The fighting scenes of dewm

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    I know I'm not the only person who struggles with fight scenes. Well, specifically scenes that are designed to add tension with lots of physical actions. I have to say that have I seen several different types of "fight" scenes in books and I can see the benefit of all of them. I just struggle.

    One type just builds the tension through emotion build up then the fight scene is basically: "They fought, both inflecting wounds that would haunt them in the morning--if they survived."

    Another is more detailed: "Peeking over the sofa, Brunhilda knew she was in trouble. She felt her hair fly past her as the bullet grazed her cheek. Her fist gripped her gun, and she found herself wishing she had checked how many bullets she had left." Or "Her leg raised and with all the force of a drug addict amped up on PCP, she let her foot impact with the cop, pushing him through the doorway he had just breeched."

    Another takes it to the next level. "Paul lifted his right hand, curling his index and ring finger down, calling forth the rune of force. He felt the energy drive up his right leg. As he pointed at the box with his left pointer finger, he felt the power discharge through his body, exiting both his left finger and leg."

    Granted my versions of these are kind of poorly written, but there is something to be said for the amount of detail in each scene. The first is a brush through and acknowledgement that something has happened. The second shows what happened and the final one gets really detailed. I could have mentioned that the fingers were curled at 45 degree angles, and all kinds of other things.

    I've seen each type of these fighting scenes in different books by different authors, and I have rarely found myself going "That's too much detail..." or "Man that's not enough detail for me."

    As such, I'm wondering what everyone's thoughts are on fight scenes. What is important to you when you read an action scene?

  • Uuuuungh, I can't do iiiiit...

    ^ My thoughts on fight scenes. And action scenes in general. The worst thing both me and my co-GM have written in our lives was a fight scene in the first RP between my character and his. It was so bad and we were both so annoyed at how bad it was that I flashbacked the scene in the current RP just so I could try and write it better.

    Admittedly, in everyone else's opinion, my fight scenes aren't bad (except the aforementioned one) and I'll give them that. They're just not what I see in my head when I'm writing them. When my characters fight in my head; it's fantastic, but I can't write it out like I want to.

    I discovered that my scenes flow better if I'm vague about individual actions until one of them becomes important, but RPing I've met my share of writers who can write fight scenes where you can clearly picture ever little action the characters made and they read like epic poetry instead of a freaking anatomy book (which is what I think I sound like when I try to do it). And at some point I had to accept the fact that no matter how much I improve I just might never be one of those people. :/

    As a reader, I think that if the writing is good, there can be just as little or as much detail as the author think is important and it'll feel the same to me. If I read something good for pages, it wouldn't feel like it dragged on. Like the people I mentioned and their epic fight scenes.

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    @Blackbird That is so interesting me. I actually feel I have learned how to do better fight scenes because of tabletopping. When I started being the GM, people would bring their dice rolls to me, and let's say they would get 4 successes on a hit, and ended up with 1 success for damage (something that has happened). It was up to me just how that got references. In the system we were playing, 1 dice of damage wasn't very much, so they ended up doing VERY well hitting, but poorly on damage. The result? They were so go with their blade that they basically stripped the person of their clothing, and nicking them enough to cause blood to pour from one wound. But they were just too good at hitting, horrible at picking the right places to do the most damage. :)

  • @Josey That sounds like a pretty funny outcome, really. lol

    I think my issue with this is that I feel pressured to show my characters are badasses. Because to be honest... There isn't that much actual combat in our stories so far (maybe because we're a little scared to write it. lol), so when there is I feel like I really need to make it count. -.-

    There are going to be two major battles in Shadows Rise that I'm going to have to write solo and I'm trying not to freak out about it too much. :P

  • I've found that how easily a fight scene reads depends on a number of factors, such as the author, the genre, how important the scene is/how long it's supposed to seem, etc. For example, in the third example (which I sort of wish had a context with it now), taking the time to be that detailed can make a normally rapid movement seem to slow down, which can add to intensity. (E.g., you could've just said, "Paul lifted his hand, calling on the rune of force. Power discharged from his hand and leg, striking Gina in the chest. She flew into the wall.")

    In terms of reading it, I have to agree with @Blackbird. If it's good, it won't feel like it's dragged on, it will be easy to read, and the images will be clear in your head.

    In terms of writing... yeah, I avoid physical combat at all costs >.> I was talking to some people once about my woes when it comes to combat, and explaining a scene that I had (then; this was a couple years back now) just written. It was supposed to be an intense fight between MMC and a monster (an ugly monster bleh), but it came out to something like one jumbled paragraph. Generally speaking, if I have an intense scene, it's going to involve running or verbal argument, not physical combat.

    I am trying to come out of my comfort zone and practice some more with physical combat, but the last time I clearly remember making an attempt, I gave up 1/4 of the way through. Then again, this was an intense scene emotionally as well as physically, but anyway. It kept dragging and dragging, which isn't something a fight is supposed to do.

    Some good advice I've gotten is to watch Youtube videos of people fighting and study up on fighting styles, which would, theoretically, help when it comes to actually writing a fight scene.

  • @typical_demigod said in The fighting scenes of dewm:

    Some good advice I've gotten is to watch Youtube videos of people fighting and study up on fighting styles, which would, theoretically, help when it comes to actually writing a fight scene.

    I've done so much of this, omg. o.o

    It didn't help all that much, to be honest, but that's probably because seeing the action in my head isn't a problem for me in this case.

    I can write archery battles really well, though. Probably because I practiced it. Which begs the question of where I can find double-bladed scythe around my neighborhood. :/

  • @Blackbird said in The fighting scenes of dewm:

    Which begs the question of where I can find double-bladed scythe around my neighborhood.

    I have no doubt that you're only one Google search away from finding a school near you. nods as though double-bladed scythes are common appearances

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    @Blackbird said in The fighting scenes of dewm:

    I think my issue with this is that I feel pressured to show my characters are badasses.

    To me, the very best example of someone showing a character is a badass is this scene from John Wick proving sometimes less is more:

    That movie is so well written by leaving out sooo much, it just shows totally how badass you can build your characters without worrying about the fight scenes. Though to be fair that entire movie is fight scene gorgeousness.

    @typical_demigod said in The fighting scenes of dewm:

    I am trying to come out of my comfort zone and practice some more with physical combat.....

    This... so much this!! It's why I bring it up. I mean there has to be a way to turn it into something that I don't stop writing a story over, right?

  • @Josey

    @typical_demigod Unfortunately no. I've checked. :/

  • @Josey I just watched John Wick for the first time the other day, and during the entire build up (and especially at that scene) everyone in my family was just like "I dunno who this dude is, but his name is freaking out the boss of the mafia, so I'm just going to be very concerned."

    I mean there has to be a way to turn it into something that I don't stop writing a story over, right?

    Lol, right?

    @Blackbird I'm going to start showing that clip to everyone who decides to use a sword in a modern setting for no particular reason :/

    And that's too bad. I feel like you need to move. Obviously where you live now is just lacking in completely reasonable, expectable, normal forms of amusement.

  • @typical_demigod I know right! My town needs to step up its game.

    I'll admit I never write modern settings because I don't find gunfights entertaining in the slightest. And not having people fight to the death is not an option.

  • @Blackbird Definitely! I think it's time to start a petition.

    That's why you gotta do dystopia. Then you can have people fight to death or not use gunfights and it makes perfect sense.


    That's not a modern setting either.

    I guess we have the same problem, then.

    I mean, you could still use an AU and just eliminate guns (or the widespread availability, or something) and add fighting to death as a socially acceptable entertainment option and there ya go.

  • @typical_demigod Huh.

    All good things to consider. If I'm ever done doing this.

    Because right now... No. No more. lol

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    Haha, you're both a trip!

    I think having gun battles can be a good thing. Especially if those guns look like guns but fire magic instead. Or even something else. Bring on the supernaturals... they take all rules and toss them out the window!!

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

  • I follow How To Fight Write on Tumblr, they are pretty good although they do some things that, well, get on my pet peeves. :P

    They have some good solid references for all sorts of weapons and combat styles, so it's useful.

    I did ragequit Tumblr around the time Trump got elected though. =.=

  • @Josey Ooh, nice. Might have to peruse that.

    @Blackbird Fight Write seems to have a lot of good resources, though I've never gone through them very in-depth :P

    Ya know, the whole election made me happy that I don't do anything social media-wise. Hearing about what was happening online was more than enough action for me.

    I don't know why, but talking about these made me realize that Springhole probably had a post on this, and lo and behold, they did. Action/fight scenes. I remember reading it at some point in my life, though I haven't recently, but I don't think I've read and unhelpful article yet :)

  • In my opinion, sometimes the best fight scene moments are short and sweet.

    and others, sometimes a good old fashioned fist fight. even if it does last a bit, its good to just watch some hand to hand combat.

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    I occasionally watch videos on fighting techniques to help inspire my desire to improve fighting scenes... this is one guy I watch every video from but this made me giggle a bit.

  • @Josey What's up with the background? That wall behind him is completely unrelated to sword fighting :/

    Does make me think, though, I've heard that swords actually weren't any good for stabbing. Apparently the tips aren't very sharp and if you stab someone, odds are that it will either get stuck in the person or the blade will break. That may not be accurate; I can't remember if I heard if from an actual person who know how to use swords or if I just heard it somewhere random.

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