Fight scenes. About one of the hardest scenes to pull off as a writer. So many things go into it, and really, most writers-and authors!-can’t seem to pull it off right.
So today I’m helping you guys learn 5 awesome tricks to amping up your meh fight scenes into killer fight scenes (PUN INTENDED *evil laughs*)
So, let’s get started!
1. Make Sure Your Protagonist Has Trouble
Personally, I want my protagonist to land on top every time, because it’ll make him look really cool, buttttttttt…he’s going to need to have trouble.
There a lot of different kinds of trouble you could have in a fight scene:
- He falters
- He trips
- He slips
- He stumbles
- He stands there in shock
- His opponent is stronger, and he has trouble fighting him off
- His attacker makes a surprising move
- He’s caught off guard
The list could go on, but those are just some things that could get your idea going on those things. These things are going to make your fight scenes SO much more realistic! Just keep in mind that your protagonist doesn’t need to trip or stumble or stand in shock every moment, because this is an action scene, so we need the characters to keep going! But definitely have him do a few of these things sometimes to let there be a minor pause in the action.
2. Describe Your Protagonist’s Feelings
Fight scenes are the BEST scenes to be putting the 5 senses into action! (sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch). For example, here’s where the five senses enhancing a fight scene looks like:
Jack whipped his head up, managing to bring his sword up just in time to meet his attackers blade. The result was a massive clang of steel against steel, and Jack gritted his teeth, his hands vibrating painfully.
The knight narrowed his eyes, and kicked Jack in the shins. Stumbling backwards, Jack sucked in a breath as he put weight on his now-bruised leg. Suddenly, the knight whipped Jack’s legs from underneath him, and his head hit the ground hard. Shaken and dizzy, Jack tasted dirt and blood and could smell the wet grass underneath him. Groaning, Jack rolled over and looked up to see the knight standing over him, sword pointed downwards at his face. Fear coursed through Jack as he realized that he was about to die.
So, it’s not perfect, but I was basically just trying to give you the example of the 5 senses.
I bolded the parts where the 5 senses came in. I know that always there’s going to be sight, but I put it in anyway when I stated it very clearly.
I know that taste is kind of hard because…ummmmmmm…you’re not exactly tasting things on the battlefield. BUT! Describing dirt and blood is a GREAT enhancement-and a fantastic way to use taste-but don’t overuse it, because that’s…gross?
Also, other than the 5 senses, remember to make sure your protagonist becomes afraid sometimes.
He might narrowly escape being chopped up by a bad guy, almost dies but a friend saves him, stumbles at the worst possible moment-again, the list goes on. Just make sure your protagonist isn’t all calm and unrealistically perfect in the fighting-put some different feelings in there.
3. Make Sure Your Protagonist Can’t Do It All By Himself
There are two things wrong with having the protagonist fight all by himself all the time:
1. It Gets Boring
We all LOVE the protagonist! But uno solo allll the time can get way too repetitive-you have to bring in a few minor characters to do things with the protagonist every now and then.
2. It Makes Them Feel Like They’re Perfect and Can Defeat Everyone and Everything. I Mean, Who Needs an Army, Right?
SOOOO, you might’ve added some stumbling and really good describing, but your protagonist has to lose some fights. Obviously, because he’s the protagonist, he can’t die, so we need him to lose sometimes, but yet still stay alive.
I know-believe me-it’s hard.
This is another great way for those minor characters to show up again though! They swoop in at just the right moment and save the protagonist!
Of course, make it hard for the minor characters too! Make them fall, and stumble, and get hurt! But, of course, have them save the protagonist in the end.
4. Make Sure Someone Gets Hurt
I’m not talking exactly about death scenes-we can save that for another post-but you have to realize that in battles people do die, so it wouldn’t exactly make sense if, out of all the people dying, all your characters remained without a scratch.
So, in a ‘simple’ fight scene, like just a brawl between two characters, it’ll probably end up with some bloody lips and noses, black eyes, and soreness all over, but in a battle they’ll get severely wounded, excruciatingly exhausted, and so forth.
So, in your battle, remember to let the characters get hurt, and remember that not every character might make it out alive.
5. Make Sure There’s Dialogue
Fight scenes can be pretty cool when it’s just describing slashing down enemies, but there needs to be dialogue to keep things interesting and new.
There are a few simple ways for dialogue to happen:
- Have characters shout at each other
- Have characters converse as they take down enemies
- Have characters go back to back with each other and chat while fighting
- Let characters have an on-going conversation. Example: The characters are counting how many enemies they take down, and shout to each other across the battle-field their numbers.
Again, those are just some ideas to get you going, but definitely use dialogue to keep things energized and moving.
Fight scenes are incredibly hard to master. EVERY writer struggles with them, okay? I’ve tried to look for some books on fight scenes and found one. ONE GUYS! So I took it upon myself that whenever I’m watching a movie or reading a book with fight scenes in them, I’ve been studying them to figure out how they work.
If you guys found this post really helpful, I can create more on acing fight scenes-there’s still LOTS to know about them. Tell me what you think in the comments below!
Do you struggle with fight scenes as much as I do?
Have you ever used some of these tips before?
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment down below.
Thanks for reading!
Image Source: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/372109987948299757/