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I am super-excited to host an outstanding writer on my blog today. Julia has a blog full of sage writing wisdom, so be sure to check it out in the links at the bottom of the post. You can check out my own guest post on her blog, my monthly column at Our Write Side, as well as a guest post about King of Ages at Lavinia Collins’ blog. But definitely read this excellent post first about writing fight scenes!

How to Write a Fight Scene

Fight scenes are an exciting part of our stories but can be a little intimidating to write. So let’s look at some tips for writing fight scenes that rock.

First of all, you want your fight scenes to match the voice and writing style of the rest of your story. If the rest of your style is written with lyrical prose for instance, you don’t want a jarringly concise fight scene. Keep in mind, however, that using short, punchy sentences keeps pacing fast and keeps those pages turning. Keep track of the players and where they are throughout the fight. Help your readers follow along with the attacks and blocks characters use. Also keep in mind that each character will fight differently. Stay true to your character and their personality and training. And fight scenes are no place for long, drawn-out dialogue. There’s not much room for talking in a real life fight, so don’t add speeches when you write.

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Image from Wikipedia entry on History of Martial Arts

Do your homework on the fighting styles and weapons your character will be using. But don’t get caught up in technical writing or jargon, especially if you’re not an expert. It’s off-putting and complicates understanding. Make things simple and clear. You don’t want to give a blow-by-blow commentary of the fight. That’s boring and tedious. Be careful not to lose your readers to confusion; they have to be able to follow along. If you don’t know about fighting, give less details and go for more lyrical description of the event. Keep in mind your character’s training or lack thereof. This will change the way they fight. Don’t make your character a “natural” unless your plot gives a good explanation for how your character can fight like a master despite her lack of training.

Don’t write like Hollywood. Work on being more realistic and avoid the one-punch knockout and fighting through grievous injuries. Injuries matter, so don’t ignore them. At some point, certain injuries are too big to fight through. They’ll affect how well your MC can fight, hindering them as well as weakening them. And an experienced female character can defeat a male without special advantages.

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Image from eschipul on Flickr

Real fighting is ugly. There’s the scent of sweat and blood, swelling bruises, and broken bones. Include these concrete details. Also, keep in mind how your character is dealing with the psychological aspects of fighting, both of not wanting to fight and how well they cope with hurting others. People don’t want to hurt others generally, so deal with these aspects in and after your fight.

 

Let your MC lose some fights and get hurt. They shouldn’t be able to fight an experienced fighter and walk away unscathed. And know your weapons before you use them and how they’ll affect the fight. If you have a new fighter, the weight of their sword can lead to early fatigue and result in a loss. Add these details to keep things realistic.

There are some tips to get you started writing your big fight scene. Is there anything you struggle with when writing fight scenes? Any go-to methods you use? Comment below and let us know how you write fight scenes. Also, check out my blog, my weekly column at Our Write Side, and follow me on Twitter for more writing tips and inspiration, and happy writing!

Julia
BIO: Julia received her BA in Creative Writing and English from Michigan State University. She did her senior thesis in poetry under the tutelage of Diane Wakoski, but has been focused primarily on fiction as of late. Common writing themes that can be found in her work address identity and the type of strength that can be found in ordinary people. Julia is currently working on a Young Adult fantasy novel and can be found at local cafes in her hometown when writing, and painting, drawing, or reading when not.