Make Your Fight Scenes 20% Cooler (via @susanjmorris)

It's time for another useful article by the ever entertaining Susan J Morris:

[F]ight scenes are deceptive! The feverish, frenzied pace of such scenes make it easy to miss the technical wizardry authors employ to keep their fight scenes fierce. And in the absence of understanding, it’s easy to fall back on blow-by-blow descriptions, backed by the literary equivalent of the shaky cam. But this will only ever approximate the flash and bang of your favorite fight scenes. (And it will make some of us dizzy and nauseated.) Besides, I know you want a fight scene that’s at least 20% cooler.

Susan identifies the following four areas and goes into detail in the original article on how to make these work for your scene:

  • Write Clearly
  • Use the Environment
  • Express the Hero's Motivations
  • Play with Pacing

If you want to dive into more detail you should check out 'Write the Fight Right', an eBook by Alan Baxter:

When I read a good book or story and then come across a fight scene written by an author who clearly knows nothing of fighting, it can really spoil an otherwise excellent experience. Most writers tend to regurgitate what they’ve seen on TV and in movies, converting that to text, which makes for a slow, unrealistic scene. We have the great advantage in prose that we can get into our characters’ heads, we can describe how things feel, smell and taste as well as the emotional content that film can never convey. We can also describe a far more realistic fight, with the kind of techniques and in-fighting that doesn’t show up on film, but is actually the real essence of a fight.

Do read Susan's article if you find yourself struggling with action scenes. Original here:

The Art of the Epic Battle (via @susanjmorris)

Susan Morris's writing articles are so useful that I try not to overwhelm you with too many of them, and instead hand pick a rare few. It means they're a little old, like this article on writing epic battles from mid-December.

Nothing sets fire to our hearts and minds like a good old-fashioned climatic battle. That epic clash where good stands against evil in the face of almost certain death, fearlessly protecting that which is most sacred to them--be it honor, freedom, or the world itself. Few things are more inspiring than seeing those brave, proud few draw a line in the sand and throw down for what they believe in against almost impossible odds.

Susan breaks the article into three sections, and contrasts this to a regular fight scene. Useful advice here for writers of epic battles.

  • What Are They Fighting For?
  • What Gives Them Hope?
  • How Does it All End?

Read it here: