Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fight Club --and super conference.

Fight scenes (fighting for love, life, honor)--when written well they can make a great climax or make you want to hit something (working you up because you are so into the scene.)

I'm comfortable writing love scenes, kissing scenes, confrontational dialogue, regular dialogue, the twisted sick villian, chase scenes, etc.  (I didn't say I wrote them well, I just like to write them.)

The fight scene is what makes me squirm. I like to read a great fight scene-- I don't feel like I know how to write one. I have a lot of fight scenes in my current WiP and in my first draft they are weak-- real weak--embarrassing weak.

I'm trying to figure out the best way to write them. How to write action. I know words like crunch, slice, punch, pressed, cut, stabbed, threw, etc. all help but me putting it all together is falling flat.
I know reading some great fight scenes help along with watching some great fight scenes. I'm not sure if it's enough. I'm looking for your help folks--any advice? (Don't say music because I do use it and it helps just a little)

How do you go about writing a fight scene?

Any recommendations on what I should do to prepare for one and what could help my fights scenes stronger?

****Conference information...Get over to  Free writers conference geared towards childrens and YA. So-- can't wait. Go give a big thanks to Elana Johnson, Casey McCormick, Lisa and Laura Roecker, Shannon Messenger, Jamie Harrington. and Jennifer Stayrook.

When is it you ask? August 10th-12th so mark your calenders.

Please click here to see the amazing participants.

I was having issues with the totally hilarious vlog for this so please go to the sites above to see it. We really do snack that much. I'm guilty. :)

***Don't forget Friday June 18th Writing the Next Line****

Have a great day!


  1. My biggest problem with fight scenes is that the physical action happens so much faster than you could write (or read) it. And yes, writing is even slower than reading. Therefore I usually feel that, no matter what I write, it will be too slow and not lively enough to catch the readers' attention. (Which is especially difficult, since I have a war going on in my WIP.)

  2. You could try watching and analysing/writing up movie fight scenes of the type you'd like to depict.

    You have the writing chops to describe whatever you want, but the dynamics of fighting are hard to imagine from scratch, so using a concrete base for inspiration can help. Additional advantage: movie fighting is already tailored for visual impact. Deconstructing what works visually may help you determine what will work on the page. You could also do the same with written fight scenes...
    ...Perhaps comic books may be an easier source of inspiration: by their very nature, they are designed so that only the key frames appear.

  3. I haven't written a fight scene before so I have no advice. All I know is you can either be right on or totally off with a fight scene. (Sorry, that probably makes you more stressed to do it.)

  4. The last time I had to write a fight scene, I found one from the movies(tv, reruns, dvd, whatev) and watched it a few times just to get the beat. then I wrote down what they did.

    Billy pushed Tom against the wall and held his throat with his forearm.

    Tom brought his knee up into Billy's ballocks.

    Billy bent over in pain.

    You get the gist. You write the action, piece by piece and then fill it in with all that descriptive stuff later.

    Billy pushed Tom against the wall and held him there by his forearm, Tom's eyes going wide, his cheeks reddening fighting for breath. Billy smiled.

    Tom brought his knee up into Billy's ballocks. He managed to push Billy off at the same time and choked his way down to the men's room.

    Billy bent over in pain, grabbing his crotch. The pain was blinding and he'd wished to God he'd been born a girl.

    Hope that helps a little.

  5. Sorry I can't offer any advice about writing a fighting scene – or any scene for that matter. If I had a something already written in front of me I could help you make it better …

    It continues to amaze me how much I learn on writers' blogs. Sometimes, things that readers take for granted involve a lot of thought, trying, trying something different, revising, and possibly starting over.

    You've got some good suggestions so far though! Isn't blogging wonderful? :)

  6. My wip has two fight scenes. I can't give you any advice because I'm not sure how I did it. They're short fights between two hot headed teenage boys (one of them is the same guy for both fights). I guess I just visualized them as I write. There's not enough time for the mc (who isn't in the fight except when she tries to stop one of them) to think about what's going on. It's all action.

  7. I have to see my fight scene in slow motion in my head, and then I can work out what happens when!

  8. I think generally women have problems with this. Why? We don't like confrontation? We're more about relationships than action? Sorry these are more questions than answers :)

  9. Oh, I have no advice there. My scenes like that (fight/action/etc) fall flat as a door mat. I need to find a book on it!


  10. Um, can I just say that Brad Pitt never looked hotter than he did in that movie.
    Watching it again and again for 'research' purposes won't be a hardship, right? ;)


  11. i have my husband describe it for me. that's how i wrote almost all my fight scenes in Eldala. every one of them was taken from a movie. is that cheating?

  12. I think it's been said in your comments, but what I did was read some really great fight scenes that I admired, I found some great ones in Cassandra Clare's books, and read them about a hundred times trying to figure out how I got so swept away that I didn't even realize the words I was reading.

    I think it's a hard thing to get right, I'm not sure how well I do either :)

  13. i'm so bad at fight scenes -- mostly because i don't know how to fight! i kind of have to make it up as i go and google lots of random things to make sure i'm not lying about physical possibilities. lol.

  14. As you know I am working on quite a few things right now, I am stuck on fighting scenes as well, I enjoy them but I'm not meant to write them, okay that's a lie... I'll be learning with you, lets just say that!

    Great writers conference! I'm looking forward to participating!! I'm excited! What fun it shall be!

    Yay for writing the next line!

  15. i guess i just go step by step - outlining exactly who is where and what happens. Then i can zazz it up later, once the bare bones are done

  16. So Weird! I talked about Fight Club Monday, but for different reasons. Fight scenes are difficult, and not only because we may be uncomfortable with the confrontation or that we've never been in a physical fight, but because the writing can get directional and telling SO fast. In first, which I know you write, it can be really difficult to show and not tell because you only have one set of eyes to work out a two or three person fight.
    I get fight advice from my husband, when they have to do combat training, and also he watches UFC but those are only the details on it. Writing much different. I would have to agree that the fight scenes in The Mortal Instruments, although in 3rd, would be a great resource. As well as Fight Club...for the eye candy :D

  17. I start from the premise that what each of the characters does during the fight needs to reflect or develop something about their character... my fight scenes tend to be quick bursts of violence rather than big choreographed things though (I'd rather use the space I've got to deal with the consequences afterwards). Probably something to do with my poor spatial awareness in the first place!

  18. Movie fight scenes occur faster than written, but I'd still say watch a few to get a feel for the action and how it flows.
    I have two fight scenes in my book, but I kept them very short.

  19. I wrote a lot of fight scenes for my book, The Forgotten Warrior. What helped me was having my son, who has a black belt in karate, act out the scenes with me. Not only was it informative, but a lot of fun. So have someone act them out with you!

  20. My second ms was a book I felt compelled to write for like ten years but never dared to write because I knew it would involve battle scenes. But I wrote it anyway, sent if off to a publisher, and one of their problems with it was the weak battle scenes (no surprise!) I asked my dad about good battle scenes, and he suggested reading Bernard Cornwell. So I did, and I really ramped up my battle scenes for the next go-round, and this time a completely different editor complimented my battle scenes (even though they still passed on the ms). So, I know you're not writing battle scenes, but I do think finding an author who writes them well and studying how they do it is a great way to learn.

  21. I'm with you Christine; love to read them, not sure I write them well. But I'll be finding out.

    I could stare at that Fight Club pix all day. Man, what a beautiful sight!

    Good luck with your scenes.


  22. ...definitely agree with studying up on published fight scenes before tackling this project. Watching fights on the tube are a hoot, but in reality, real backstreet brawls rarely last more than a minute or two. A well-timed right hook, the satisfying crunch of bone along the bridge of a nose, a gush of blood and the party's over.

  23. Love some of the suggestions here. Alas, I am not very good at fight scenes. I am pretty good at watching them though!

  24. Thanks for the WriteOnCon shout out Christine!

    As for fight scenes...ours are usually girl fights, does that count?

  25. Thanks for posting this question, Christine! I love the suggestions to watch a movie and transcribe the action to get a feel for the flow of a fight and how to describe the action.
    When I eventually get back to editing and to the fight scene sections, I am going to take this advice!

  26. Hahahaha, maybe we should go on an aggressiveness course or we should learn how to box.
    I think I wouldn't be able to write a fighting scene, it would all be slaps and nails, maybe OK for a girls boarding school fight!!