Writing fight scenes

One of the best tips I can give you budding writers is that when you have to write a fight scene, blow it out in your first draft. Go nuts with everything and everything you possibly want out of it, then scale it back to what you actually need afterwards. It’s way easier to craft a fun, intense fight scene that way, whereas when you have to pad it out, it tends to read like that’s what you’ve done.
I’ve had some trouble writing gunfights as opposed to fist fights. The former just don’t come across as creative enough, in my mind at least, whereas with the two big fistfight scenes in my novels (Garrett and the shapeshifter in Shifting Furies and again with Garrett and Dash Pendleton in Band of Fallen Princes) I can get down and dirty with the characters in a way that’s a joy to write. There are also two big Brianna fight scenes I’m really fond of in similar ways in For All the Sins of Man and Bone Carvers. In all of these, it was fun not just thinking about how the characters would interact and move from moment to moment, but it was a lot easier to keep track of numbers and bystanders, when applicable. With my gunfight scenes, tracking bullets, bodies, and injuries tends to require a lot of flowcharting and planning, which dulls the speed at which I can write a scene and therefore the overall quality of the writing.
Got any favorite fight scenes from books or movies? I think my very particular favorites from novels have to be the Sharpe battle scenes, which are both excellently written and easy to follow. Joe Abercrombie also writes fantastic battle scenes in his fantasy novel The Heroes. In film, it’s Heat, Collateral (sensing a Michael Mann thread here), and the end of the first half of Kill Bill. Whaddya got?

Author: therealcamlowe

Writer, occasional victim of pug crop-dusting.

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