What Was That? You Wanna Fight?

When starting this blog I asked friends what they would be interested in seeing from a blog based around writing. One of the biggest requests I got was writing fight scenes. So… how do you write a fight scene you say?

Beats me.

I wish I had some clear advice to give, but honestly I’ve winged every one I’ve ever written. So far what I’ve been told is that they’re good to read, but who knows if that’s a bias. The way I go about it is generally thinking back to other authors, but also what you tend to see in war movies as well as novels based on war.

Yep, I said movies (Good movies mind you). I don’t mean the ridiculous amounts of Michael Bay-esque explosions or the dramatic stunts and heroes who live through wounds that are blatantly fatal. I mean the chaos. You are going to be writing from the perspective of a character, so make sure to keep it that way. Keep the scene to what only they see and experience. They are not going to be aware of who is flanking who if they are in one of the center Companies unless they’re an officer made privy to that information.

A lot of books on the World Wars often tend to relate the horror of war as well. Do not be afraid to get vicious with it. War is not a pretty thing. There will be blood, guts, broken bones, and mud. People get trampled, there is friendly fire, people panic, and others fly into a blood lust.

Of course, how it plays out will vary a lot based on what kind of fight we are talking about. A one on one fight is far different than a soldier on the battlefield. On the battlefield there are mass amounts of information to take in so chaos is your friend. Short sentences to the point tend to create more tension. Focus will constantly be shifting from one threat to the next and the unexpected is expected to occur.

One versus one generally is “calmer”. There is only one target to focus on; one goal. I allow myself more room for observation here. In this situation my character is far more likely to notice a twitch preluding an attack or catch onto a feint than on the battlefield where there is no time for that.

A battlefield is sensory overload where as a duel is all focus. The more opponents the more likely your characters attentions will fray in multiple directions.

I suppose my main goal is not to focus too heavily on just the actions of sword slashes and magic casting, but to give the reader a sense of atmosphere. Does the battle appear to be going well? Is all hell breaking loose? What are the sounds and the sights around? Or is it all coming in so fast the character can only process it in short bursts and flashes?

For a one on one I delve more into the thought process; the calculation behind attack and defense. Character thoughts are allow to stray to something beyond just survival.

Hopefully this is of some aid. I still feel like a novice on such a subject. At the very least I hope this gives the wanted insight into my process that was requested even if it does not necessarily help.

And So Here We Are…

Today I finished the first edit of my novel. It has been both exhilarating and terrifying. I won’t even mention my word count. Needless to say it is ridiculously large; as in probably close to 3x larger than some of the estimations I’ve seen for my genre’s standard.

A while back I had come to terms with the fact that I was most likely going to need to split the book. It was a painful revelation as I am unsure if there is really a good place to break it in two and also I had always thought of it as one book. Seems a bit funny to be sad it’s going to have to be two and not one, but that’s how my heart feels, damned if I can explain why.

Still I had hoped that maybe, juuust maybe, with some slash and burn of useless words/paragraphs along with a little luck I might be able to squeak a reduced version past a publisher.

Ha.

Hahaha. In my wildest dreams…

Now I realize that not only will it need to be two books but I’ll still need to hack out major chunks to make even those two a reasonable word length. The poor exposition is going to be butchered, but it’s dying for a good cause. I think.

This of course means I get the joy of setting aside my anxiety of going about researching publishers for a while longer though. So here I find myself now staring at the empty folder “Edit 2”. Brace yourself. It is going to be one hell of a bumpy ride.

Looking Back

So I ended up almost entirely rewriting the scenes that I had written years ago. It was time consuming, but worth it. I kept the frame of the scene intact, most of the events still happen, but I redid the phrasing completely.

Sometimes I get really down on myself because I feel my writing is still very amateur. Honestly it is compared to the authors I look up to, but whenever it weighs too heavily on me I go back and read my old work from even as early as two years ago and I laugh. Between now and then it feels like worlds apart. Every line I tore out of that rewritten scene and replaced felt amazing.

I can only imagine in another two years when I go back and reread my novel I’ll groan and ask myself what I was thinking when I was doing the initial rewrite.

Most of my early writing experiences were fanfiction. I still write some from time to time, mostly for my own enjoyment. When I was younger however, I shared it on websites. Periodically I’ll find the old files on my computer and open them up to read them. I always wonder what in the heck I was thinking. Not only are the plots usually ridiculous or the characters not actually in character, but the quality of the writing is horrific.

Sometimes I still get emails indicating that someone liked or followed those old stories or my old profile and I laugh. Some of those stories are over eleven years old and I wonder how in the heck anyone can enjoy those things. Still, I let the stories remain instead of deleting them like I’ve contemplated dozens of time. Oddly, they still bring people joy for reasons I cannot figure out and I have to admit my guilty pleasure of going back to find stories I read when I was 14 that are poorly written, but that I still somehow love. I would be sad if those authors removed their old works, so I won’t do that to those who bizarrely still like mine.

All Emergency Crews We Have a Motivation Derailment. I Repeat, We Have a Motivation Derailment

Lately I’ve been finding myself distracted. For a time I was doing great. I was tearing away at a fan story I was writing all while editing my original novel. Slowly, the writing tapered off, but the editing picked up, so I was pleased. Theeeeen derail. I went from doing 4 to 6 chapters a day down to zip. I blame it on procrastination.

There is a pesky scene that is probably the oldest in my novel. It is out dated and no longer really fits, but it has some important information and revelations in it. That and it sets up scenes that come later so it’s not a matter of simply tossing it out. That sucker has to get edited… But I reeaaaaallly don’t want to deal with it. Feel like it is this gigantic boulder sitting in the road and the only thing I have to get rid of it is this tiny little chisel and hammer.

I suppose that’s just part of being a writer, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it gosh darn it all. Naturally this meant that instead of just facing it and getting it over with I suddenly ran headlong for another original story I wanted to write. Meanwhile that scene from my novel is sitting in the back of my mind yowling like my cat does at 2am when she has to announce to the apartment that she still remembers how to use the litter box and that we all damn well better be proud of her.

Part of the problem I think is the fact that I struggle to write while at home. At work it is easy. It’s a mini escape to jot down two or three sentences while I wait for the system to save or a chapter while at lunch. At home there are a multitude of distractions. It is hard to write sometimes when I have a game I am longing to play staring at me from my task bar or when I have a cat trying to wedge himself between my arm and my side.

One of these days I need to hide my Ethernet cord so I can’t get on steam or an MMO after I lock all three of my cats out of my room.

Ha. Good luck with that…