Writing Fight / Action Scenes. With Examples.

Saw other blogs about writing fight scenes. I didn’t like most of the few I read. Plus I figured I had helpful information to add; examples being one of those things. I decided to attempt my own post on the subject.

I visualize the fight in my head like a movie. Every arm and leg movement to hair swishing about. I write down much less than I imagine. Well at least on edit. For the larger scenes, I do a map like a D&D RPG map or a football play to keep track of multiple peoples locations.

Having reactions to actions taken is important. Writing the visuals to having been shot or punched rather than simply writing “punched in the face” then continuing on to the next action.

I fear some of my fight scenes may be a bit too long for some people with all the action/reaction. Hopefully, I’ve got the pace down with short sentences.

I also find smaller paragraphs easier to follow what’s going on. The whole scene as one paragraph is usually too much.

I try to get emotion into each fight. Action: getting angry and lashing out. Reaction: crying from getting hit. Dialogue: making threats, begging, or whatever else I can think of at the time for the characters and the situation.

And of course, experience does help. Even if it is something simple like you fell and scraped your knee. Think back about how that felt, how sudden it occurred, how stiff and sore it felt to bend your leg after.

Example of a small fight scene where young men bullied a child. Web of Chaos Chapter 3

Stepping forward, the young man lifted his chin, frowning and glaring to intimidate Wendy. A mistake on his part as she did not hesitate to uppercut his angry face. With a crack, she felt pain shutter through the thin bones in her hand. The young man fell over dazed.

The boy took the opportunity and ran away from the bullies.

Fighting back her tears, Wendy walked off. The other young men did not stop her. While walking away, she tried to open her fist. The attempt hurt too much, so she left her hand curled up.

Example of a small Sci-Fi fight scene. Web of Chaos Chapter 1

Close enough for his system to ID the men, the Aivot listed their personal information in Gill’s eyes. Seeing both had lengthy criminal histories, Gill aimed his gun. His Aivot calculated where it pointed, showing him a circle and cross-hairs on his display. He fired. A red bolt of energy burned right through one man’s head at the ear. The man fell face first with a thump.

Startled, not believing what had just happened, the other man froze.

Running at him, Keren rammed him hard in the shoulder with her horns.

Yelling once from the sudden pain, he sprawled about on the ground. The guy tried to get up, desperate to make a run for it.

Gill was right next to him in a second, aiming the Falchion gun in his face. “Don’t move, and talk fast. Who recruited you?”

“____ you man, we’ll kill you.” The guy sat up. Fear and anger wrestled for control of his face.

Example of a Sci-Fi fight scene I modified from a WIP I have not released.

The spaceship’s access ramp came down. MC flipped onto it. A white and silver exo-armor slammed into him. They bounced off the walls, ceiling, and floor down the spaceship’s corridor.

MC threw the exo-armor into the ceiling. He backflipped out of the way as it fell. The exo-armor fired a few random blasts. None hit him.

As the exo-armor stood, MC kicked it in the head. The helmet cracked and the exo-armor stumbled back a step.

MC charged. The exo-armor grabbed him with one arm. With a jerk, it sent him flipping down the corridor. Landing on his feet, his claws scratched the floor as he slid back.

The exo-armor fired at MC. He absorbed the blasts and dashed at the exo-armor again. When it reached for him, he stopped the arm with one of his four hands while grabbing the other limbs. A shield came up around the exo-armor but fizzled out on contact with MC. He smashed the face of the helmet with two of his remaining hands.

With fragments of the exo-armor helmet in her face, the woman yelled. “I surrender.” The exo-armor’s systems shut down. The shield faded away.

Soren dragged her down the corridor a short distance and chucked the exo-armor out the access ramp. It fell with a loud thump onto the sand a hundred feet down.

Link: This Youtube video “8 Tips to Writing Better Fight Scenes” by Vivien Reis is worth watching.

Link: This Writers Digest post “Blow-By-Blow: Writing Action and Fight Scenes — 5 Tips” by Chuck Sambuchino, Fonda Lee is worth a read.

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