Do you have some tips on writing fight scenes share them with everyone.

#1
Last time, i have received some great tips on writing good dialogue, so i am here again for some advice, i am writing my first ever fight scene and i don't know how to approach it, so i have a few questions :
1-do you use any reference material to choreograph the fight?
2-do you describe in detail what is happening during the fight? or you write for example character 1 did this and character 2 countered with this? 

Re: Do you have some tips on writing fight scenes share them with everyone.

#2
Hello there. I'm certainly not an expert in writing fight scene, but I did write some in my fiction. So, here are my thoughts.

1. Yes, I watch some fight clips suitable for my story. It gave me the idea of how to write the scene.

2. Yes, I detailed the movement of the character fighting in the beginning. At least to deliver the impression of how they fight to the reader. It then getting less detailed and focus more on events which create an impression which side is winning, such as weapon disarming, wounds, deadly blow, or maybe the mental state of one side.

Hope this helps. 🙏

Re: Do you have some tips on writing fight scenes share them with everyone.

#3
Fight scenes can be varied. Plenty of fight scenes in novels and films are choreographed to add drama and fancy moves like spins, such as in Star Wars or gun fu films. You could depict a fight of this sort, or one which is more gritty and perhaps brief.

In a system novel or litRPG, fights might be extended for longer to resemble the style of an MMO or RPG. However, it can still be valuable to appreciate the basic dynamics of eg. a weapon or fighting approach. For instance, when I introduced swordfighting around Chapter 30, the MC spends more time sizing up the opponent and then attempting a decisive attack, rather than running in and doing flips. While MMO swords don't necessarily kill opponents with one stab, the sword is still a dangerous weapon built to kill, and twirling could distract from that. I prefer to be slightly methodical with most combat scenes, focusing on the gameplay skills and the fight itself, so that complements the overall approach.

However, if you were writing a heavily surrealistic or dream-like style of novel, then it could be useful to emphasise a more abstract, spacy kind of swordfight. It might still be useful to understand some basics of swordfighting, however, so that you can use the sword imagery more exactingly. But the surrealistic approach might still be part of the work, and for instance someone could write an interesting Macbeth-esque fight scene where a figure named Ashoka (after the famous warrior-turned-Buddhist King) is fighting several opponents but is unsure if he is actually fighting or just staring at a bloodied hand and reliving a sense of guilt. Or, if you're a true fantasy afficionado, the hero is convinced by an evil chicken that is not a chicken - who fights through maniacal clucking - to kill all those who violate moral clarity. So it really depends on what you're doing and what is most suitable.

(Honestly, there's probably no inappropriate situation for a chicken that is not a chicken to appear. Except when someone's thing rises up, at that point even the evil chicken probably knows to keep away or else.)

Re: Do you have some tips on writing fight scenes share them with everyone.

#4
For hand-to-hand combat etc;

I would recommend doing a short self-defense class (sometimes a given free in an area, for a 2-3 hour session). I know when I did Taekwon-Do, many moons ago - they ran short free classes (how to get out of grips, away from an attack, etc).

Fencing is fun - but less practical and actually bloody hard. But you can usually go and observe - this way you learn through others being taught - stance - strategy (it is all about strategy). 

I hope this helps.

You know I wrote this thinking you may not have experience with the above so edit;

If you do, balance is one of the main things to look at - you will know how to disrupt it in the other person based on movement and the need to keep yours whilst maintaining distance. A fight is often won on the other losing momentum or balance - allowing you to push the attack. 

Re: Do you have some tips on writing fight scenes share them with everyone.

#5
I think all of these pieces of advice are great. Here are the parts of writing a good scene as I understand and think about them:

1: Visualize the scene
Personally, between my own martial arts history and the hundreds or thousands of fight scenes I've watched in my life, I have an intuitive sense of how they work and I just trust that intuition about the flow. I think the same results can be achieved through intention rather than intuition, by studying and practicing such scenes until it becomes second nature, then it will be easy. You could start by watching a great fight scene in a movie that works for your story, write down each of the moves (turn the visual scene into a written one). Then alter pieces of it to make it your own.

2: Don't have too many details
If you describe every muscle twitch, the pace will slow so much that it will become boring, unless it is a fencing nerd who is reading. So as someone else said, start with more detail, then get more vague, using language that describes the feeling rather than the specifics. "Then Bob pressed forward like a storm of whirling blades, and all it was all Nancy could do to parry and retreat."
You can narrarate how he turned his ankle to thrust if it is relevant or adds in some way(like if you foreshadowed this as the tell for the character using a signature move), but generally avoid the minutia. People want to see the awesomeness, but ultimately their mind is going to do most of the work and fill in the blanks, so you just have to provide guideposts.

3: Use slow-mo moments for dramatic effect
A real fight is fast and brutal, but tension can be created when you slow it down as a bullet is fired at your character... and misses(or hits). Draw out those moments of tension between moments of chaos/mood.

4: You can do some character development with a quick revelation followed by a change in tactics etc.

5: Give everyone a fighting style (this is probably one of the most important for me)
I like to have the fighting style be representative of the character as a whole. Big heavy blows or quick darting movements, graceful or ferocious, or both. Metaphors and similes are great for capturing this. "He was a mountain, indomitable. Not a single blow passed his defense or interrupted his ceaseless advance." Each fighter should ideally have a specific feeling, kind of like dialogue, where you probably can assume who did it just by the language used.
I also like to have a specific move or two that each character is known for or is really good at. That way you've seen how powerful it is and when it is used on your MC there is some tension wondering how your MC will survive. This can be pretty simple and basic and a little goes a long way.

6: Variety- Make sure all of your fight scenes are distinctive by changing one or all of the following: abilities, enemy types, environmental factors, scene length etc.
The only time to truly repeat an encounter is if the MC lost last time and this time they will kick ass and showcase their new strength/skill.

Anyway, thats my 6 cents. Hope it's helpful. Good luck!

Re: Do you have some tips on writing fight scenes share them with everyone.

#6
MJ Wrote: I think all of these pieces of advice are great. Here are the parts of writing a good scene as I understand and think about them:

1: Visualize the scene
Personally, between my own martial arts history and the hundreds or thousands of fight scenes I've watched in my life, I have an intuitive sense of how they work and I just trust that intuition about the flow. I think the same results can be achieved through intention rather than intuition, by studying and practicing such scenes until it becomes second nature, then it will be easy. You could start by watching a great fight scene in a movie that works for your story, write down each of the moves (turn the visual scene into a written one). Then alter pieces of it to make it your own.

2: Don't have too many details
If you describe every muscle twitch, the pace will slow so much that it will become boring, unless it is a fencing nerd who is reading. So as someone else said, start with more detail, then get more vague, using language that describes the feeling rather than the specifics. "Then Bob pressed forward like a storm of whirling blades, and all it was all Nancy could do to parry and retreat."
You can narrarate how he turned his ankle to thrust if it is relevant or adds in some way(like if you foreshadowed this as the tell for the character using a signature move), but generally avoid the minutia. People want to see the awesomeness, but ultimately their mind is going to do most of the work and fill in the blanks, so you just have to provide guideposts.

3: Use slow-mo moments for dramatic effect
A real fight is fast and brutal, but tension can be created when you slow it down as a bullet is fired at your character... and misses(or hits). Draw out those moments of tension between moments of chaos/mood.

4: You can do some character development with a quick revelation followed by a change in tactics etc.

5: Give everyone a fighting style (this is probably one of the most important for me)
I like to have the fighting style be representative of the character as a whole. Big heavy blows or quick darting movements, graceful or ferocious, or both. Metaphors and similes are great for capturing this. "He was a mountain, indomitable. Not a single blow passed his defense or interrupted his ceaseless advance." Each fighter should ideally have a specific feeling, kind of like dialogue, where you probably can assume who did it just by the language used.
I also like to have a specific move or two that each character is known for or is really good at. That way you've seen how powerful it is and when it is used on your MC there is some tension wondering how your MC will survive. This can be pretty simple and basic and a little goes a long way.

6: Variety- Make sure all of your fight scenes are distinctive by changing one or all of the following: abilities, enemy types, environmental factors, scene length etc.
The only time to truly repeat an encounter is if the MC lost last time and this time they will kick ass and showcase their new strength/skill.

Anyway, thats my 6 cents. Hope it's helpful. Good luck!
That's very comprehensive and well thought out, the part about giving everyone a fighting style is something i completely stand behind, i believe that a character personality (not their IQ) should dictate their fighting style, for example if they are daring they take more risk (attack heavy style), on the other hand if they are cautious they strategies their attack (counter attack style).

Re: Do you have some tips on writing fight scenes share them with everyone.

#7
Nobody here has mentioned pacing. When I write action, the most important thing on my mind is controlling the flow of the narration through grammar and the overall presentation of prose. One easy way to do this is the semicolon; writers will tell you to avoid semicolons, and it's generally good advice, but the more semicolons you use, the more clauses you pile on, the less space left between independent ideas, the easier it is to build toward specific point, to generate a climax, and then, when the moment finally comes--

Then you can draw attention to the most important ideas. 

There's nothing worse in an action sequence than burying the important detail that the MC has been shot in the lungs and is bleeding out on the ground, gasping for breath while the bullets fly past his head, in the fourth sentence of nine within a gigantic paragraph. I write a lot of action--it's one of the things I most admire about my favorite authors and practice often--and I think I've gotten pretty good at it. One of the better sequences where I observe all of my own rules is probably from this chapter of my current novel (scroll about halfway down), if you're curious about what I mean. 

Control the pace. Draw attention to the most important ideas. Eschew visual language, depending on the type of story you're writing, and make sure to ground the action in the subjective experience of the narrator, rather than trying to describe the play-by-play choreography of the screenplay you can see in your mind (also depends on the type of story you're writing, though). 

Re: Do you have some tips on writing fight scenes share them with everyone.

#8
JurassicClark Wrote: make sure to ground the action in the subjective experience of the narrator
This is great advice that applies to all scenes IMO, action or otherwise (unless you are writing using 3rd person omniscient which is generally frowned upon for most stories and especially newer writers). If you aren't already doing this, start. What do things mean to your character? Does their perception match what is really happening, or are they missing something that will leave them blindsided? How do they react when they are disarmed by the opponent... There are a lot of ways to slice and apple, or write a fight scene, but this general advice about staying grounded in that subjective experience(in most situations) is foundational.

Any rule that is spouted out will have exceptions... Just make sure that you are being intentional when you make an exception.

Also, I really respect well used semi-colons. Unless you have a strong grasp of grammar and syntax, however, I recommend the conventional avoidance of that tool. Comma's and em-dashes are really versatile.

This brought something up for me, which is the two different schools of thought regarding sentence length in action sequences and how that affects pacing.
Some will advise shortening sentences and paragraphs to emphasize everything and simulate that simplification of thought when we are in deep focus or life and death situations(just don't overdo it). 
Others like long sentences, possibly run-on sentences, sometimes intentionally breaking standard rules of grammar to simulate the chaos like it's all one long drawn out moment. And JurassicClark had a great point in that you really don't want to bury the most important details if you are doing this with long sentences or long paragraphs. 
My personal preference is to have a mix. I'll mix in a 1-word sentence or one sentence paragraph, I'll have a longer paragraph of frantic thoughts or actions. I just like to blend it (depending on the needs of the scene and length of the scene). The best thing to do is read your favorite fight scenes and pay attention to what the author is doing with their language and what details they show/skip/abbreviate. Hopefully, after reading our comments, you'll have a better idea of what you are looking for when you re-read those passages and start to develop your own style and flair.

Good Luck!

Re: Do you have some tips on writing fight scenes share them with everyone.

#10
I've nothing to add directly, but there are some great videos on the subject. Two are from a Youtube channel called Hello Future Me. He does a lot of great work breaking down ways to improve your writing, and I've gotten a lot out of that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKkKNKUK_GE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSafcUuHFnk



Another isn't about novel writing, but a Youtuber named Totally Not Mark did a breakdown of what makes a good fight scene in a video using the fight between Goku and Vegeta from Dragon Ball has his example of a perfectly crafted fight that fits within his mold.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tLASpyLvKc&t=744s


I think they're all worth watching.

Re: Do you have some tips on writing fight scenes share them with everyone.

#11
keep it focused and simple.  New moves should build on the old ones.  You shouldn't have 20 moves that do the same thing.  There's utility moves, ranged moves, type moves, physical moves.  Don't waste my time giving the protagonist a fifth type of beam attack please.  Maybe even restrict yourself from going over more than 10 abilities.  

If you shift perspectives, you have to spend some time grounding the reader.  You can't just start calling out moves again.  You have to let the reader know whose perspective they're in.  What's going on in the background.  Maybe even a reminder who this perspective character is beyond just his name.  This is just how multiple perspectives work, you wanna have them, you have help the reader keep track of them.  

Once you start a high stakes battle, finish it before changing perspectives.  If you shift to some stupid dinner party right when shit's hit the ceiling, I'm skipping whatever section you wrote.  And I may avoid reading it at all just out of spite.