A gripping, movie-worthy fight scene is a joy to read but sometimes difficult to write. If you run into trouble when it’s time for your characters to throw down, I have some pointers that may help you get into the proper headspace and articulate what’s going on.
First thing’s first: Location.
Where does the fight take place? Familiarize yourself with the area. Even if you don’t go into painstaking detail in the actual scene, you—the writer—need to know this place inside out, including the area surrounding it.
Get some graph paper and sketch the layout of the location as best you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Treat it like you’re trying to describe a rough blueprint of your apartment to someone who’s never been there before. What is this space usually used for? Where is everything? Think about the place from a tactical perspective. Are there any features or objects that someone could take cover behind/under/inside? Is there anything that can be used as an improvised weapon? Are there features that present hazards? (Subway tracks, flights of stairs, a cliff edge…)
I’ve had to pause in writing a scene due to the necessity of more research on what I intend to do. I know it sounds vague but I don’t want to spoil it for you! Let’s just say it has a lot to do with explosions and physics.
In the meantime, here’s some more research I’m doing on map-making. I intend for Hollow Vengeance to have a map in it. I may even release a second edition of Broken Prophecy with a map. It really does add something special to the book! Not sure as to whether I’ll do the book-worthy map myself or have someone else pretty-up my work. We’ll see how good I can get it. I’ll post up progress shots … probably. Hehehehe.
It explains nicely and clearly how to go about creating a map, what considerations to take, and why geography works the way it does to create all those neat little features we have like the Grand Canyon, or the volcanoes of Hawaii.
Author’s note: This is an exercise that we did in our writers’ circle a week ago and I’ve just gotten around to tidying it up. It is a fanfiction piece, the first I’ve ever done. It is from an anime called Shiki. Hope you enjoy!
Fandom: Shiki (anime)
Focus: Seishin Muroi
Time Period: Takes place just after the end of the anime and ignores the manga.
From the diary of Seishin Muroi.
This is not how the story is supposed to end.
I had always known that death was my path. I could not help but hear its whispers in the forest growing its grave-marker trees all around me. All my life has been lived in its noose.
When I was younger and more foolish, I courted it, sought to marry it with a knife to my wrist. But it would not have me yet, and I felt shame for trying to force my mortal body upon a grave yet to shallow to receive me.
Author’s note: This piece parodies the Final Fantasy video game series and similar Japanese Role-Playing Games. Those who are familiar with this genre will probably get a few more of the references than those who are not. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy.
Deus Ex Machina
When I became an adventurer, I had no idea what it meant. The weathered parchment tacked up on the town hall’s message board was laced with bold-faced lies with all its talk of “saving the world” and “bringing evil to justice.” Had it been honest, the job description would have been more akin to “trekking through every back-water gods-forsaken village and hamlet in the kingdom and doing everyone else’s work for them.” Continue reading “Deus Ex Machina – Short Story”
I was going to take the day off, really, but then I came across an answer I wrote to a writing exercise. We had to pick a metaphor to describe what our 2013 year of writing was like. This is what I had to say:
My writing year was like a freight train.
My writing year was like a freight train. Heavy with a long, long train of baggage, yet moving fast. Unstoppable. No matter what obstacles came across the track, I ploughed through them. No time for bullshit or bitches. Drama-llamas smeared across my grill, eyes wide with the revelation that I stop for no one when my dream is on the line. I got a schedule, and your whining and excuses are not important.
Chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga ain’t nobody got time fo’ that.
Sometimes, it went too fast for me, but there was no stopping it. I just had to hang on. No time to watch the scenery blur past except for one stop to refuel at the station of August.
Gods, I needed that.
When I came back from KG, I found the balls to take on yet more cargo. Every deadline met with clockwork-precision. Every hand on board needed to make this machine move. The conductor waits for no one and yes I did leave behind those who slacked off at their posts. If you want to be the boss, you’ve got to act like one.
I came to the end of the line, all wheels screaming and sparking and now I’m fucking HERE, but don’t you dare think I’m staying for good. Once I’m offloaded, I’m gonna get my ass turned back around and go back for more. Oil my joints, fuel me up, and get those cargo cars queued up nice.
So I finished the Renew and Review Writing Challenge minus a few of the exercises I didn’t feel compelled to do. Very useful! I recommend Ms. Jepson’s work, at least insofar as the writing challenge goes. I haven’t read her book yet but I might look into it later this year. I now have a shiny new Writing Life Plan posted on the wall beside my computer so I can glance at it whenever I forget what the crap I’m supposed to be doing. Woo!
I had an awesome New Years Eve party with a ton of friends. Got a little networking done besides. Meeting creative people is awesome!
This year, I’ll be working steadily on the sequel to Blood of Midnight: The Broken Prophecy using Carroline Norrington’s Scrivener Template. It took a little futzing around to get it to work for me–being the amazing technomancer I am NOT–but once I got it downloaded properly it opened up a world of possibilities for me. If you don’t already have Scrivener, I totally recommend the investment. Even if I explain why I love it so much, you totally don’t understand its full worth until you try it for yourself. I actually use about 90% of the tools it offers.
So tomorrow’s my birthday. I’ll be 29. People keep asking me “for the first time?” I don’t get it. This year, I requested a kidless kid party. I want Kraft Dinner with ketchup, crayons, a colouring book, finger paint, Play Dough, and toys … and enough booze that I really do feel like I’m a five year old. Maybe my wife will buy me that Disney Princess cake and write something obscene on it? One can hope!
For fantasy, I’ve actually found this Fantastic Armies article to be helpful and not just for battles. It lets you know when your population dedicating to fighting and other pursuits, is reasonable and when it’s off-base.
For religions, I like to hit up my personal favourite: The Writing Cafe for help.
We had a very successful writers’ meeting this past Saturday and I’d like to share with you the exercise we did. The exercise was crafted to hone our ability to create fictional worlds in which to set our stories and, just as importantly, how to describe those worlds so as not to bore the reader to tears.
First, I’d like you to consider that there are two points of attacking the problem of world building: Top-Down and Bottom-Up. To put it very simply, you can build your world, decide on the geography, history, geology, cultures, religions, population, biology, technology, linguistics, etc and then write a story set in this world. Or, you can begin writing straight away and come up with the details of the world as you go.
I advocate for using both methods by turns. I largely let my mood determine which I am going to work on on any given day. Some days, I’m in a really good flow, the characters are coming alive right off the page, the plot is moving along smoothly, interesting things are happening. Some days, my writing is clunky and forced and I just don’t feel like it so, instead of abandoning my work for the day, I take care of other necessary tasks that come with producing a work of fiction. I do some research, I flesh out a character by filling out a character sheet, I seek out music that reminds me of a character or would be appropriate for a scene, or I work out some points about the setting by drawing maps, diagrams, writing lists, etc.
Tomorrow, my Writers’ Circle is having a meeting. Which reminds me, I should probably do the exercise … Anyway! Tomorrow, my Writers’ Circle is having a meeting and the subject is world-building. In writing, world-building is more than simply deciding on the details of how your fantasy world is made up and how it works: it’s conveying those details in an engaging manner so the reader’s eyes don’t gloss over.