Budgie’s Journal #109 – FIGHT!!!

Someone recently tweeted that writing fight scenes is tough, and as someone who’s written many: I agree. Whether it’s with fists, swords, spears, guns, etc; the art of writing a proper fight can be a pain.

The first advice I gave came straight from Fight Club’s Tyler Durden, although I watered it down: go out and pick a fight. This is probably bad advice, as you’ll likely get your ass kicked. I’ve been in a few fights, and I’ve won and lost. Hell, I have two brothers, and we used to kick the shit out of each other on a regular basis.

But can you write a fight scene if you’ve never been in a fight? Sure. I’ve never come across vampires or werewolves, but I wrote an entire novel about them.

If you don’t want to experience that adrenaline rush or humility of an actual fight, I’d recommend watching one. Take in some amateur boxing. You can probably find it easily enough on the internet. Some Asian cinema will do you well too. Try some Tony Jaa movies or something in the fighting genre. There’s tons of them out there as long as you don’t mind subtitles.

But here’s the thing about actually writing the fight: it goes by quick. You think you’ve written an epic beat down, only to check your word count to see it’s only three hundred words. There’s been plenty of notes in my drafts that say to expand fights or action scenes, but your reader will recognize padding if that’s what it is.

Fights in writing can be repetitive. Look at a boxing match and imagine it written out. How many times can you put “Budgie threw a jab” before your reader rolls their eyes and says “enough with the jabbing already!”

Multi-fights or bigger battles are easier, because you can have multiple things happening at once. This is also true for a drawn-out super hero fight scene. If you’re writing a one-on-one fight, then you’re better off keeping it short and sweet unless you’re writing a tribute to Raging Bull. Actual fights in the real world don’t take too long to reach their conclusion.

I think I beat this point to a bloody pulp. Take it for what it’s worth, but it’s only my opinion. Big whoop. Wanna fight about it?

-Budgie Bigelow

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