I love a dramatic, action-packed scene. As a reader, there’s that build-up that comes in the pages beforehand. My adrenaline rushes and I’m yearning to see the fight between the characters unfold. I relish it, soaking it in until I’m fully involved.
So, how do we as writers create these action scenes?
We don’t rush it. As I’ve already alluded to, truly dramatic scenes take pages to build-up to. No jumping in there. You have to ramp the tension up and make your reader’s fingertips burn to turn that next page to see what happens. But once you’re there, and you’re ready to deliver the action scene, here’s a list of things to take particular note of.
Remember the five senses. Sight, smell, taste, feel, and speak. Make sure you show and don’t tell.
- With a fight scene, what’s the space like? Open or closed? Are there weapons close by that can used to battle it out with? A lot of regular items can be used as tools to harm. A broken chair leg, a smashed bottle, curtaining. Anything you can imagine can be pulled into a fight scene.
- Don’t forget the blows. Watch the reactions for both characters and describe them. Did they fall? Stumble? Grunt? Snarl? Lip bleed?
- Are there other people there? Are they trying to stop the fight? Or do they join in? Are the other bystanders screaming for them to stop? Or egging them on?
- Ensure your hero can’t do it all. What I mean is, give him faults and make him sweat.
- Know how the fight scene ends. Does the villain get away in order to plot his next attack? Or is he captured?
I hope you enjoy this small taste of a fight scene below. I find it’s important to add a showing to my posts, so I’m throwing this together for you. It will give you a taste of the five senses I’ve referred to above. To set the scene, two warriors are battling it out in an arena, one a champion who is seeing if the younger warrior has what it takes to join the ranks of his best. They have been fighting for some time and the younger warrior is tiring.
He pushed back the sweaty strands of his hair plastered to his forehead, blinking to focus. Around him the crowd roared, the two-tiered arena packed to capacity, the people wearing a sea of colors that blurred one into the other. Sword. Shield. Don’t falter. It was the mantra every warrior recited.
A snarl of sound coming close on his right, meant he was too slow. His opponent plowed into him, the metal edge of his shield slamming into his side.
“Ugh.” Planting one foot back, he skidded on the soft grains underfoot. Not enough friction. His knee twisted and he crashed to the ground, landing with a jarring thud on his back that rattled his teeth. The metallic taste of blood exploded in his mouth.
One massive man, his red tunic slick against his skin loomed over him. His opponent lifted his sword-arm and held still, the midday sun glinting off the blade. “Yield. Now.” The demand was a blistering one, issued with all the authority of the champion he fought against.
“Never. Not while there is still breath in my body.” He rolled to his side, the champion’s weapon cutting through the air and slicing into the ground where he’d just laid. Hell, that was too close for any man’s comfort.
I hope you enjoyed this “writing realistic, fight scenes” blog post, and that it aided you in some way. If you haven’t joined me for your weekly dose of bite-sized writing tidbits and you’d like to, then simply check out the right-hand side panel, and enter your email address to “follow the blog.” If you want, also click “like” on my FB author page to the right. I love all the support.
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