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How do you write a high action fight scene with no visual medium?:
Keep It Simple. Don't clutter the prose. Focus on movement and pain.
Bigonkers! is MagicI actually plan on doing this with a riot scene: The characters never actually see it, they can only hear about the events over the radio.
Draws some DinosaursHoo, this is a tough one that I feel like I'm still figuring out. Jack Mackerel's got the right idea, though: you want to make the action clear, but you don't want to bog it down with too much description, or it won't flow as smoothly or naturally. There are exceptions to that, like many 'guides' when writing stuff, but the general idea is to write how you want it to feel. Personally, I figure out how I want the battle to look, and see what I can write without getting too repetitive. I'll go over it again and touch it up. I really want to give more advice than that, like, idunno, being able to add more or less detail based on the fighting experience of the character your narrative is following... but I am drawing blanks at the moment and I should have been sleeping an hour ago! ^^:
LurkerUnless you have an omniscient narrator, refrain from describing precise movement too much. In the heat of the battle the characters won't notice that their opponent performs a roundhouse kick and then follows up with a Special Fist of The Dragon (tm), they'll notice the pain when that kick hits them in the head or the slam against their arm when they parry the blow. Of course you'll need to mention some movements, but the scene will seem detached and like a list if you try to describe exactly what a viewer would see in a movie.
"Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane"
cuter, cuddlier EdmondSomething like this: The fist flew, and Guyra felt the impact on his chin. Seath was about to follow up when Guyra, despite still reeling, bent backwards and fluidly lent his motion towards a sweeping motion that knocked his enemy off his feet. Guyra quickly regained footing and used this chance to stomp his enemy clear in the stomach. Seath groaned, blood spurted up through his mouth, but he was still fighting: He grabbed Guyra's leg and forced him off balance. Then, Seath forced Guyra face down and grappled him into a choke-hold... ... Though actually you could probably do a lot better than that.
Samurai TroperRemember that it takes more time to read a sentence than it does to do the action that the sentence describes. That's why you avoid Purple Prose and the like with high action sequences, since it creates a massive time dissonace. You brain has to slow down the action going on in your imagination to let you catch up with the reading.
Here's part of a fight scene from one of my stories (background: Moonbeam is a Vampire Detective who has Stockholm Syndrome from The Spanish Inquisition, Nora is a teenage foster kid who stole Moonbeam's blood and turned herself into a vampire because she's terrified of dying): Moonbeam pulled out her silver stake. "I will make you repent even if you don't want to!" She yelled, running at Nora. "For your own good!" Nora leapt backwards and to one side, eyes wide, and started fumbling in her pocket with one hand. Moonbeam attacked again and again, and Nora dodged wile searching her pocket, until she finally pulled out a silver knife. Now the fight really began. Nora started being more aggressive, darting in with her knife and forcing Moonbeam to defend on occasion. However, Moonbeam still had the advantage, and managed to score a glancing blow on Nora's upper arm. The girl hissed, leaping back, and looked at Moonbeam with a hurt and fearful expression. For a fleeting moment, Moonbeam felt guilty. Then she attacked again. As the fight continued, Moonbeam started to tire. She realized if she didn't end it soon, she'd be at a disadvantage. She attacked more ferociously, trying to get in a fight-ending hit right away, but Nora acted defensively, blocking and moving out of the way.
edited 3rd Feb '11 7:27:32 AM by Ettina
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
NemesisIf your viewpoint character is a martial artist, they'll recognize the moves of another, though, but keep it simple.
A brighter future for a darker age.
The PuzzlerI recommend listening to this podcast by Writing Excuses. It covers many different ways to write Fight Scenes.
So now I know that my lack of success in college is due to ADD — or sleep apnea. I need to do a sleep study some time.
Stayin' AliveThis is definitely one I still wonder about — mainly because I can't think of a book where I actually liked the action scene. Ether it gets bogged down with describing things I can't seem to visualize or care about, or it goes so fast that I get lost and have no idea what's happening anymore. Well, that or all the action gets summarized, which isn't that fun ether. I do have to say though, that you need to be careful. I've heard advice like "keep sentences short and punchy" and "don't ruminate on description" plenty of times, but I'm a bit dubious on how useful they are to writing good fight scenes when followed too closely to the letter of the law. For one thing, the best way to make sentences short is to slide directly into telling instead of showing, which immediately removes a big chunk of drama that you actually want in a fight. For two, if you don't describe anything, you can immediately loose all the background setting pieces that make fights something other than a string of "X punched. Y dodged" — like "X punched, Y stabs his arm with a glass shard from the window." But then, I don't know how to fix a fight scene so that it actually works for me, so… *shrugs*
edited 4th Feb '11 7:30:25 AM by Dec
Samurai TroperDec: You could describe the sensation of movement, like "A cool gust of wind slapped X's left cheek as Y's sword cleaved the air where he had stood. He gritted his teeth at the realisation of Y's speed, lunging in a stepping cut...' or things like that.
edited 4th Feb '11 9:23:17 AM by TomoeMichieru
The DragonWell, writing good fight scenes goes hand in hand with writing good description. When I write fight scenes, I imagine what the characters would do in the given situation, say as in the case of a Kuroshitsuji fanfic I am writing, I have a fight scene between Sebastian and Grell . This is what a part of it looks like (Lilith is my OC btw): "Sebast-chan!" the red haired grim reaper that Sebastian Michaelis loathed most was standing before him, over what looked like the corpse of young woman. The macabre image made him shiver although the tingling of his skin was barely detectable. "What's wrong? Why does my Sebas-chan look so morose? It does not become you at all!" "I am not yours" Sebastian snarled, standing in front of Ciel protectively, the image of the woman's body was refusing to vacate his mind. As he looked at the cooling form of the dead woman he saw Lilith in her place, covered in blood, her ruby eyes cold and distant. The image made him gaze at Grell with cold hate. "But…but…Sebas-chan!" Grell grinned, shark-teeth bared as he hefted his chainsaw, preparing to attack. "We could have so much fun together!" "I highly doubt it" Sebastian drew a dagger from inside his coat, the tiny blade glowing with Demonic energy. It was one of the few possessions he had kept from his journey from Hell to Earth. "Oh stop this!" Grell swung the chainsaw, the roaring blade missing the butler's throat by inches, even as he dodged the attack. "I hate seeing you so angry and upset! Tell Grelly-kun what's wrong!" "It is of no importance" Sebastian replied coldly, his eyes glowing with annoyance as he swung the dagger at Grell, the Shinigami dodging effortlessly. As Grell swung the chainsaw again, Sebastian leapt high, landing on the blade itself and walking across it to leap behind the reaper who cried out in protest. "This is no fun! You keep dodging everything! At least let me get a hit!" he hissed, his glasses slipping down the bridge of his nose. "And this is of importance to me Sebastian! You are important to me!" "Which I find utterly disgusting" Sebastian growled back and Grell grinned wider, smiling with glee and the barest hint of lust. "Oh, growl like that again!" the reaper exclaimed. "I love that sound almost as much as the blood upon the ground!" The Reaper's heart was racing as he spoke, adrenaline and lust powering his further attacks.
"Never tickle a sleeping dragon...or else it may laugh so hard that it accidentally torches you with its fiery breath"
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Total posts: 13
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