General · Writing

On Writing a Fight Scene

Earlier this week, I was at the place where I went wrong with the novel in progress in the first place. There is a fight in the very first scene and I didn’t want to write it. But I came to the realization I can’t avoid it. I am realizing now this is an early point where I could take the novel in a couple different directions. So early, I didn’t even recognize it as such a point.

Thing is, his job involves a fair amount of fighting. Plus, he practices mixed martial arts. (A childhood passion, which he refined and polished in adulthood.) So I shouldn’t be especially surprised if a fight shows up on the first page (or the third page as it were). I didn’t want to write it because I am not good with fight scenes.

I grew up admiring Drizzt Do’urden’s fight scenes, but I have no idea how to even begin writing scenes like those. Not that I could anyway; my guy isn’t really good with swords. I don’t know much about any kind of martial arts, either, though I have some idea of which ones he does.

But still – the fight was necessary and I set to it. And you know what? That fight, the one I’d built up so much in my head and avoided entirely in my first try? It turned out to be all of one paragraph. One paragraph! Less than a hundred words. It’s not even a proper fight scene. I don’t know whether to relieved or disappointed. I mean, I was all set to write a real fight scene.

My fight scene almost disappeared because the guy panics and runs and trips. I’d envisioned more of a Bruce Lee fight, with lots of punches and kicks and cool gymnastics. Instead, I get a handhold. The panic makes sense, though, and so does the tripping.

The real villain hasn’t showed up yet. So I could have a real fight scene in the future!!!

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3 thoughts on “On Writing a Fight Scene

  1. LOL that is so insanely funny! I wish my MC’s opponents were that smart…

    I have a number of fight scenes in mine. Thankfully, I actually LIKE to write them and (I’d like to think!) I’m decent at writing them. The only trouble is that it requires SO MUCH concentration because you have to keep track of everything going on at once. It’s one thing to have a conversation between 2-3 people, which is basically ‘normal’ time. But then you get to a fight scene with 2-3 people, and you have to literally slow down the scene in your head so you can actually WRITE what’s going on, but the whole thing happens SO FAST! It’s like watching it in a movie and taking notes, pausing it after every third punch to quickly jot it down, and then hit play again, jotting it down–oh crap, you missed one, REWIND–and so on…

    It hurts my head, but in a good way. I’ve written four so far, and I’ll be writing another 4 in the next … 4 chapters. And then 3 more after that 😀

  2. I know what you mean, fight scenes can be daunting. But when you get into them, they can be amazingly fun to write.

    I tend to think of my fights as I would see them in an action film, then I try and capture the same tension and emotion in my writing. The only downfall is that these scenes usually have more editing to do because I’m so engrossed in the scene, like Jessica said about having lots of things going on at the same time. But I usually have a great time, even if it is something I’m worried about writing.

    I was lucky that one of my novels had a fair few fight scenes, so I really had a chance to practice during the course of the novel. Trust me, practice makes perfect! Good luck with building up to another fight, just try to have fun with it!

  3. I guess it is funny 😉

    Yeah you have to have a million things in your head. It is why I realized why a real fight scene wouldn’t work, but I hadn’t thought of all that before I sat down to write it. I realized all that when I started playing it out in my head.

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