Book: Writing Fight Scenes by Rayne Hall
|4.3 stars based on the 3 most helpful Amazon reviews|
Rayne Hallabout this book: Dear Author,
This book will help you to write a fight scene which is entertaining as well as realistic, and leaves the reader breathless with excitement.
You may be clueless about fighting matters, as many authors are. The book will show you step-by-step to write plausible fights and avoid blunders.
On the other hand, you may be a skilled martial artist, a military historian or a combat veteran. Then the book will guide you to turn your knowledge into vivid fiction.
I'll give you a six-part structure to use as blueprint for your scene, and reveal tricks how to combine fighting with dialogue, which senses to use when and how, and how to stir the reader's emotions. You'll decide how much violence your scene needs, what's the best location, how your heroine can get out of trouble with self-defence and how to adapt your writing style to the fast pace of the action. There will be sections on female fighters, male fighters, animals and weres, psychological obstacles, battles, duels, brawls, riots and final showdowns.
For the requirements of your genre, there is even advice on how to build erotic tension in a fight scene, how magicians fight, how pirates capture ships and much more. You will learn about different types of weapons, how to use them in fiction, and how to avoid embarrassing blunders.
A few years ago, when I struggled with my fight scenes, I looked for guidance and found none. So I set about discovering for myself what makes a great fight scene. I studied famous fight scenes in classic literature and in modern thrillers, observed their structure and analysed their techniques. Armed with these insights, I wrote fight scenes which enthralled the readers. Before long, other writers asked me to help me improve their fights. From there, it was a small step to teaching online classes in Writing Fight Scenes. All the time, I continued studying the subject and adding to my knowledge.
When I look back on my early fight scene attempts, I cringe - the mistakes are so glaring, the structure so awkward, the style so embarrassing. Now I know how to make a fight scenes work, and I want to share these techniques with you.
My expertise lies in the craft of fight scene writing, not in fighting. I'm a writer, not a warrior. A real fighter could easily beat the crap out of me. I could write a really good scene about it afterwards.
Although I've trained in several martial arts forms (mostly kickboxing, some self-defence, a little karate and aikido, even a spot of professional wrestling), I haven't won any match trophies or earned any black belts. My real-life fighting experiences include defending myself against a lecher in a rowing boat by hitting an oar over his head, and chasing away the neighbourhood bully with a garden spade.
When it comes to weapons, I know quite a bit about ancient arms and armour. I collect ancient arrowheads, and have flint-knapped my own set of stone age weaponry. I've practised archery (with considerable success), spear-throwing (so-so), and stone-slinging (abject failure).
As a belly dancer, I had an act where I balanced five blunted swords on different parts of my body. Although the weight of the swords led to hellish pain in my joints, audiences loved the show.
I've choreographed sword and staff fights for stage performances. While stage fights are very different from real fights, they have a lot in common with fight scenes in fiction.
The chapters give advice for different types of fights, weapons and genres, some of which will be relevant to your story and some won't. Simply skip what you don't need.
This is a book about the craft of writing. It won't turn you into military historian or weapons expert, and it won't teach you how to fight.
While you don't need fighting experience to use this book, you need a basic understanding of the writing craft. If you're a beginner, I recommend you study a book on general fiction techniques first.
I'm using British English. If you're used to American English, some of the words and spellings may look odd, but I'm sure you'll understand me anyway.
When talking about characters, I'll use 'she' sometimes and 'he' at other times. With the exception of Chapters 15 and 16, almost everything I say applies regardless of gender.
Throughout the book, I'll suggest links to websites worth visiting for more information. I assume that their content is legal and correct, but I have no way of knowing, and accept no responsibility for them. Site owners change the content all the time, and web pages get deleted and sites close down in the blink of an eye. If you find an inappropriate or dead link, let me know. You'll find my e-mail address at the end of this book.
I've viewed thousands of youtube clips and selected those most useful for writers: martial arts displays, historical reenactments, self-defence advice and weapons demonstrations. The URLs are included, and depending on the type of e-reader you use, you can click and watch them to help you visualise a fight. If you don't need them, just skip them.
I hope you'll enjoy my book and will apply the tricks to create fight scenes which are so entertaining, so realistic, so exciting that they stay in the reader's mind.
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