myself in the heroes shoes and try to feel, physically and emotionally, what the hero would. When you have a personal experience of this kind it can be applied to many different stories; no matter how outlandish the conflict the resulting physical and emotional reactions remain the same. Yes, less is more, exactly: even in fight scenes.
Very interesting article, fight scenes fit with fantasy novels, which are my favourite. Thanks very much. Battles are incredibly difficult to write, and often done best through smaller fight scenes that represent the battle as a whole. Indeed, all of your points are spot-on and very helpful. Thanks so much for your feedback and kind words.
Yes, caveman style gets old very quickly. When we read action scenes more of our reaction comes from the context — we worry about a character we like getting hurt — than the action itself. Consequently if a book begins with action that might grip us if we cared about the characters, the gap between how we feel and how the author wants us to feel becomes very apparent.
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I am writing a screenplay and led beautifully into a fight scene, but I came to a dead end when it came to the writing the scene itself. Most names are standing names, not finalized. The Boys arrive at an open field, the gang The Saints are waiting. Ben, in bandages and on a crutch, limps past The Boys. The Boys freeze in shock at his arrival. Two Saints sprint toward Ben, one two steps ahead of the other.
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Ben engages. A single blow. First one down. The second tackles Ben with brute force. They land with an audible thud. Ben wakes up in a hospital bed. His breath is shallow, his face swollen. Ben wares more bandages than clothing. Ben rolls his head and looks at the table next to him.
Leaving room for the actors and the director to choreograph a fight scene is a great idea when writing a screenplay, and even translates to novels — the reader is a fantastic director, you just need to give them enough information to play out their own idea of how it happened.
A warmth filled johns belly. It trickeled down his leg. His sword became heavy so he let it slip his grasp. John stared into the cloudless sky. He knew that sound. The cry of an emperial falcon. He had seen many of them during his training at the battle camps. He promised his mom, a lover of winged creatures, he would buy one for her. The bird faded from his vision, but he continued searching for it in the greysky which he could have sworn was blue moments ago. A faint sound crept up from behind the young boy. Johns vision began to blur. Please take me with you. He felt a strange peace as his vision blackened.
Slowly his eyelids lowered and he flew away from the nightmare of war.
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Can u tell me what you think this scene is about. I try to evoke the readers emotion without being direct. Want to be a writer, one who makes people cry, cheer, throw my book at the wall in anger and pick it back up again in curiosity. Would you say these same tips apply for fights that are rather supernatural? In a word, yes.
The style of writing is meant to evoke the threat and pace of the situation, so it would be applicable to the kind of fight you describe. I read it as a death on the battlefield scene, a soldier reflecting on his life before the conflict. All my books include at least on fist fight between two people who know little about fighting or at least one knows little. One or both characters are afraid of fighting and generally will do just about anything to avoid getting in a fight. You tips are very helpful.
I failed at the less is more rule in the beginning, but caught on and I think those scenes are not only strengthened, but easier on the reader. I find spending a bit more on the characters experience with the unexpected adrenaline rush, emotions, fears and anger is better. That my characters are mostly not skilled in fighting helped win reader sympathy.
I managed to stay out of fights, though as human nature goes, I was very close to not being able to get out of close encounters as a teen and young adult. That experience of fear, trepidation, excitement along with some degree of wanting to hit the other person I wanted to bring out in my characters. The whole idea of bravado versus the reality of injury is really strong, especially in the hands of directors like Baz Luhrmann. Well Im writing a mystery novel with a touches of paranormal themes. My books always have an immense focus on fights because of the violent nature of one of my characters.
I am having trouble with these because I personally have never been very descriptive in my writing. But this Article really helped me understand more of what to do and how to write them. So i have attempted to use this guide to write my first battle scene i will actually use in a story if its ok i would love abit of feedback. For extensive feedback on your writing please refer to our editing services. If I was going to suggest anything it would be more sensory information in the final section — the more you can put the reader in the cramped, deafening midst of battle the better.
Also a proofread would be necessary before including this in a larger work, to catch any errant spelling or grammar issues. Or should I just leave it out altogether? The fighting style that is? First of all, you could have the character use the style, but not refer to it as Niten Ichi-Ryu — either not naming the style or else inventing an in-world name for it. My advice would be to keep the style and give it an in-world name. I am in amidst of writing a story, and a lot of fight scenes are potentially involved.
In regards to leaving much of it to Reader imagination and keeping pace … What if the fight was written like boxing commentary? Think that would work due to short and fast paced that is in real life? Trying to find that balance between what I would like the reader to see versus what they will conjure up. Got some intricate stuff in mind and I do not want to lose all of it. Thanks for writing this article! It has come in handy. We need more like it. Sounds like a smart device. I must say, that I find your advice spot on. In my writing I have used all of these techniques — but I wish I had read your advice first — it would have saved me a bloody lot of time.
The think there maybe one exception to you words of wisdom: space battles yes, I know. I am one of those. The quiet majesty of space I believe requires more description rather than less. The vivid scenes of destruction with lasers and missiles and plasma beams play well against the void of space. That being said, I have also finished off ships and their entire crews in a short paragraph. I am most curious. Although this is a bit outside the parameters of your well-written article, what are your thoughts on fights between vessels, sailing vessels, modern warships, tanks, starships both terrestrial and non?
Thanks for commenting — I take your point about space battles. Description can lead to detachment in fight scenes, but as you say, sometimes that works well with the sterility and isolation of space. As far as battles between machines of war go, I think the key is to focus on individual experience. You can, of course, write about tank vs.
Certainly a good place to start if looking for examples. Okay, so my story is about superheroes and villains. How could I make the fight seem longer but use less pages?
Thanks for your questions. You can make fights feel longer in a variety of ways. One really effective device is to cut away for a while — perhaps to a character witnessing the action from afar, or someone elsewhere. In a similar vein, showing the consequences of the fight — the collateral damage — can add to the perceived duration, as the reader has to justify how so much damage has been done.
You can also sidetrack the reader with a few details. If your characters topple a building then let them fly away for a moment, but stay with the building, describing how people escape and how it eventually falls down completely. This is a combination of the devices above, and works as a kind of illusion for the reader — if such a passage is presented between when the fight starts and when it ends, the reader will include it in the duration of the fight afterwards, even if it was really more of an aside. In terms of directly witnessing the fight, there are fewer options. As tempting as it can be to show the reader a huge, prolonged fight scene, they rarely translate to the less visual medium of writing.
Really, the only thing that justifies a huge fight scene is making the reader really, really want to see the outcome — having built up the animosity between the characters, or the desire to see one of them bite the dust. That said, it would be unusual to turn such an action-heavy scene into a single block of text. The loudness of the room was getting louder and louder until everyone knew that there was gonna be a big huge staring contest that was going to happen during lunch. But when Michaela arrives with Elizabeth they sit down in the chairs that were blue, clean,shiny,and had a new smell to it but those blue shiny chairs where by the cafeteria table that they were sitting.
And everyone out of nowhere was just staring at Michaela,Elizabeth,Maddie,her boyfriend,and her friends. But as soon as they left the cafeteria it was really quiet but when everyone left the cafeteria, they said there was staring contest, but no fight. Thanks very much for sharing your NaNoWriMo writing. Beginning writing so young is a sure path to future brilliance, so congratulations on your work and be sure to keep at it.
Hello Mr. Thanks for the great question. All the tips above apply — keep it basic, let the reader choreograph the scene, and keep your focus as the author on potential outcomes. Also, try to vary which outcome seems more likely. I need advice how to write an aerial, ground and naval battles.
The first one is where a large military base was transport to a messed-up fantasy world where magic exists. They trained the peasants to fight against their tyrannical rulers and the corrupted nobles. The second one is a massive denizens went to the another world but find out that the world is controlled by a corrupted Empires so they decided to start a bloody world revolution. Thanks for your comments. You say that your scenes fail to excite readers, and I wanted to check that this conclusion is a result of consulting with beta readers.
The key is not to try and chase the vision — to write in such a way that the reader is brought in as a partner, filling in details and choreographing their own most exciting scene. For example:. Hello and thank you. But two of my characters have been snipping at each other for so long and the testosterone has finally hit its boiling point and there is no alternative, they have to duke it out. I have never written a fight scene. Your blog was the first one to catch my eye in google search. While it may seem like Arctic airspace is a veritable thoroughfare for long-haul flights , the story is very different in the Southern Hemisphere.
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