A Writer's Journey

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for Fight Scenes

I don't know about any of you, but one of the things that I have difficulty with when writing are the fight scenes. In order to make the fight scenes work well, there has to be enough telling to take out some of the tedium in certain details to move the scene along, but there has to be a buttcrack load more of showing.

That old writing adage "show, don't tell"? Hoyeah, loads. In order to get the reader to feel like they're in the action, going through the motions of the fight, flinching with the characters as though they were the ones who got hit...well, that isn't going to be happening if the fight scenes are being *told* to the audience.

Example #1:

Carver glared menacingly at the humanoid machina. He wanted so badly to just ram his fist into that hunk of metal, not caring if the impact broke his hand. He wondered if his anger would be enough to make him forget about the physical pain.

Uhh...my thoughts reading this? zzZZzz...

Know why? It's telling.

Example #2:

Carver didn't stop to think. Before he realized what he was doing, his fist made contact with the flesh-like shell of the machina. The machina's head snapped back without skipping a beat and Carver's fist pounded into the tin giant's face over and over again, his fingers nothing more than a mangled mess of skin and bones.

See the difference? Don't hate on the scenarios - I just came up with those off the top of my head. LOL But you get the point, right? Why would he be thinking about all of these things? Where was the adrenaline? The anger that Carver's telling the audience he has? Now in the second example, Carver showed that machina who was boss. You can see the anger and feel the adrenaline. Or at least I can. LOL

You know...kinda like this...

I recently just finished reading Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton and it had some of the best fight scenes I've seen in a while. I was fist pumping for the MC and wanted the Guardian to rip the vir to shreds. I felt like I was in the scene with them.

And who can forget the final scene between Harry Potter and Voldemort? You couldn't help but catch your breath as the anticipation grew and when the first spell was cast, your stomach jumped up and did a samba dance with your furiously beating heart. Just me? LOL Anyway...

What are some of your favorite literary fight scenes and what elements about them made you feel like they were worthy of being called favorite?


  1. You definitely deserve the #1 most visual phrase for today: buttcrack load !! I will probably have that in my mind all day, with the visual.

  2. Bahahahaha! See? SHOW...not TELL. I probably should've added a buttcrack pic in there somewhere, but people might get the wrong idea about this blog. LOL

  3. Harry Potter all the way...

  4. i guess a fight scene is like any other, a balance between showing and not telling too much.

  5. Fantastic post, Anime! This has been on my mind lately, as my friends have told me my fight scenes are dry and rather unbelievable. I think part of this is because I don't know anything about fighting, but I guess it would be a good idea to look at fight scenes I like by other writers. :)

  6. Ah, yes, Harry Potter is a great example. Heart-pounding!

  7. I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Creative Blog Award.
    Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.

  8. Wow, great advice. I love how you did an example of show and tell. Fight scenes are difficult and my wip is chock full of them, so thanks for posting this!

  9. I'm glad you guys enjoyed it! I actually got the idea from a post I saw on another blog (the blog name escapes me at the moment) and thought I'd post something that I sometimes have problems with that others could relate to.

    And thanks to Deirdra for the awesome award! :D