Special Guest: Rayne Hall on Fight Scenes
The fabulous Rayne Hall has graciously provided this post on Writing Fight Scenes. Enjoy!
Thirteen Mistakes Writers Make With Fight Scenes
by Rayne Hall
1. Nothing at stake…. as if the characters put their lives at risk without purpose
2. Absence of emotion… as if the fighter didn’t feel fear, fury or despair
3. Generic setting… as if the fight took place in ‘white space’
4. Making it easy for the hero by giving him a superior weapon, superior armour, superior strength
and superior skills… as if he couldn’t rise to a genuine challenge
5. Fighters holding a leisurely conversation with long, carefully articulated sentences.. as if they had plenty of breath to spare during the swashbuckling
6. Implausible fight skills… as if the situation instantly granted the Regency damsel a black belt in
7. Inventing a fancy weapon for the hero… as if a gimmicky-shaped sword stood a chance against a
blade of tried-and-tested standard design
8. Long sentences… as if fighting was a leisurely, slow-paced activity
9. Lots of adverbs… as if any sense of speed created by a verb must be squashed instantly
10. Weapons from the wrong period … as if an ancient Greek would use a medieval greatsword, or
a Norman knight a 19th century cavalry sabre
11. Weapons performing tasks they can’t do … as if an epee sword could split skulls or a small
pistol stop a running target at a thousand feet
12. The character thinks deep philosophical thoughts… as if fighting off deadly blows were so easy
that he could concentrate on something else
13. The fighter observes what his mates are doing at the other side of the battlefield and the sun
setting on the horizon… as if the immediate danger didn’t require all his attention
Rayne Hall is professional writer and editor. She teaches online workshops for intermediate, advanced and professional level writers.
Online Class: WRITING FIGHT SCENES
Even if you’ve never wielded a weapon, you can create fictional fights which leave the reader breathless with excitement. You will understand different types of weapons and how to write about
them, and apply the six-part structure of great fight scenes. Decide how much violence your scene
needs, how to describe the terrain, how to create reader emotion, how to combine fighting with
dialogue, which senses to use when and how. Learn about female fighters, improvised weapons,
self-defence moves to get your heroine out of trouble, battle scenes, building suspense, adapting
your writing style to the fast pace of the action, and much more. Write a fight scene so entertaining
and so realistic that it stays in the reader’s mind. If you wish, you may submit a scene for critique at the end of the class.
April 2012 Lowcountry RWA: http://www.lowcountryrwa.com/online-workshops/
July 2013: Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal: http://www.romance-ffp.com/workshops.cfm
For an up-to-date list of classes with Rayne Hall visit: https://sites.google.com/site/writingworkshopswithraynehall/
Female Pirate with Sword, Illustration by Paul Davies. Copyright Rayne Hall.
Author portrait (Woman in Blue) by Kuoke. Copyright Rayne Hall.