“Do you have
any advice on writing fight scenes? The type of scene I’m writing is mostly
hand to hand combat between two experts. I’m definitely not an expert so when I
try to write it, the scene ends up sounding repetitive and dull.”
Fore note: This post is coauthored by myself and one of my amazing critique partners, Barik S. Smith, who both writes fantastic fight scenes and teaches mixed martial arts, various artistic martial arts, and weapons classes.
I (Bryn) will tell you a secret: I trained MMA for
seven years, and when I write authentic hand to hand fight scenes, they sound
The problem with fight scenes in books is that
trying to describe each punch and kick and movement (especially if it’s the
only thing you’re describing) creates a fight that feels like it’s in slow
center of gravity, she held her right hand tight to her face and threw a jab
towards his chin. He shifted his weight, ducking under her punch. His hair
brushed against her fist, and he stepped forward, launching a shovel hook into
her exposed side.
But your brain can only read so fast. In real
life that series of events would take an instant, but I needed a full eight
seconds to read and comprehend it, which gave it an inherent lethargic feel.
So, we have two primary problems:
How do we describe this fight in a way the reader can understand
and keep track of?
How do we maintain a fast paced, interesting fight once we’ve
broken down the fight far enough for readers to understand it?
(We will get back to these, I promise.) But
for now, let’s look at…
listen: fight club and pulp fiction are good movies, i love them both personally, but if a guy (and you KNOW the type of guy i mean) says they are his Favorite Movies then u need to run. RUN. plan ur exist exit strategy now. if ur texting him then just make something up. “haha i gotta go now. it was nice talking to you. bye!” if you’re somewhere with him just leave. do parkour if you have to. run like the wind. get away from that man
This is one of those films where you have to watch every single second because if you turn away, then you’ll completely miss the plot. It follows multiple people, such as Vincent and Jules, two hitmen who work for a man named Marsellus Wallace and his wife Mia Wallace. This is one of my favorite films, directed by the one and only Quentin Tarantino. Should totally watch if you haven’t already.
2. Fight Club1999
This is yet another movie that you shouldn’t turn away from. It follows a man who is deeply depressed and suffers from severe insomnia. He meets another man named Tyler who introduces him to Fight Club and ultimately turns his life upside down. Plus it has Brad Pitt in it and he’s just an amazing actor.
3. Natural Born Killers1994
Follows the story of two mass murderers Mickey and Mallory. It shows how they met, and the rampage that they go on. Another one of my favorite movies. It might seem a little weird t first, but aren’t the weird/odd movies always the best?
4. Dazed and Confused1993
This is one of those films where it doesn’t exactly have a plot point. It’s a film about the last day of High School set in the 70s. It follows a group of friends that are graduating and a group of friends who are now Freshman. Very chill film that’s totally worth watching at least once.
5. True Romance1993
One of my life goals are to dress up as Alabama for Halloween while my boyfriend dresses as Clarence. This is an amazing movie and it’s just so great. The first time I watched this I grew tired after the first 15 minutes but once I stuck it out it became one of my favorites. Follows Clarence and call-girl Alabama as they get married. When Clarence goes to Alabamas pimp to get her clothing, things take a turn for the worse. Together they run away to California to go through with a once in a lifetime deal so they can run off to Mexico together.
6. The Doors1991
Based on the famous Jim Morrison and his band The Doors. It shows what happened behind closed doors and follows the band as they began getting known all the way to Jim’s Death in ‘71. It shows their struggle with drugs, groupies, and the bands struggle with their lead singer.
(not a scene from the film, couldn’t find any gifs but found plenty of the real Jim Morrison)