This is a really thought provoking blog on how to approach writing fight scenes. It is very tempting, for young writers and new writers, to make action scenes into anime or the Matrix (OR the Ani-Matrix). Once upon a time I was one of them, but it quickly became apparent that it didn’t work. Fiction text isn’t the same as what appears on the screen. Clarity should top flashiness, mood should always be conveying the tone you intend, and the closer you get to those fighting the more you use the possibilities of fiction to their full capabilities. BUT that’s just my take, what do you all think?
On social media, forums and Reddit of late I’ve seen quite a few people asking about writing fight scenes. So this week, with axes in hand, I thought we’d battle our way through it.
There seems to be a few general rules of thumb for writing fight scenes. They are:
- Blow by blow is boring;
- Clarity is king;
- Show v tell.
Let’s look at each in detail.
Blow by blow is boring
“He swung left, then right, dodged a lunging blow from behind, rolled to the right, raised his sword to parry another attack.”
A fight scene should not be a stream of blow after blow until everyone’s dead or retreated. Rather, it ought to be a portrayal of a character’s physical and mental state as they experience danger.
In movies seeing every punch and kick, decapitation or shooting is sadistically entertaining. On the page it’s a different…
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