Episode VIII: The Family Reunion on Ach-To

Ren had come for the girl, but before him stood no powerful Force-user, no magnificent sight to behold…no, before him stood an old, pathetic, frail hermit, waiting with a brandished green saber, the anxiety emanating from his being like a toxic gas. Ren grimaced– he wanted nothing to do with Luke Skywalker; he’d left his former Master to suffer in silence and regret many years ago…this time, the punishment must be permanent.

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Writing Realistic Injuries
by Leia Fee, with additions by Susannah Shepherd

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Writing Research - Bow & Arrows

The purpose of this research post is to be helpful, more importantly educational. I certainly don’t condone the use of this knowledge for malevolent reasons. I want to help writers with their stories and I figured this would make their search for such information easier. 

This is great for the stories that take place in ancient times, apocalyptic setting, and/or contains characters that are archers. Maybe you’re writing fanfiction and it’s about one of these characters: Legolas Greenleaf, Bard the Bowman, Kili and Tauriel (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit), Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)Kagome Higurashi (InuYasha), Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Arrow), Princess Merida (Brave), Susan Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia), Link (The Legend of Zelda), Hawkeye, Robin Hood, Lara Croft, and so on. 

This information would help make them believable. For example, if they are teaching another character how to be an archer it would be difficult to write about it without first knowing how it’s actually done in real life. The same can be said about when they are wounded by an arrow, just how would they deal with it? Or if your character is a survivalist or prepper and their story is set in an apocalypse world, they would probably know how to make weapons (like the bow and arrows) from the things around them in order to survive.

So this post is meant to make a writer’s life a little easier by giving them a starting point. It doesn’t contain EVERY information about bows, but if you know what you’re looking for than I encourage you to look it up. 

How To Make A Bow and Arrows

How To Use A Bow

How To Treat An Arrow Wound/Injury

FightWrite: Your Killers Need to Kill

Killers need to kill. It’s surprising how many writers ignore this very specific and important piece of the ones they claim are killers, heartless or not. Sometimes, there’s a difference between the character we describe in the text and the actions the character takes. An author can tell me over and over that a character is a deadly and dangerous person who strikes ruthlessly without mercy, but if they don’t behave that way in the actual story then I’m not going to buy it.

Show versus tell: the difference between who the author says the character is and the actions the character takes in the story. Especially if the actions counteract the description. Now, you do have characters who lie, characters who misrepresent themselves, characters who say one thing and do another, but these are not the characters we’re talking about. This is about ensuring that you, the author, know the character you are writing. Unless you’re hiding their habits, let us glimpse the worst they’re capable of.

Monster. I could tell Jackson I was a monster, but he wouldn’t believe me. He saw a strawberry blonde, five feet eleven inches. A waitress, a Pilates nut, not a murderer. The nasty scar across my slim waist that I’d earned when I was ten? He thought I’d gotten it from a mugging at twenty one. Just as a natural layer of womanly fat hid away years of physical conditioning, I hid myself behind long hair, perky makeup, and a closet full of costumes bought from Macy’s and Forever 21. To him, I was Grace Johnson. The woman who cuddled beside him in bed, the woman who hogged the sheets, who screamed during horror movie jump scares, the woman who forgot to change the toilet paper, who baked cookies every Saturday morning, the woman who sometimes wore the same underwear three days in a row. The woman he loved.

No, I thought as I studied his eyes. Even with a useless arm hanging at my side, elbow crushed; my nose smashed, blood coursing down from the open gash in my forehead, a bullet wound in my shoulder, Sixteen’s gun in my hand, the dining room table shattered, and his grandmother’s China scattered across the floor. He’d never believe Grace Johnson was a lie. Not until I showed him, possibly not even then. Not for many more years to come. Probably, I caught my mental shrug, if he lives.

“Grace,” Jackson said. “Please…” The phone clattered the floor, his blue eyes wide, color draining from his lips. “This isn’t you.”

Gaze locking his, I levered Sixteen’s pistol at her knee.

“Don’t,” she whispered. “Morrison will take you in, he’ll fix this.” Her voice cracked, almost a sob. For us, a destroyed limb was a death sentence. Once, we swore we’d die together. Now, she can mean it. “Thirteen, if you run then there’s no going back.”

My upper lip curled. “You don’t know me.” I had no idea which one I was talking to. “You never did.”

My finger squeezed the trigger.

Sixteen grunted, blood slipping down her lip. In the doorway, Jackson screamed.

Do it and mean it. Let it be part of their character development, regardless of if which way you intend to go. In the above example, there’s a dichotomy present between the character of Thirteen and her cover Grace Johnson. There’s some question, even for the character, about which of them they are. It sets up a beginning of growth for the character as she runs, but it also fails to answer what will be the central question in the story: who am I? Which way will I jump?

If Thirteen doesn’t kill Sixteen, if the scene answers the question at the beginning then why would you need to read the story?

Below the cut, we’ll talk about some ways to show their struggles.

-Michi

Keep reading

Knife Fighting Do’s and Dont’s

Scott:What they gotcha teachin’ here, young sergeant?

Jackie Black:Edged weapons, sir. Knife fighting.

Scott: Don’t you teach ‘em knife fighting. Teach 'em to kill. That way, they meet some sonofabitch who studied knife fighting, they send his soul to hell.

-Spartan, 2004

There really is no right answer to knife fighting, except, perhaps, the above quote. When you’re setting out to write a scene, it’s best to assess your priorities first and what your story needs. In the real world, knife combat comes in many different forms and works as a supplemental weapon in most military disciplines. It’s a common weapon in self-defense situations, and can be used both by the aggressor and the defender.

What is a knife?

Primarily, it’s a tool and, like all tools, there are situations where it thrives and those where it dies. It succeeds as an ambush weapon, as a builder on hand to hand, and when fighting in very tight quarters. Combat with knives is very quick and very deadly. As an ambush weapon, it is often used to close the distance or rush a target. Allow the knife wielder to get close to an opponent wielding a sword or a gun before either can be drawn and they will have the clear advantage. However, take the knife out of tight environments and it’s effectiveness will decrease dramatically. This is why it’s unlikely to be the only weapon in a character’s arsenal, especially not when you’re writing a professional combatant.

What kind of fight are you writing?

The knife is a deadly weapon in the hands of anyone, it doesn’t require any specialized training to be able to wield it. It’s more user friendly to killing than even a gun and can require less maintenance. Basic understanding works fine. You pick it up, you stab, and then you stab some more. The stabs may all go to one place, often the gut, but five or six into one place will leave the other character bleeding out on the sidewalk.

It’s up to you on whether or not you want to (or if it’s even appropriate to your story) write a scene which is more sophisticated. Remember, it doesn’t have to be. The basic principle of the knife is incredibly simple: You’re gonna shank a dude.

So, don’t freak out.

When it comes to a knife, anywhere on the body is a convenient target. Anywhere. This is one of the few weapons where you really don’t need to know much about it to write a scene. The knife is fairly intuitive. Unless your character needs to get fancy with their martial combat, then you do need to study. Even then, you still need to pick your martial art and do your research. Plenty of martial styles have a knife component, so it’s more a matter of searching through the different styles to find the one which fits your character and story.

Below the cut, I’ll discuss some basic theory and suggestions that hopefully will be enough to get you a jumping off point into the fine art of shanking. This is no means a comprehensive list, just basic beginner tips.

Keep reading

Whew! Finally finished this little animation I’ve been working on of Sans vs Chara! :) I pretty much have no experience in animating things…. So this was really hard…. And it’s really sketchy, but I hope you enjoy it anyway!

anonymous asked:

I've often heard that knife fights are mutual suicide, simply because it's so hard to avoid getting hurt while disabling an opponent. Is that true? If so, could you give any tips on writing a realistic knife fight between two relatively equally skilled characters?

We did a post called “Knife Fighting Do’s and Don’t’s” which you might find helpful, it’s also full of links to other resources which may be helpful.

Knife fights are dangerous, in large part because every blow is potentially fatal due to cumulative bleed out/nicking something important or even seemingly unimportant, there is no time for error much less room as combat happens remarkably quickly with the high lethality causing a sudden end, and the fight itself often happens in a blitz.

Even in the hands of someone who has no idea what they’re doing, the knife is incredibly dangerous. Just bull rushing into someone and stabbing them repeatedly in the sides or gut often as many as ten to twenty times will kill them. This is often the case in muggings, for example, and why the knife is a very popular choice. You don’t need skill in order to kill someone with a bladed weapon. You don’t even really need it to be effective beyond understanding the concepts like slashing and thrusting, swinging wildly in the heat of the moment is remarkably effective in this case.

This is the first and perhaps most important tips to writing a character who is experienced and skilled, they understand the dangers inherent in the weapon they are wielding, they recognize it, respect it, and respond accordingly. One of the problems some writers get into when trying to convey skill is to go with the approach of, “it’s not a problem for me, but it will be for you”. This is valid, the problem is that they assume the danger is nullified rather than their character’s comprehension of that danger being the deciding factor. If I know the risks involved, I can take more or navigate more easily than someone with no experience at all. However, the danger itself never goes away. No matter how skilled you are every fight can end with you lying bloody on the ground.

That’s just the way it is.

If you write a character who fights, they and you should always carry the worry of them dying in the back of their minds. And if they don’t, then you should figure out why instead of assuming it’s natural because they have “skills”.

All right, let’s dig in: Knives

Remember, two hands.

When people who have never done martial arts (and even sometimes people who have) there’s often an over focus on the weapon or on the striking, the hitting. In knife fighting and just in general, the off hand or the second hand/hand without the blade is extremely important for both defense and control. All blocking, deflecting, and the openings created will be made with the off-hand. You stop the arm with one hand, cut it with the knife. This protects you and allows you to keep fighting. The off-hand may become a sacrificial body part as necessary to lock up the enemy blade, getting the knife lodged somewhere non-vital if perhaps unpleasant is sometimes necessary to opening the path to victory.

Defense is important.

The blades will not be clashing like a swordfight (which they shouldn’t be clashing in a swordfight anyway, but that’s a different kettle). All blocks, defenses, and redirects will happen with that other hand.

Keep It Tight

Tempting as it is to use words like “swinging” or others in a similar vein, try to keep your vocabulary to descriptors that imply tight, controlled motion. You don’t want a feel that’s wild and out of control but rather intentional, directed, and focused.

“He lunged forward, swinging wildly.”

Versus:

“He stepped back, off-hand catching the wrist and redirecting the incoming dagger. Slashing his blade across the back of the enemy’s hand, he dropped down. With a forward lunge, he cut up along the underside of the arm, tucked tight, and drove his weapon into their gut.”

Debilitate, Disable, Finish:

If you have the option to lunge for the kill then great, but the best way to keep your enemy from stabbing you on the way out is to get rid of their weapon first. Attacking the hand that holds the weapon on your way in ensures that you can get rid of it. The best way to avoid a double suicide is to not be so focused on killing your opponent that you forget about their weapon. The guy you just stabbed six times in the gut can still stab you before he collapses.

Prioritize your threats.

If you have the opportunity to remove the participant before the weapon then fine, but 9/10 you’re going to want to focus on ridding them of their ability to kill you on the way out before moving in.

Move, Move, Move

It can be difficult to think in multiple directions, especially if you have no experience with two bodies interacting. They aren’t going to stand there hacking at each other, they’re going to try to create openings. As any hit from the knife can be deadly due to cumulative bleed out, avoidance is the primary name of the game.

Understand Anatomy

While knife fighting is fast and vicious, it’s also very much about anatomy. You get get downright surgical with a knife if you want and when writing your fiction it’s best to brush up on all the tendons, ligaments, veins, and so forth that are close to the surface and up for grabs or slashes in this case.

Medical knowledge will help you with combat in general, but with knife fighting you really want to know what can get cut to make X stop working before moving in for the kill. It sounds simple in practice, difficult in execution.

Study Actual Knife Combat/Combatants

This may seem like a no brainer, but if you really want to understand what it looks like when someone experienced handles a blade then you want to spend some time looking at guys like Michael Janich, the bladed weapons practice in Silat, Krav Maga, Marines, etc. It’s best to get that experience in person, but YouTube will also be your friend here. There are a lot different martial styles which include knives as part of their disciplines.

Take everything with a grain of salt and remember that videos online won’t make you an expert. If you’re a US citizen, you can also track down most of the Department of Defense manuals for the military available for free online. Some of the information such as that from Rex Applegate is outdated but finding his books and reading through them may help you imagine.

Half of writing anything is studying, learning what it is, what it does, learning so you can imagine the techniques in different ways. Theory for a writer is just important, if not more so than technique. You may not be able to perform it in life, but if you can grasp the theory then you can start applying that to your characters and their approaches to different situations.

Remember Violence is Problem Solving, Think of Your Character’s Personality.

Learning that all combat is not universal, that different approaches exist will help you branch out when writing your characters and allow you to develop combat styles unique to them. A good example of a narrative which does this is Season 2 of Netflix’s Daredevil, wherein Matt, Elektra, Frank Castle, and Wilson Fisk all have different approaches to using violence as a means of solving problems, where the way they fight is also an expression of who they are as people. The kinds of violence your character engages and the way they choose to utilize violence as a means of problem solving is an expression of their personality, not just their skill level.

Two characters of similar skill level can have very different fighting styles, even if they’ve studied in the same style. Take into account who these characters are and let that dictate how they choose to use violence. Not all characters are going to be efficient killing machines. Some are going to be joyous free spirits bouncing their way from one enemy to another, leaping and bounding with a blood streaked grin across their face.

You may think you know nothing, but take what you learn and then apply that knowledge to your character. Let them decide what to do with it. They might use it, they might ignore it.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

What is most important here is figuring out how to sell the scene to your audience in a variety of different forms.

-Michi

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betternovelproject.com
How to Write a Fight Scene in 11 Steps
How to write a fight scene like the ones in Harry Potter and The Hunger Games

If I haven’t recommended this site lately, it bears repeating, particularly for those who are interested in writing YA stories. It takes three popular YA franchises (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight) and deconstructs the novels, as well as compares and contrasts how they approach similar themes. Even if you’re not a fan of one (or more) of the series, it’s a clever way to see the similarities between bestselling YA novels (e.g., how many characters are introduced in each opening chapter, characteristics of the novel’s hero, how long it takes to go from intro to conflict, climax, etc.), and perhaps help guide your own writing process.