Saturday, 11 April 2015

Writing Fight Scenes #BYBin30

image from Pinterest

Writing a convincing fight scene can be a struggle. Many writers have never been in a physical fight, or at least, have never been in one that would be riveting to onlookers. So how exactly is a writer supposed to write a fight scene that will not only convince the reader that a fight is occurring but that will also create the sense of suspense that is needed to make the scene really fascinating?

Here are a few tips to writing a gripping fight scene:

Don't describe every little detail. Let the reader fill in some of the blanks. Blow-by-blow description of the fight can become tedious. You want your reader to be enthralled with the fight so much that they picture it in their minds, and if you fill in too much of the detail, instead of visualizing the fight, they are more likely to become bored and skim over the blow-by-blow description of it. 

Your fight scene has to be believable. The fight has to appear to be a real fight. You don't want your reader to have to suspend disbelief too much to believe your fight scene is real. Your characters have their adrenalin surging through them, and certain actions, like too much talking, will not be likely to happen. Your readers will expect the fighters to become winded and be breathing heavily after a few minutes of battle, not to be feeling fresh as a daisy after fighting for twenty minutes straight.

Your fight scene should reveal something about the character. Is your main character weaker than his or her opponent? Stronger? Is he or she afraid? Is your main character willing to fight even when it looks like he or she is going to lose? Your fight scene can show other facets of your protagonist that might not be as easily demonstrated in any other type of scene.

The fight scene should advance the plot. What happens after the fight? Is your character changed in some way? Is he or she injured? Is your protagonist more determined to succeed against all odds or are they feeling less capable? Does the win or loss of the fight change the odds of succeeding in whatever quest the story involves? This fight scene should have some effect on how the plot moves along; otherwise, it's an unnecessary scene and should be cut in the edits.

Your fight scene should not be too easy for your protagonist. If your main character sails through the fight without much difficulty and without a scratch on him or her, then not only is the fight going to be less believable, but it serves no purpose within your plot. It won't reveal anything about your character and makes the overall conflict in the story less urgent.

The fight scene needs to be full of suspense. The outcome should not be a foregone conclusion. If your reader already knows who is going to win, the suspense is gone. You might think that it is not an easy task to create suspense when you write in a genre where the hero always wins, but, when properly done, a fight scene can make your reader forget that the hero is going to win. If the fight scene is not the final scene in your story or the deciding factor in the hero's overcoming the obstacle or challenge of the story, then he or she won't necessarily win every fight or every battle. And even if the fight scene is the one that starts the conclusion of the story, a good fight scene can make a reader wonder what the cost of winning will be for your hero.

Your fight scene needs to include emotion. Even the coldest of mercenaries will feel something when they fight. Don't forget to show us what your hero, and even the villain of the story, are feeling through their actions during the fight. Does the villain say something to anger the hero, causing a sudden burst of fury-led violence from the hero? Or does the villain start backing away when he begins to fear the outcome of the battle will not be in his favor? Clenched fists can be a sign of anger as well as preparation for a punch. Does your protagonist curl his or her lip in disgust at the antagonist? Make your readers feel the emotions emanating between your two characters as they face off against one another.



Today's prize is a copy of "Writing Fight Scenes" by Rain Hall. If you are a signed-up member of the challenge, all you need to do to be entered into the drawing to win this book is leave a comment on this blog post. Do you like writing fight scenes? Do any of your stories include fight scenes? The winner will be drawn by a random number generator on March 30th, at noon GMT and announced here later the same day.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't written too many fight scenes, other than my main character pushing her bully into a bush. Probably because I've been too scared to write something that isn't believable. Thanks for the great tips.


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