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Grasp Your Power - A Guide To Writing Good Fight Scenes
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Grasp Your Power  -  A Guide to Writing Good Fight Scenes

Exhibit A:

The king beckoned the prince forward. The boy lunged, and they began to dance around the court, their swords blurring with each stroke. In short order, the boy was brought to his knees before the king, staring down the end of his blade.

Exhibit B:

The king beckoned the prince forward. The boy lunged, skewering his sword through the air. The king slid easily to the side. The boy turned and, like a wolf clamping its fangs, committed two slashes from below and above. The king redirected the first, wove away from the second. The prince fumed. He began slicing furiously from all sides, moving two steps forward for each step the king took backward. It was when he realized this that he became aware of what the king was doing: he was moving from side to side, dodging not by distance, but by direction. The movements were so smooth and subtle that the boy had not noticed, but when he looked around, he saw that they had danced around the entire court.

At that moment, the king darted forward with lightning speed and attempted the same two slashes from below and above that the boy had performed earlier. The prince hastily put up his guard. The flat side of the king's sword hit the hilt with reckoning; the boy's arms were thrown to the heavens and his weapon freed into the air. As the second slash descended, the prince dropped to his knees in terror. The blade stopped just over his nose, close enough that he could taste the scent of the steel.

- - -

Exhibit B was almost like reading a sex scene, wasn't it?

But this isn't 50 Shades of Grey. This excerpt is a fight scene--what I call the hardcore fight scene, to be specific. It's one of four different types available, and it's one of the easiest to write. It gets too little attention in creative writing class.

Of course we know the difference between showing and telling. Exhibit A is telling; Exhibit B is showing. A good writer knows that showing is generally superior, because shown passages appeal to the right brain's sense of aesthetic far more than the vague descriptions offered in a told passage.

However, just showing isn't enough. There must be some degree of vagueness--some amount of poetry, if you will--that spruces up the violence and makes it artful. This is no easy task. Violence is about as engaging as sex, but whereas the latter can afford to skip on the vocabulary and get away with grammatical murder, the former has to be expressed with very particular words, words both rich and engaging, all within a consistent, poignant style. Any writer who can make violence a beautiful thing to read should be proud of themselves.


Street Talk

Great Comparison of telling and showing there, my man! Love the way you showed us the difference. Keep it up, I see great things from you! A couple of pointers... You can post your website link here in your SA profile. It provides a great backlink to your site. And second, if you want to succeed in the Internet Marketing biz, It's about developing relationships with people from all walks of life. Try clicking on the front page of SA and read articles that are brand spankin' new. Don't just read 'em! You spent the time to read it, now leave a little comment at the end to say if you liked it or not. See some errors or badly written? I leave my critique good or bad. I try not to be mean, and l lead with what I think could improve and the good stuff I pour it on at the end of the comment. Mac

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks for the pointers, I'll keep them in mind! I tend to only read stuff I'm interested in when I'm rushing to do stuff, and lately I've been rushing a lot.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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