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  • Leonora Seitz

Writing basic fight scenes

"Rule one about fight club, is we don't talk about fight club."

Well, I'm probably going to get punched in the face because HERE I AM, talking about it.

Physical fights in stories add a sort of excitement but it can also help with character development, as well as story development. I personally love them. Have you ever been in a fight, or more- a fight for your life against a monster? That is some serious teeth clenching stuff if you haven't.

If you have.

I'm glad you won.

Here are some points I want to make to hopefully help you will writing better basic fighting scenes. (More complex scenes that require either no sounds or no gravity will be more pointers.)

- Layout the scene first, your character's surroundings.

This is important because fights are messy, and if you write the entire scene with them never disturbing a single thing, you're doing it wrong. Knowing where a wall is located as well as a deck or chairs is important, your character, based on their personality, might use them. of placing something in the room your character might use later for a fight is also something to consider. Don't be afraid to add random things to your fight either! (ex; she tumbled across the desk and hit the ground with a thud. Scrambling, she reached for the closest thing amongst the office's floor and found a metal stapler. She chucked it at the attacker before making a run for it.)

- Make sure to add character development

Fights are fun to write but don't forget to give reason to it or in later edits it will get cut. Why are they fighting? Is their purpose? Is it to further the plot, or is it to further the development of your character? Take that into account when you are writing it to. if they are fighting for character development, do a little more inner monologue, if it's to get the story to the next point, to kill an enemy, make the stakes high and straight forward. 

- Inner monologue is a thing, as well as feelings

People think when the fight, they calculate, they feel, they THINK! Depending on the fight their needs to be a good balance of thoughts and actions because humans are emotional creatures. It can help direct your character better, and also help your readers understand what kind of mindset the MC is in.

(ex: Anger arose as I whipped the blood from my lip, twisting into a fiery rage as I launched myself at him again. I hit blindly over and over, feeling the pain of his dodges as he shoved my fists away. I should use my training, use my techniques but I can't bring myself away from the anger, all I see is him standing over her dead body ... )

- Your MC is human, make sure to portray that

Don't make your character a Mary sue (urban dictionary it) in any aspect please, I mean sure, they can have their moments of badassery, but make them human. Humans make mistakes, they get hit in the face, they bleed A LOT. I'm guilty of making my characters kind of badass at fighting, but I don't make them invisible. They should always be injured in some way, to be honest. It makes them more realistic, and honestly the more they are hurt, the more your readers will sympathize. They will also root harder for them if they are fighting to beat the odds. Just make sure they get hurt, and not just like a scratch, even good fighters get a black eye from time to time.

- Describe only the essentials

Don't think you have to describe every single movement of your characters fighting maneuvers, because your readers will get it. I have watched youtube videos on fighting and thought I had to explain every step when I explained someone's training, but people will make up the gaps in their heads. Everyone has seen a fight some way or another, they can picture it, so don't feel obligated to completely draw it out. They were flung across the room and hit the desk. Not, they were grabbed by their right leg and under the right ribs and lifted before being tossed into the air and landing on the desk ten feet from them. 

I hope this helps give some perspective of what you might need, or not, for a basic fighting scene. If you have any questions, feel free to message me, I would be more then happy to help!

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