Saturday, May 1, 2010

Creative Writing: How to Write Fight Scenes

Many of the novels produced today have fight scenes which must be described in detail. If you are writing a suspense or horror story, chances are someone will throw a few punches. Depending on the type of fight you are writing about, you will need to think through each fight scene and decide exactly how you want to tell it.

Fight scenes are much easier to perform on television than to write in a manuscript. On the screen, you can see the fight happening and you aren't worried about what anyone is thinking. You don't have to tell the audience how each move is executed because it is right there in front of your face. In a novel, however, the way you write a fight scene will determine whether or not your reader can follow.

One of the most difficult aspect of writing fight scenes is the tendency to slip into monotony: He kicked her. She kicked him. He punched her. She bit him. In order to keep your reader interested, you have to find creative ways to tell the reader what is happening.

When writing fight scenes, focus not only on the characters who are engaged in the fight, but also various aspects of the scenery. In most cases, you will be "in the mind" of one specific character, which means that the fight is explained from his or her point of view. Even as your character is kicking ass and taking names, he or she should be cognizant of the world around them.

There is a fine line, however, between creating enough description and creating so much that it takes away from the pace. Fights are fast, furious and often over within minutes; if you drag it out too long, your reader will get bored. Keep the pace flowing by intermixing your description with the mechanics of the fight.

For example:

"Caleb was momentarily distracted by the shouts that emanated from the rapidly growing crowd in the parking lot. Catcalls were followed by cheers of encouragement so loud that his attention was momentarily called away from the fight. Joshua's leg swept out in a wide, graceful art, connecting with Caleb's ankles, throwing him off balance. Without even realizing what exactly was happening, Caleb found himself flat on his back, sucking in deep breaths of air that seemed devoid of oxygen, wincing as tiny pebbles from the asphalt dug painfully into his back. The subsequent tunnel vision that threatened to take away his sight cleared with just enough time to roll away from a kick to the ribs."

The above is an excerpt from a suspense novel I wrote several years ago, and displays an example of complementing action with description. We know what is going on with the fight, but we also understand what has happened to Caleb.

Once you have finished writing a fight scene, read it over aloud. Listen to the words from an objective point of view and determine if you can see the fight happening in your mind. If you don't feel that you can maintain objectivity, read it to a friend or family member.

Laura J. College is a professional ghostwriter with more than ten years' experience writing fiction and non-fiction manuscripts. Her work can be found all over the Internet, and she is currently accepting ghostwriting clients. Check out her website at []

1 comment:

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