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Fight Scenes? posted 28 Dec 2004, 07:12 by Gabriel, Commoner

The main problem that I have been running into is battle scenes, both large and small battles. I have my main charicter facing off against six no-name opponents. While trying to descrbe the events that take place during the scrimish, i find that by trying to explain the events I ramble to much trying to explain who is doing what. Hope I explained that well enough!?!? Any Ideas? -Gabriel view post

posted 07 Feb 2005, 22:02 by Antenox, Commoner

First off, the following is just pure theory and personal opinion until someone actually tries it himself. Generally, keep descriptions short and terse. The pacing of the writing should reflect the pacing of the fight itself. Before, I used to describe, in detail, every thrust, every parry, every shift in footwork. But then someone told me, "Is that really what's going through your mind when you fight?" Easy answer: no. It depends on the perspective you're using, but [i:1uixx7t8]now[/i:1uixx7t8] what I do is I put myself in my character's mind, and what my character sees during a fight is utter chaos (unless my character is a master combatant), so my writing reflects that with lots of sentence fragments (at least, more so than in my normal style). I also keep it a little bit unclear as to what exactly is going on, so that it seems like my character is just reacting to events precisely as they happen, instead of overanalyzing them with paragraphs upon paragraphs of description. Now, for large battles, my style becomes [i:1uixx7t8]very[/i:1uixx7t8] different, and I transition into a writing style that I call "fake Tolkien," because I so completely loved how Tolkien wrote the Battle of Pelennor Fields. I also haven't read very many books (not any in recent memory, actually) that have kept me as captivated in the outcome of a large battle as Tolkien. But Tolkien's prose is so different from anything we know now, and it may not be entirely appropriate for any modern story. Regarding this, different people will have different styles that are also dependent on mood. It doesn't do to describe a battle in a glorious fashion when the mood is supposed to be despairing, for instance, and vice versa. That's just stating the obvious, though. Hope this helps! Keep in mind, I'm just an amateur. If RSB comes here himself and contradicts me, just ignore me completely. In fact, forget I exist. :lol: view post

posted 14 Feb 2005, 22:02 by RevCasy, Candidate

Well, you can try to walk a reader through your fight like a dance instructor trying to explain the waltz step by step. Probably this won't be very interesting though. Alternatively you can tell your reader just enough so that their imagination fills in the rest. Believe it or not, as intellectually lazy as people are, they mostly like to use their imagination. When you, as a writer, fill in every detail of what happens in a fight, you are hogging all the fun. That is bad. Usually, what happens when a writer writes too much detail is that the reader starts to skim over it. This is because detail is boring. It is too dense; it has to be rationed carefully. Readers only want so much information, and if a writer persist in giving them too much, they simply don't read it. So mention a few of the juiciest, most interesting details, and leave the fun part (imagining the fight) to the reader.. view post

posted 15 Jul 2005, 06:07 by Cynical Cat, Auditor

Reread some fight scenes that you think are really well done and look at how the author presents them. Analyze the passages and see how he or she did it. For a fight scene, the action must flow and you can't get bogged down with too much description or purple prose. view post

posted 03 Jul 2006, 20:07 by TheRooster, Commoner

Try reading some stuff by R.A. Salvatore...he's a bit light compared to Bakker and some others but his fight choreography is among the best. There seems to be two separate schools of thought on this from what I read, I tend to think of them as "symbolic" and "technical." Technical is what you're doing, describing each thrust, etc. the key--as said before--is rationing your details. Symbolic is more along the lines of Robert Jordan (and sometimes Bakker) in that it uses metaphors and imagery to describe a fight, and lets your knowledge of fighting fill in the technical stuff. This is the style that also focuses more on the character being a bit confused and rushed by the insanity of battle. I'll try to demonstrate each...though it's off the cuff so bear with me. Describing a thrust/parry/counter mini-scene. technical: Robard stepped left, away from his fiery eyed opponent's sword arm. The crazed man swung, bringing his sword down in a tight arc at Robard's shoulder. Robard swung up, catching the sword at the pommel with his own blade and turned it across his body and spinning left to the man's side. The crazed eyes opened in terror as Robard finished the spin, sinking his sword inbetween the man's ribs. Symbolic: Floating left, Robard saw the twitch in the man's shoulder. His sword came like the sun, a semi-circle of steel. Robard moved in the forms of defense. Steel rang on steel and the sun continued its journey downwards and across at impossible angles. Robard turned left. The changing of day to night. The Shifting of avoidance to aggression. His sword now becoming the sun, casting its light to reveal the man's folly it seemed. It shone with piercing rays that revealed blood, bone and death to his opponent. Now as far as making the opponents more than 6 nameless "guys". Try to give a few of them--the ones who will do more than die quickly--some distinguishing trait. Fiery hair, crazed eyes, a beard, or a long scar. This makes them a bit more palpable without making them seem more than they are: fodder to increase your character's legend. :D view post

posted 05 Sep 2006, 09:09 by Cynical Cat, Auditor

Not to be mean, but in my opinion Salvatore is a horrible writer of fight scenes. He writes fights like a D&D combat. You don't get a sense of real injuries. No punctured lungs, slashed tendons, or disembowelments or the like. It's just antiseptic hit point loss ending in death with hits but no injuries described. view post


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