Since I am UBER swamped with a writing deadline, I decided to revive one of my favorite Writer Wednesday posts, writing a fight scene. Y'see, I just wrote a little girly cat fight, and it reinded me of this post. So, here goes...
spent two brain-melting evenings sprinting in a chat room with other
writers. I'd gotten out of the habit of writing any amount in the past
month that I've been without my own computer. However, I churned out
nearly 5-K words in the past two afternoons. Not much else has gotten
done, though. As I get ready for bed tonight, a niggling thought takes
hold... Blog post tomorrow. I sigh, leave the jammies in the bathroom, and trudge back out here thinking, what am I going to write about?
I thought about an article some writer peeps are encouraging me to
write because I seem to have some expertise, or at least a gift, in
writing violence and realistic fight scenes. Has does tips on writing
fight scenes help create an Oasis of calm? No clue. But I never clip a
gift tip in the mouth. (see what I did there? worked in a couple
First, you ned to know what you want to get out
of your fight scene. If it's violence for violence's sake, for the shock
factor? Then ax it. Don't write anything that doesn't move your plot forward.
this fight has to happen, huh? Okay, then. Next we need to consider
there is always a winner and a loser in a street fight, unless someone
stops it artificially. Who's winning this fight of yours, and why? And
please don't just make it so the hero looks like a tough guy, and proves
to his girlfriend he can kick butt. A reader may have that "Yeah!"
feeling, but the scene will be hollow of impact. Do you intend to show a
certain trait? Show a certain flaw? Think about it and jot it down.
your hero throws the first punch, he's automatically cast as an
aggressor, and that may be a negative to your character construction.
However, having your character 'reel from a punch' or 'take a hit to the
jaw and drop in a jumble of bones' is not necessarily showing weakness.
Figure out the 'why' to the fight and you'll know better how much
hurting to let your character dish out and take.
My best advice?
WATCH MMA. It's a fantastic mix of different martial arts styles and
disciplines, and the closest to a true fisticuffs, street fight. My
hubby is a martial artist and now an MMA instructor. Most of my
knowledge comes from years of watching his classes. And we are big UFC
Basically, you're going to have an aggressor throw the
first punch. The opponent will be hit, or dodge. If the fighters are
inexperienced, there will be back and forth, awkward punches, maybe hair
pulling if they're girls, probably some cussing, maybe a trip and some
ground scuffling. Give it balance, let them dance a bite, but skew it
toward your winner. Let them land the bigger hits, but show it in the
opponent's reactions don't tell us how hard they flung that punch.
Eventually, one will get the better of the other. If the fighters are
experienced, the real fun begins. Same basic rules apply, give and take
with the winner giving the better strikes and kicks, though he should
take some damage too--unless he's a roboninjasuperfighter. Best part
about experienced fighters? You can show more aggression, more intent
and more damage, and use fancier fight terms! ^_^
How about some fight terms to give your scene more realism? I can do that:
Punch: closed fist strike, very generic term, great for a bar fight or a straight-shooter type of character.
Jab: more definied term, more of a straight punch driven forward.
kind of an upward hooking motion to a punch, the fighter usually turns
slightly down and into the strike giving it more power, but also
slightly telegraphing the move. An upper cut is very effective when
hitting the corner of the jaw for a knockout.
Hook: a punch thrown with more of a curve to it. Great for more of a sneaky character to throw.
hits the inner thigh, great for damaging a fighters stability, also
risky in a sanctioned fight due to the close proximity of certain
Ax kick: used by more trained fighters, usually MMA, tae kwon do, etc. it originates above the target and chops down into.
Heel kick: a turning motion used to drive the heel in, instead of the ball of the foot, or side.
Guillotine choke: most often used applied from behind, cuts off a fighter's blood flow to the brain and air in take.
often seen in MMA/cage fighting, usually applied on the ground during
grappling when one fighter pins the other's arm in their legs over the
waist and applies torque with hands and hips. Can strain, sparin, or
break the elbow.
two fighters tie up close, usually one has an advantageous position, or
they will struggle to get it. Some fighters tie up their opponent in a
clinch as a way to steal a little breather from hits.
the clinch, is tight body to body action often on the ground and ends
in a submission movie like a pin or joint lock/bar.
Knock Out. Means the fighter would have gotten a Knock Out if the hits
had continued. TKOs come by way of referee stoppage.
(Addendum to earlier post: these terms may not be friendly for all YA. I mean, my agent yelled at me for using the term gift-wrapped. *pouts*)
Some common MMA/Cagefighting slang: throwing leather (throwing a punch with a gloved fist), dropping bombs (throwing punches from above), ground and pound (utilized
often in a ground fight when one fighter gets the advantageous top
position, straddles their opponents chest and punches relentlessly).
If you want more, please comment and let me know. The lessons can continue!