February 5th, 2016

7 Fight Styles Every Author Should Know

Tiffany Lawson Inman
(aka Naked Editor)

Hello writers!  I’m glad to be here once again tossing around writing craft knowledge on the pages of Writers In The Storm. If you have read my guest posts on WITS before, you know I love talking about Crossing Emotional Barriers and Crossing Physical Barriers in Fiction.  I think it is pretty obvious from the title of this blog, which of these I am going to talk about today.

  1. Dirty Western Brawl
  2. Set. Duel.
  3. Hide and Seek
  4. Historically Accurate
  5. Cat Fight
  6. Fight and Flight
  7. Powers and Gadgets

Here is an introduction of what those styles are and a few tasty tips on how to approach them.

#1. Dirty Western Brawl

Tiffany Lawson InmanI’m sure you can taste the grit in your mouth just by reading those words, am I right? Well I am not only talking about the Old West brawl punching, tossing over the bar, and crashing chairs over greasy haired men.

A Dirty Western Brawl can actually happen anywhere; a school cafeteria, in the stands of the Superbowl, on a train, in a movie theatre, at a drunken wedding reception.

These brawls are usually chaotic and dangerous.  Why?

  • The characters are usually drunk or,
  • The characters are showing-off and or,
  • The characters have been pushed to their limits and emotionally cracking to the point of erratic behavior.
  • There are usually more than two people in these fights.
  • They happen where there are dangerous objects or,
  • The characters are in an unstable environment (like a moving train) or,
  • The characters themselves are unstable.

Hmmmm…there are many scenes in Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes movies that depict the epitome of a Dirty Western Brawl.  If you haven’t yet, rent them!

Brawls seem to just spark and explode into a scene, but remember you always need to show the reader what is the motivating event, emotion, or character is for the fight.  Can’t have a fight without motivation!

#2. Ready. Set. Duel.

A scheduled fight or a training session. Something an audience could be invited to watch.  The fighters are prepared; their bodies are trained to fight, their footwork is practiced, and they have given consent to be a part of this fight.  This puts the reader in the head of a totally different kind of event.  The character’s mental game is not that of life-or-death (unless that is part of the plot) but of strategy.

Your challenge as the writer is to keep it interesting. If the stakes aren’t survival for this fight, then what are they? I’m sure you can think of plenty of high stake motivations for a scheduled fight. I think the heavier challenge is the finding that train-of-thought, motivation, and inner conflict for the practice rounds.

Caution: You CANNOT let the scheduled fight be only about the actual moves. You will be wasting a huge opportunity to deepen character development and if you are really good, an opportunity to move the plot forward.

#3. Hide and Seek

Hiding from a killer/creature or seeking out safety. Your character fighting against himself and or his environment.  That is right. This is the Disaster Movie of fight styles. Your character is trying to stay alive and is battling outside influences as well as mental and physical pressures. Examples: The Martian and parts of Silence of the Lambs. As a writer you get to put your character through the most horrifying of situations to battle ALONE  (or they feel like they are alone) and it is up to you to make the reader experience all of it.

This means:

  • Super deep POV
  • Vivid active setting
  • Vivid visceral and physical reactions
  • Obstacle after obstacle after obstacle
  • Mixture of chaotic inner dialogue not only about what is going on, but also self-affirming and self-doubt as events unfold.

#4. Historically Accurate

Tiffany Lawson InmanThis style is one of the hardest. You have to know your stuff. Like really REALLY know your stuff! Because there are readers that know the difference between wielding a broad sword vs a small sword. (I happen to be one of them.)

If your characters are using Karate moves and you slip in some Jujitzu lingo…oh dear.  If your character is in a Western and drops his gun and picks up two katanas and starts on his enemy like Michonne slicing up Zombies in The Walking Dead, well we are gonna need an explanation for that kind of craziness.

Being historically accurate goes beyond what weapons or fighting styles were used and when. 

You need to know:

  • When these weapons were used
  • Where this style of fighting was used. In arenas, back alleys, the parlor, bars, as initiation.
  • Who used these weapons, or who was trained in that fighting style. Nobility, peasants, knights, officers of the law, etc.
  • How they were used. Who they were typically used against.
  • What type of pain or injury was inflicted by these weapons and kicks and punches.

#5. Cat Fight

Cat fight

Do not assume this equals only hair pulling and scratching.  A cat fight between women (or men) gives you the chance to surprise your reader by pulling something uniquely gross, funny, or stunning out of your bag o’ tricks.

  • Are there any interesting objects your characters can throw or jab at the other character from within their fighting environment? Car keys, lamp, book, cup of coffee, jelly beans, pot of mac n’cheese, sushi, bottle of breast milk…see where I am going with this? Not your typical throwing/jabbing
  • What kind of new or old function could your character’s clothing have in a fight?
  • Who can be the surprise witness or accomplice to throw the scene into even more chaos? Best friend, lover, neighbor, boss, a horse?
  • Can this fight move to another location in an interesting way? Falling into…Chasing into…Pushing over the…
  • Are there props to play with? Don’t go for the obvious option for prop-play, but if you do then put a twist on it. Push your brain outside of the stereotypical box and get creative.
  • Especially with the Cat Fight, you have to make the decision if this is going to be comical or serious. The actions you use in the fight will give the reader an image (well if you are writing it right, they will) and this image will set the tone for everything else that follows.  If your character is wearing a clown costume and every time her nose gets hit it squeaks, the reader is probably going to have a more humorous vision of how all of the other actions play out.

#6. Fight and flight

I’m talking about CHASE SCENES!  Whether we are watching the chaser or the chasee these scenes have to keep the reader on the edge of the page and turning for more.

  • Do not give them too much detail on what your characters are running, swimming, flying past unless that detail is a part of the action or outcome.
  • Make sure you play with the speed of the chase. No, not the pace, the pace of the writing should be on overdrive. I’m talking about the SPEED of the action your characters are going through. Look at a few spots where you can slow the speed of the actions and focus on the insanity going on inside your characters.  Your characters are also depicting real people  (unless  they have powers or gadgets) and real people need to pause or break so that they can breathe, so they can think about their next move, so they can make sure they still have ammunition.

#7. Powers and Gadgets

fighting with powersThese are fights usually found in Scifi, fantasy, paranormal, supernatural thriller, etc.

  • In terms of powers, the characters have either a capability to change in to something that is even more powerful than they already are, or they can do something extraordinary with their body or mind that will give them a weapon-like advantage in a fight.
  • In terms of gadgets, the characters have dangerous or handy toys to inflict damage or to help take themselves out of harm’s way.

Why do I consider Powers and Gadgets a fighting style? Because you have suspend the reader’s disbelief that these powers and gadgets are real and being used in a real fight with real stakes on the line. You have to wield these Powers and Gadgets as if they are a weapon.  You don’t want to bombard the reader with world building in a crucially high action moment.  Tread carefully over those fantastical waters.

—————————————————-

Phew! Okay, that was a quick introduction to the seven styles of fictional fights.  Just the tip of the iceberg!  I wish I had time to dive deeper and show you a few examples of each style as well as a slice n’ diced analysis of every punch or stab.

Hmmm…how about I will give YOU A SHOT AT WRITING ONE OF THESE SCENES. Post it in the comments and I will pick ONE LUCKY WINNER out of the bunch to analyze and edit.

As a super big thank you to WITS for hosting me today here is a 2nd WAY TO WIN SOMETHING: If you don’t have a scene to share, tell me about a great fight scene from a great book and what style it is. Or just say hi.  

I will put EVERY COMMENTER’S name into random.org to spit out a winner to win one of my online courses I teach at Lawson Writers Academy.

For more motivation, here are my upcoming classes:

February: Triple Threat Behind Scene Writing  Registration is still open.

March: I will be teaching the course that has had writers begging me via email for over a year to sell them lecture packets or teach them individually: Action and Fighting in Fiction: Writing Authentic Choreography With Precision and Bite. Registration is open.

April: MADNESS to Method: Using acting techniques to invigorate your story and make each moment Oscar worthy! Registration open soon.

 

*  *  *  *  *  *

About Tiffany

Tiffany Lawson InmanTiffany Lawson Inman claimed a higher education at Columbia College Chicago. There, she learned to use body and mind together for action scenes, character emotion, and dramatic story development. Tiffany’s background in theatre provides her with a unique approach to the craft of writing, and her clients and students greatly benefit.As a freelance editor, she provides deep story critique, content editing, and line editing.

Stay tuned to Twitter @NakedEditor for Tiffany’s upcoming guest blogs, classes, contests, and lecture packets.She teaches Action and Fighting, Madness to Method: high intensity emotion, Triple Threat Scene Writing, Writing Humor For Every Genre, and Short Story Workshops for Lawson Writer’s Academy online. She presents hands-on-action workshops, and will be offering webinars this year.

 

Photo credits: Fabulous fight photos provided by Jeff Award nominee, writer and actor, Christopher Walsh at christophermwalsh.com. 

78 comments to 7 Fight Styles Every Author Should Know

  • You helped me SO much with a pivotal scene in Her Road Home, Tiffany (remember the creepy guy on the stairs?)

    You don’t have to have a physical fight for these to make your story better!

    • Laura, I DO remember the creepy guy on the stairs. So so fabulously creepy and even though I wanted her to get away faster, I knew there was drama to be made by showing the little actions as well as the big ones! Yeay! Thanks for the compliment, but really you just needed a hand to punch you in the right direction…I mean a hand to hold. LOL.

  • Enjoyed your comments about the fight scenes. They made me think about some in my latest book published and in the one I am editing to get out there in the open next month.

  • This is very helpful. I write historical fiction, mostly set in the late 19th century. I can not seem to find occasion to write any fight scenes that do not involve two mustachioed men boxing according to Marquess of Queensbury rules. Thanks for stoking the imagination.

    • Oh John there is SOOO much more to stock the imagination with. This is just a tip of the ol’ iceberg. And gosh, what is wrong with a few mustached men putting up their dukes? There are still inventive scenes to write around that theme I am sure!

  • Well, OlderWriter, thanks for reading today, and good luck with the edit. If you are having trouble with those action and fight scenes, pop on into my Action and Fighting in fiction workshop in March. I will be getting navel deep in those action scenes and editing like crazy!

  • This is perfect timing! I have a character that needs a good butt-kicking 😉

  • Here’s a portion of a “hide and seek” or “surviving a storm” scene from my WIP:

    The ferocious storm throws her back against the cabin door, but she grits her teeth, grips the railing and pulls herself up to the bridge, one step at a time, slipping on the watery stairs, half-blinded by the stinging rain.
    “Guido, why did we change course?” she hollers.
    But no-one is on the bridge, even though the throttle is wide open. The boat races helter-skelter through the sea, the wheel spinning back and forth.
    “Guido!” She screams. “Guido! Where are you!” The rain lashes her face; the wind tears her clothing.
    “Papa,” she yells towards the cabin, “Guido is missing!”
    She grabs the wheel, and puts all her strength into turning it back on course. The rain plasters her hair to her face. She sweeps it behind her ears, grunting with the effort of hauling the recalcitrant wheel. She eases off the throttle to quarter speed. A huge wave washes over her and she nearly loses her grip. That’s what happened to Guido, she thinks, clutching the wheel, teeth clenched. Where is Papa?
    The heading should be one hundred ten degrees. Now they are at forty degrees. She braces one foot against the side of the bridge and cranks the wheel inch by painful inch. Sixty degrees. Back to sixty. Now seventy. She cannot believe she is sweating in the frigid storm.
    “Renata, what on earth?” Papa materializes behind her.
    “Guido must have been washed overboard. It nearly happened to me too, so we’re on our own now.” Her voice wobbles. “We need to find him, but I don’t know how!”
    Papa, hanging onto a railing, stares at her. “Dear God, we are lost.” He stares into the darkness and shakes his head. “I cannot imagine we will find him in this storm. Can we turn around?”
    “I’ve slowed the boat down, but I don’t know how to look for him, or if we found him, how to rescue him. But we must try.”

    • Ann Griffin I am giving you a STANDING OVATION for being the brave writing spirit that broke the seal (so-to-speak.) Thank you thank you. Oh and a few minutes ago I decided to put all of the brave scene post names in the “hat” twice for the drawing. 🙂 Hmmm could you give me a little background on your scene? What genre? Mini character bio, a small lead in to what is going on here. Thanks! Just in case you win the edit, I’d like to be a little more informed of what I am editing to help you all the more.

      • Thanks, Tiffany. Background: This is historical fiction, scene is in 1938, in which MC Renata, an 18 yr old Jewish artist, and her family, have just escaped from Germany on their way to Palestine. This scene takes place on the Adriatic Sea, in which Guido, owner of the boat, agreed to take them from Trieste, Italy, to Rijeka, in what was then Yugoslavia. They encounter a terrible storm, and the scene starts half way through the storm, when, unknown to them, Guido has been washed overboard. Renata is a bit of a spitfire, having pushed her parents to leave Germany, and she is determined to get them all to safety. There is a whole chapter that takes place on the boat. Let me know if you need anything else. If you want a bio on me, check my website, which is anngriffinwriter dot com.

  • Here is a fighting scene out of my fantasy novel. This is the first round of a scheduled fight:

    Mywar attacked as soon as the signal announcing the start of the first round rang out. A huge energy surge rushed at Sariel. A few days ago this would have lifted her off her feet and sent her crashing down, but now she was better prepared. Instantly dropping to the floor she avoided the hit.
    Damn, he didn’t waste a second. Before she could even end that thought she had to dodge another attack. Mywar jumped high into the air, covering the distance between them, and landed exactly where her head had been only nanoseconds before.
    The blow would have killed her, if he hadn’t taught her to increase her speed. Before he could lunge at her again, she rolled over, jumped to her feet and aimed a vicious kick at his kneecaps. But she was too slow. Mywar had already switched places, standing behind her. A kick crashed into her hips, robbing her breath for a few painful seconds.
    Despite the fact that her lungs were screaming for air she whirled around, somersaulting through the air, desperately trying to get away from him. Putting some distance between them to gain a few seconds to breathe.
    It wasn’t even a second she had, but it was enough to draw one lungful of air and to notice the ice shards lining the oval. Their sharp points gleamed in the light.

    I have to…
    attack him…
    Have to drive him…
    into a corner.

    While escaping a kick that would have broken her leg, the idea began to form in her mind. She would use the upcoming break to plan her counter attack. But she would have to be careful; the demon could read her thoughts while they were taking the short rest.
    Meanwhile Mywar was playing with her, driving her through the oval, not giving her enough time to do anything but react to his actions. Busily trying to stay alive, Sariel wasn’t able to think coherently. Everything started to blur, until she lost sight of the spectators, the ice shards, and the white demarcation lines of the oval. Her body didn’t seem to belong to her anymore, whirling and jumping on its own accord.
    She was running out of stamina fast, desperately hoping for that signal to sound before it was too late. And then the worst happened: a heavy stroke to her head sent her sprawling. Dark dots began to dance in front of her eyes and she could hear the murmur of the demons watching the fight, get louder and louder.
    Any second now Mywar would deliver the final blow.

    With a loud boom the signal rang out, saving her skin. With a relieved sigh, Sariel closed her eyes. That was close. If it hadn’t been for the break she would be dead by now.
    “Come on, I’ll help you up.” Tamiro appeared by her side, took her hand, and pulled her to her feet. She tried to say “thank you,” but the words were stuck in her throat. Leaning heavily on her friend she let him lead her to the corner where a chair was waiting for her.
    “Straighten up,” he advised her. “Don’t let Mywar see how you feel. Don’t show any weakness.”
    “Yeah, right. As if he doesn’t know how I feel,“ she mumbled. “He is toying with me,” she said with a rasping voice. Tamiro handed her a bottle of water and she began drinking in large gulps. “So, what do you think, which weaknesses does Mywar have?” she asked him when her thirst was quenched.
    “None, as far as I can see.” Tamiro lifted his shoulders. “But we knew that before the fight started. And you should guard your thoughts; you know he can read them, so be careful what you say or think.”
    “I’m careful,” murmured Sariel, slumping back in her chair. “Why do you think I’m talking to you, when I barely have enough strength to form the words?” She looked over to the other side of the room, where Mywar was supposed to rest. He was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest, looking bored.
    Of course, he doesn’t have to sit down. Why should he? That was just a warm-up for him. As if sensing her thoughts, Mywar looked up and grinned.
    “Don’t let him read your mind,” Tamiro hissed through clenched teeth.
    “Why? There isn’t much I’m thinking, and he knows that he is better than I am, anyway. Everyone knows,” Sariel responded, while at the same time trying not to think about the strategy that had been forming in her head earlier. Of course now, she began seeing the ice shards in her mind’s eye. Damn, I cannot let him read this. “I have to stay away from these spiky ice shards,” she began babbling. “They could kill me.”
    “Of course.” Tamiro looked at her as if she had lost her mind. He should know why I’m acting so stupid. Can’t he see what I’m trying to do? Apparently he couldn’t because he continued looking at her with this concerned and hopeless expression. Another look at Mywar clearly revealed that he was amused. I bet he saw through my ruse, whereas Tamiro is clueless.
    “That’s unfair,” she spit at Tamiro. “I can’t read his thoughts!”
    Not bothering to comment on the sudden change of topic, Tamiro just shrugged his shoulders. “You knew that from the start.”
    “That doesn’t make it better, or more fair.”
    Tamiro grinned and put his finger on his lips. Maybe he had finally grasped what she was doing.

    • Nice, Thank you Birgit for keeping the action coming in!

      Okay, could you give me a little background on your scene? What genre? Mini character bio, a small lead in to what is going on here. Thanks! Just in case you win the edit, I’d like to be a little more informed of what I am editing to help you all the more.

      And thank you for posting a challenge for me (if you win that is) because scheduled fights are tricky! ** I also need to know the history and relationship between the two fighters. Have Sariel and Mywar ever fought before?

      Look forward to seeing more.

      • Hi Tiffany,
        Sariel is a half demon, but she grew up thinking she was just a normal human being. Only after her parents died did Sariel find out that her mother was a fire demon and Sariel herself therefore a half demon. She did meet Mywar before. In fact he trained her, that was before they were informed that they would be opponents in a fight of life or death against each other.
        Mywar is clearly the better warrior and, being a fire demon, he can’t really die. Only Sariel will die if she loses.
        I hope that helps 🙂

        • OH that poor character!

          Does she think of him like a mentor, enemy, brother, lover, father, etc?

          And does she know that he can’t die? Phew…that would put a damper on my fighting mojo if I was in her shoes.

          • Sariel thinks of Mywar more of an enemy. The first time they met, he attacked her, then he was asigned as her mentor and then later to fight her. He is the best demon warrior and she knows that he can’t die. So, yes, it’s a not easy for her.

  • Thanks, Tiffany! Your ‘Hide and Seek’ comments re: a character and her environment hit the mark for my current WIP — characters in a forest fire. Plenty to work on! 🙂

  • I’d write a fight scene, but I’m drawing a blank despite all the information you provided haha… great article! I saved it 🙂

    • MadilynQuinn well I am happy you found it useful enough for a save.

      That is a WIN in my book. 🙂

      I’m sure the motivation for a fight/action scene is there, it just hasn’t presented itself yet.

      Do you have a WIP with action in it? Still want your name in the hat for free workshop?

  • Very informative. Combat can be difficult to write. Especially if there are more than two or three participants.

    This is part of a fight scene from my novel, which is in the edit phase now.

    The two Unseelie fell to the floor, even as my last pistol clicked empty, leaving me standing within ten feet of the daoine. One armed with a sword, while mine was lying abandoned on the floor behind me. One of the boggarts must have slashed through the baldric in their attempts to kill me.

    The Unseelie Lord in front of me raised his blade, and brought it down in an overhand strike, meant to cleave me in twain. This was a manoeuvre known as ‘coffin bait’, and if I’d had a blade of my own, I would have plunged it into him while he was unprotected. Instead, I raised my revolvers defensively, crossing the barrels to catch the descending blade with a clang of metal on metal. In an ungentlemanly move, I brought my booted foot up between the fork of his legs, using my shin, rather than the toe of the boot, to insure a proper blow. The Unseelie groaned in pain, staggering back as he held himself.

    I dropped my empty pistols, tucked my hands beneath the tail of my greatcoat, and slid my khukuri knives free of their scabbards. I would have taken my enemy then, and niceties be damned, but he recovered himself enough to limp into a guard position. I settled into a defensive stance of my own, waiting. My blades were shorter than his, but I had two of them. His speed would be greater than my own, but it took more effort to use the longer blade. It would all come down to how great his skill was, compared to my own.

    • Avery,

      Thank you thank you! I’ve been waiting for a sword fight 😉

      Okay, just in case you win the drawing for the edit – I’d like to be a little more informed of what I am editing to help you all the more. Could you give me a little background on your scene? What genre? Mini character bio, a small lead in to what is going on here. It would be fantastic to know the history and relationship between the two fighters and the motivation behind the fight.

      Niceities be damned, indeed!

      • This book is a steampunk fantasy, where the Unseelie Fae are trying to put a halt to the industrial revolution in England. Opposing them is an ex-soldier who has been fighting against them for several years.

        In this scene, he and two other men are trying to rescue a young woman, and put a halt to a ritual where she is to be sacrificed. This scene is the tail end of a greater melee where the three of them fought against a larger force of Unseelie.

        For his part, the Unseelie Lord is under orders to stop the hero and his allies.

  • Hi Tiffany, the info about the cat fight was so interesting. The objects to throw, a witness coming in. Too fun. Thanks for a great post.

    • S. Purvis And there is so much more involved I just didn’t have the space to provide it (already pushing 1700 words…EEK!

      Aww so sad. I saw your name and got excited…then I scrolled a bit more and saw there wasn’t a scene posted underneath your name 🙁 You have a spat or two in your novel don’t you? I’d kind of like to see your hunky sheriff whoopin some butt. Am I right?!

      Thanks for popping over here today. Your name is in the “hat.” 🙂

  • I have a scene between two main characters that start off combative in their interactions (not physically) and I want them to really jostle each other emotionally. I have some physical proximity in this scene and I want to amp up the physical tension here without a full-on cat fight. They do end up being friends eventually.

    * * * *

    Twenty minutes later Thea stood in Katy’s bedroom, hands on her generous hips, looking over the array of clothing spread across the bed. “Most of this stuff is going to have to go.”

    Ignoring Agatha’s cry of dismay she said, “I’m going to separate this into ‘Go’ and ‘Keep’ piles – you can have one item from the ‘Go’ pile if you really need it – and I’m going to need you try all the ‘Keeps’ on so I know what we’re dealing with.”

    Agatha nodded and tried to keep the fear off her face. The burning intensity in Thea’s eyes made Agatha’s stomach hurt. She watched the sorting process with awe. Thea never paused and never faltered, throwing items into one pile or the other. The “Go” pile was far larger than the “Keep.”

    Thea turned to her and said, “Strip.”

    “Here? I-I thought I’d use the master bath as a dressing room and just come out and model.”

    Thea gave a dismissive snort. “You don’t have anything I don’t see parading through my office fifty times a day. Now strip. I need to see how everything fits, not just the ones you decide look good.”

    Feeling like she was about to face a firing squad, Agatha began undressing. Slowly.

    “We haven’t got all day, Sister.” Thea placed the smaller pile of clothing on the chair by the bed. “There’s your ‘Keep’ pile. How are you for bras and panties?”

    Agatha’s chest flamed. “F-fine.”

    “How many do you have of each?”

    “Do you really need to know that?” Thea simply shriveled her with a look. “Okay. Um, I packed really quick so I’ve got to think a minute. One bra and five pairs of underpants.”

    As Agatha unbuttoned the skirt and let it drop and slid off the tights, Thea sucked in a breath. “Are all five pairs in the same shape as those?”

    Agatha looked down at her underwear, perplexed, before eyeing Thea, who’d conjured a little notepad from somewhere. She was writing furiously when Agatha asked, “What’s wrong with these?”

    Thea glanced up and made a sound of disgust before she started writing again. “Besides looking like something my eighty year old granny would wear? Your elastic is getting worn and that material is thin as paper. While that’s not a bad thing with lace or silk, it’s a disaster when it’s nylon.”

    Agatha wondered how she could know they were nylon from ten feet away without looking at the tag. Grabbing a long sleeved t-shirt made of thick cotton from the top of the pile, she pulled it on. The jeans that came next were just a few shades of blue darker than the top, which matched her eyes.

    Thea said nothing, twirling her finger to indicate that she wanted to see the view from the back. She had that manic focus back in her eyes and she flipped to another page in her little steno pad. Agatha closed her eyes and pivoted. She liked this shirt.

    “Okay, turn back around,” Thea said. “The top is fine and will go with lots of outfits but the jeans need to go.”

    “What’s the matter with these jeans?” Agatha couldn’t see the problem. They were comfortable and had plenty of wear left.

    “They give you a weeter-peter.”

    “A what?”

    Thea moved closer. “A weeter-peter.” She pressed on a small bump the bottom of the zipper made over Agatha’s pubic bone. When Agatha jumped back, Thea snorted and said, “You just simmer down. I like dick. And even though those pants make you look like you’ve got one, you got the wrong equipment for me. Take ‘em off.”

    “But—”

    “Off! Hurry up.”

    • OH JENNY I am dying over here…DYING! Hahahahahaha! I love it. Just love it.

      Thank you so much for posting this.

      Hmmm a tension fight without contact. I can see where that would fit in, but then some of the tasty humor would be squashed. Is that what you want?

      • Is there a way to have the humor and have a bit more of a back and forth non-gentle pokey/pushy and verbal spat? I think it would amp up the humor if I did it right and I don’t think it would take much work. Thoughts? Does it work?

        • Okay. For some reason my POST COMMENT button keeps vanishing.

          Look for the lines from THea that are verbal slaps and pushes and pokes and make Agatha almost behave as if they are physical. Maybe alter a few lines of dialogue to give them more of a punch.
          WHen she tells her to strip, should be a big one. Make it feel like the scene is leading up to that line….and then it just gets worse for Agatha. Thea should be oblivious.
          Then when Thea actually touches her crotch at the end, maybe Agatha retaliates with a real smack to Thea’s hand in the half a second before she moves back.
          ALSO look at the choreography of where they are standing in the room. When Agatha verbally smacks her, does Thea move? She seems like the type of person to move and try to mentally and physically be avoiding any part of this situation and each assault would slowly inch her toward the door or a piece of furniture. Make sense? Put your characters on stage. Make each move motivated. But you don’t have to make it obvious at first. Aatha shouldn’t even know she is doing it until she is against a chest of drawers.
          Yes? Are you ready to play with it? I hope so. I will be hounding you for a rewrite 🙂

          • I’ve got it. And that’s exactly what I’m looking for. Where I get the tension between the two women. I’m looking for Thea to push-push-push Agatha, until later in the book when Agatha has developed a spine. She has a verbal fight with Thea and calls her a bitch. It’s huge.

          • Thomas Henry Pope

            Great back and forth, Ladies. And fun! Unless Agatha is pretty cool in her sex life, it seems she could belt Thea across the face, practically deck her, which is what many people do reflexively with an unwanted sexual touch.

  • The forty-seven seconds to the bottom of the shaft had never felt so long. What would Rosa find at the bottom? How many rebels? How many traitors? Her breath came quickly, and she tried to still it.

    Major Daniels still wasn’t answering his phone. What would he do? Rosa wondered. One thing was for sure–he wouldn’t stand in the center of the chamber, waiting for the enemy to shoot him. Rosa pressed herself into the front corner of the elevator, wishing now that she’d grabbed Nwosu’s pistol instead of this cumbersome semi-automatic.

    The elevator settled at the bottom of the shaft and slid complacently open. An instant later, it was filled with speeding metal slugs. Rosa bit her lip to keep from crying out as bullets ricocheted dangerously through the chamber.

    Somehow she escaped harm. The hail of bullets ceased and the tip of a gun barrel eased into view. From the height of the barrel, the shooter was a hundred-seventy-seven centimeters tall. Exactly the same height as Lieutenant Meneghelli.

    How could he? Rosa wondered. How could he be on the rebels’ side?

    The elevator doors began to slide shut. The shooter stepped forward to intersect the sensor, and at that moment Rosa dropped her gun, letting it hang from the strap, and grabbed the shooter’s hand. Her other hand gripped the warm barrel and swung it downward, causing the butt of the rifle to smack the shooter in the chin.

    The weapon discharged, but Rosa pulled hard, loosing the shooter’s finger from the trigger. It was Meneghelli; he fought her for the weapon, dragging them both backward out of the elevator.

    Lieutenant Meneghelli had the advantage of size, but Rosa was used to fighting larger opponents by now. As soon as he shook her off, she rolled, braced, and sent a kick into the side of his knee. It bent sideways with a sickening crunch.

    Meneghelli screamed in agony, rifle clattering to the catwalk. Rosa kicked it off the edge and backed away, bringing her own weapon to bear on him.

    “Don’t move!” said a voice from behind her. It was shaky, and decidedly familiar. “I’ll shoot you!”

    “Landry?” Rosa said, trying to look over her shoulder without moving. The skinny clerk was the last person she had ever expected to turn traitor.

    “D-drop your gun,” Landry said, and Rosa caught sight of him in the dull reflection from the elevator door. He had a handgun trained on her. Not a stunner.

    “All right,” Rosa said, trying to sound frightened. It wasn’t very difficult. “I’m putting it on the ground!”

    Meneghelli glared pure hatred at Rosa as she slowly lifted the rifle strap from around her body and lowered the whole thing toward the catwalk. “Just shoot the–”

    At the last moment, Rosa tucked her knees and rolled under the railing, dropping more than three meters to the ground below.

    “Shoot her!” Meneghelli shouted. “Just shoot! Damn it, Landry–gimme that gun!”

    Rosa didn’t wait for Landry to comply. As soon as she recovered from the fall, she ran under the catwalk and fired upward through it. She couldn’t tell whether she had hit anyone, but all movement above her ceased.

    • Enter: Surprise betrayal, the most evil opponent of ALL TIME! LOL.

      This is great stuff! Thank you for posting. Now we have guns in the mix. Yeehaw!

      I know I should have included this into the challenge description, but, just in case you win the drawing for the edit – I’d like to be a little more informed of what I am editing so my edit can be that much more helpful. (I hate cold edits!)

      Could you give me a little background on your scene? What genre? Mini character bio, a small lead in to what is going on here. It would be fantastic to know the history and relationship between the two fighters (the girl and the man that betrayed her) and the motivation behind the big battle.

      Thank you so much for braving the comment thread. Because you posted a scene, your name is going in the hat 2x.

      I look forward to reading more about your story!

      • Background, hmm… So, the fight takes place inside Hangar Five, an underground research facility where Rosa has been helping develop a powerful new weapon. She’s a relative newcomer to the project, and one of the few people who isn’t part of the conspiracy to hand the weapon over to the rebels. Genre is Military Sci-Fi.

        Rosa is the (very reluctant) heir to the hereditary governorship of a large province on Pegasus 4. As if that weren’t enough to set her apart, she sees numbers everywhere she goes – the reason she know exactly how tall Meneghelli is. Her mental abilities got her onto the project, and her position as provincial heir saved it when it was about to get shelved. If not for her efforts, there wouldn’t be anything to steal, so she’s QUITE invested in making sure the rebels don’t get it.

        This fight happens in the middle of the night. Rosa had a hunch that something was wrong, and entered the hangar to find the guards had been shot. She couldn’t reach her SO, but was so afraid of what would happen if the rebels stole the project that she goes down without orders.

        Rosa hasn’t had much interaction with Meneghelli, mostly he’d just scowl at her when letting her into the hangar. Landry she’s worked with on a more personal level, but the real gut-punch is yet to come. This is just the first section of a running fight sequence which lasts 2 or 3 chapters.

  • This is a great post! Fight scenes typically take me longer to write but they’re my favorite when it’s all said and done. I especially love the Ready. Set. Duel section since the novel I just finished had several of these types of scenes. I agree that the writer should use this opportunity to deepen character development and advance the plot and I will certainly reference this post when it is time to write my next fight scene!

    • J. Griswell Thank you thank you! Glad you came over to check things out.

      Now I have to tell you there are many more layers to these scenes that I didn’t have room to share in this post I have over 8 lectures of material (and growing) of deep textured “how-to” behind writing these types of action/fight scenes. So, yes, keep this mind for your next scene, but also know, you might be missing elements.

      In that same line of thought, Is that novel of yours in published form? *nudge nudge wink wink* Even if not pubbed, I am looking for good examples to dissect and analyze and those Ready.Set.Duel. scenes are hard to come by! I’d love to chat further if you are willing 🙂

  • Alex

    Thank you Tiffany for the Facebook push. I do have lots and lots of spats n’ scuffles in my WIPs. Mostly of the Fight and Flight and Hide and Seek variety. I’m thinking I should add a Dirty Western Brawl to Book 2. I’m planning on taking your class next month. It’s been way, way too long since I’ve felt the heat, aka love, from either you or Margie. “You can do better” = love in my teacher heart. Hugs!

    • Alex – yeay! I knew you had a lot going on in your WIPs! And hot diggity YES you should add a DWB into book 2 🙂 I can’t wait to see your beautiful face and play with your scenes next month! Wait to register until after I pull from random.org draw. just in case you get lucky. Okay? Yes, I will bring the heat. You will feel the love of my red pen and stern tone. LOL. Hugs right back a you!

  • Janet Kerr

    This is great information. I would like to know more about Crossing emotional barriers too.
    Jan

    • Janet, if you google: Tiffany Lawson Inman Crossing Emotional Barriers all of those blogs should pop up. I believe there were 3. I also had 2 or 3 Crossing physical Barrier blogs that were fun and informative. 🙂 AND you can learn it all and much much much much much more in my April course, Madness to Method. It is a month long crossing of that emotional barrier in the form of a workshop on going deeper with emotion and working with different ways to get to that emotion and put it on the page using acting techniques. FUN FUN FUN!

      This is what one of my current students shared with me yesterday:

      “Honest to God, this is the best class I’ve taken and I’ve taken other classes from LWA, and other classes in Writers U. In your class I’ve worked harder, pushed myself to do things I resisted or thought I didn’t know how to do, and I thank you! ”

      I work you hard but it is worth it! Maybe I will see you there. 🙂

  • This is a scene from the manuscript I’m submitting at the moment. Jedda is the 17 year old MC in a worn torn country. This comes in the first act between himself and another boy from town.

    Gabriel came at him like a feral cat, spitting, lips rolled back to show his miss-stepped teeth.
    Jedda braced himself for the impact, his muscles cringed and clung to his bones, his breath cowered in his chest. He raised his forearms, his toes curled to grip the ground, and he closed his eyes against his attacker. Gabriel’s weight hit Jedda in the middle of his chest, knocking him to the ground, the back of his head smacking against it with a thwack. The crowd groaned in sympathy. Gabriel was on top of him, knees gripping his chest, fists colliding with his face. Something warm ran over his top lip. He opened his eyes..
    Gabriel’s face was screwed up with anger, flecks of spit bubbled on his lower lip. Jedda reached up with his right hand, grasped at the boy’s greasy hair, and wrenched him sideways. Gabriel toppled to the ground. With a jerk of his leg Jedda was on top, holding Gabriel’s head down with one hand, grinding his knuckles into Gabriel’s eye socket with the other.
    They writhed like snakes, their legs tangled and twisted. Voices crashed around them, Cain’s seemed to be right in Jedda’s ear, his voice made thin and raspy by excitement. A fist caught Jedda in the ear. Nails drew blood on his cheek. He caught Gabriel’s wrists and pinned them to the ground, leaning all his weight on them. Gabriel struggled but couldn’t move. He spat in Jedda’s face. Jedda dipped his head and wiped his face clean on his shoulder.
    “Just stay down Gabriel,” Jedda shifted his weight meaningfully.
    “Screw you.”
    “Maybe you should take him up on that. If he’s anything like his sister, he’d be good in bed,” Graham stopped at their side. The other boys laughed. Some were nodding. “C’mon Gabriel. It’s over. I’d like to see you take us both on.”
    Gabriel’s eyes flicked from Jedda to Graham and back again. He slumped under Jedda’s grip, the anger seeming to drain away. Jedda leaned closer, bring his lips to Gabriel’s ear, “I’m letting you up now. If you have another go I promise I’ll knock your head off.”

    • Littlemiss

      thank you for the scene and thank you for the lead-in for clarity on what was going on.

      So how long have they known each other? And what is a little backstory on the sister’s relationship to the situation?

      Aw man and you even ground an eye-socket!

      Well done.

      Your name is in the “hat” twice for your internet bravery! 🙂

  • This would fall under your Hide And Seek category; the protagonist has woken up (it seems) a couple of hours after the world has turned to badness, with no memory of what happened, and strange and threatening things all around. He’s attempting to make his way out of the building, both because there are bad things inside and distance generally equals safety, and because he’s trying to get to where he can see what’s going on and try to get some idea of what actually happened.

    ……………………

    Somber scooted a little further down the hall, taking his gaze and his light with him. The figure didn’t move. It remained squatted, and two steps later he heard the wet, sticky sounds of it chewing again. I really need to get out of here. He was still shivering, but not as badly as before; movement, even slow and careful movement, was doing him some good.

    He passed two more doorways without hearing any movements or seeing any signs of life. Then, as he reached the next, a man lunged out, arms extended and fingers curled to grab.

    Somber didn’t so much defend himself as flinch away and stab by reflex. The man had attacked without realizing that Somber was armed, and had impaled himself almost without Somber’s help. His skin was pale, with unhealthy gray undertones, and his eyes were utterly mad. Somber twisted further away as the man sagged, and then kicked him off the tip of the sword. Thank you, Brother Sable, he thought, remembering the monk who had trained that particular reflex into him: It’s never just thrust; it must always be thrust-and-kick.

    The madman fell back, staggering into the wall and then collapsing onto the floor. Somber moved away from him, watching the doorway in case anyone else was inside, and looked back just in time to see three more figures emerge from the darkness behind him and fall on the wounded man. The shock of it would have frozen him in place, if he hadn’t been half-dazed already. As it was, the icy wave of fear shivered through the winter numbness in which he moved, cold vanishing into cold.

    I should burn this place down, Somber thought, and he might have tried it if he’d had any way out. He knew the source word for fire more than well enough, if it came to that.

    ………………….

    I eventually decided against going with this approach. I’m not opposed to starting a story in media res, but in this case I decided that I wanted more buildup before the curse falls and everything turns horrible.

    • Thank you Michael.

      Hide and seek scenes are a challenge. But hey, it seems as though whole movies were make out of the concept, right? So it must mean that audiences like to see their characters constantly in peril and fighting their way to the light. 🙂

      Good stuff to work with here.

      The lead in will be helpful if your names gets drawn for the edit. If this is the first time your character has seen the world turned upside down I’m thinking there needs to be a few more visceral reactions and WTF moments. Did he have any clue that the world was on it’s way to going to hell? Has he ever seen one of those creatures before?

      • No, he doesn’t have a clue. This is very much a “white room” opening: Somber wakes up in the dark, with something tugging on his boot, lying on top of a dead body, and with no memory of the last several hours (at least)… and then I started filling things in from there. There’s a whole bit where he’s conjuring light, looking around the room, collecting the sword from the body of a monster, starting down the hall…

        I liked the approach because it immediately sets up the danger and the mystery, and that’s something I want to emphasize. I decided not to go with it because it doesn’t give the reader any real hook to establish an emotional connection with the character (who, among other things, is basically still in shock).

        It came to mind because it’s the most recent fight scene I’ve written, and because I liked the sudden-and-random-ness of it; Somber gets caught by surprise, and he “wins” the fight not because of some inimitable skill as a swordsman, but because he accidentally failed to make a fatal mistake first.

  • Carolyn Toms-Neary

    Thanks Tiffany. This is a what I believe is a hide and seek scene from my paranormal/romance manuscript about a young girl who possesses senses beyond the five and a genius intellect. This is the scene where she learns that the being she once thought was either a childhood imaginary friend or her sentinel is, in fact, evil incarnate.

    The beach party at South Shore Park was in full swing when I caught my boyfriend in a hot make-out session with a girl named Dana. Not really caring, I shrugged my shoulders and slunk off along the dark lakeshore toward home. Guys, the hell with them. I did not need a man to validate my life!
    I climbed the small hill to an area of the park we called “the rocks”, looked up to the night sky and missed my Mom. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the flash of a falling star as well as the stinging slap of a premonition so strong, I immediately understood the cold certainty that my life was about to change, and once again, not for the better.
    I’d left myself without much of an escape route. The dark choppy waters of Lake Michigan churned to my right, on my other side a steep wooded hill loomed.
    My heart boomed like the hammer of the Milwaukee Drop Forge as an eerily familiar intonation carried in off the lake, freezing my heart and croaking at my sanity. I sprinted toward the bluff that separated me from the safety of my neighborhood streets and clambered up through the tangle of trees, tripping over rocks and backsliding in the loose dirt.
    The incline eventually flattened into a grassy clearing, bordered by well-lit sidewalks.
    No sooner had I hit the concrete when I spotted three guys approaching. Without breaking stride, I darted across the street, hoping to avoid more trouble. They also crossed
    I slowed down, groaned, tried to figure out my next move. A boogeyman behind me and three punks in front of me—that night couldn’t have gotten any worse—or so I thought. The three of them stopped, effectively blocking me. When I moved, they shifted. One of them recognized me as Tim’s girlfriend.
    “Come on, guys, please, just leave me alone. I need to get home or my dad’s going to kill me,” I pleaded.
    The biggest one of the three stepped forward, pulled my blouse out of my shorts, copped a feel and sneered, “Tim’s a lucky guy.” One of the others tugged at my belt. A hand clamped over my mouth. As they dragged me fighting and kicking back toward the park, the realization of what they were about to do enraged me.
    They’d found my struggles entertaining until my head mashed the nose of the kid restraining me. A shot to the mouth split my lip and sent me sprawling to my hands and knees. I swiped at my bloodied face, peered back over my shoulder and froze.
    It was Picasso. I’d convinced myself that he’d been a figment of my weird childhood imagination but at that moment, my erstwhile guardian angel’s legitimacy became my truth. His face was a blur but his eyes conveyed humor. At that fractured moment, I realized that the creature standing before me was not only real, but profoundly decayed.
    I’d always feared that the fabric separating my reality from fantasy, or maybe even madness, was threadbare at best—actually suspected that it wasn’t textile at all, but more akin to tissue paper. When his piercing searchlight green eyes crinkled down at me, I felt a distinct ripple shudder on through.
    Picasso gripped the throat of one of the boys, dangling him high above the sidewalk. I watched in helpless horror as the kid’s legs first kicked, then twitched, stiffened and finally went limp. One of the other boys lay in a contorted heap behind them.
    Frozen in place, I gaped at my former caretaker as he extended his free hand to me and thundered, “Vittoria, come with me! You are almost ready. If you continue to spurn me, I will destroy all that you love!”
    I was not a shrinking violet. Nothing much scared me. I moved through my odd life accepting dare after dangerous dare, laughing in the face of peril. But at that moment, I was frightened—terrified and pissed-off at the same time. Still on the ground, I scrabbled backward along the sidewalk, screaming at him. “Get out of my head, you freaking asshole! I’m not going anywhere with you—ever! Am I ready? What the hell does that mean? If you touch anybody I love, I will kill you! That’s a promise, you goddamn bully! I don’t know who you are, but you picked the wrong girl, mister! If I can’t kill you, I’ll find someone who can and will.”
    The intense energy that gathered throughout my body threatened to blow right out of the top of my head—freaking me out more than the macabre vignette playing out before me. Molten heat bubbled up through my veins causing streetlamps to flicker out and then detonate—one after another. In an attempt to repel the torrent of raining glass, I flung my arms up and ran for my life. While looking back over my shoulder, I slammed smack into a rock hard body and found myself staring up into the face of Daniel—the boy who loved me.
    He wrapped his arms around me, frowned, glanced over my head in the direction from which I’d come and said, “Tori? What’s going on? Where’s that asshole boyfriend of yours?” He pinched my chin, lifted my face to his and said, “Your cheek is bleeding and your lip. What the hell?”
    “Daniel, please, take me home.”

    • Thank you Carolyn, this is quite a scene.
      4 or 5 bad guys (not including the douchebag bf.)

      You already have a great start, but I think this scene could be a lot bigger than what you have here. Needs more meat! A few frame by frame action sequences. More emotion and more clarity.

      Who does she ref. as the boogeyman behind her if she hasn’t seen Picasso yet? I might need a little more lead in if you are pulled as the winner.

      I am so glad you stopped by WITS. Keep posted for the winner drawing this evening!

  • HEADS-UP ———— The Free Scene Edit & Workshop Drawing will be @ 8pm MST

    I hope you all check back!

    Not only will I be announcing the names of the winners, but I will also be revealing the edited scene for you all to see. You will ALL learn a few tricks about how to look at and edit your own action scene. Learning ops for every author and every genre.

    But just a slice or two. Not teaching you everything though, you gotta come to class for the whole pie. 🙂

  • Pamela Stewart

    Don’t have any fight scene post ready, but I love reading your tips and tricks. I will be checking back to check for the winner of your class and your critique. Thanks for all you do!

  • I don’t have anything right now to post! Yikes. But I loved reading about these different kinds of fights…and realizing that SHARING HUNTER has a great cat fight (one of my favorite scenes).

    I read several great YA thrillers in 2015 with chases and fights, like Romily Bernard’s FIND ME novel and THE MURDER COMPLEX by Lindsey Cummings. But super-fun was Tera Lynn Childs & Tracy Deebs’s POWERLESS with superhero fighting — all powers and gadgets.

    I’m bookmarking this post. Great info, Tiffany!

  • Almost ready to post. Since it is such a long post, formatting is proving a problem and I keep losing my POST COMMENT button. Give me a few minutes to sort out. Thanks!

  • Welcome back and thank you all for supporting WITS, my guest blog post, and more importantly the betterment of your own writing craft! Kudos to all of the brave writers that posted their work for edits and critique this weekend. Not an easy thing to do.
    If your name wasn’t drawn as the winner, please do your writing craft a favor and stick around. The scene edit is posted below and I KNOW you all will learn something from reading my notes.
    The winners as selected by random.org are:

    Madilyn Quinn you have won an online workshop! March is my Action and Fighting in Fiction course, April is Madness to Method: Making Each Emotional Moment Oscar Worthy course. Later in the year I will be teaching Triple Threat Scene Writing, Writing Humor For Every Genre, and a Short Story Workshop just to name a few. Your choice. Let me know at: lawson dot tiffany at g mail dot com

    Birgit Kluger you have won a scene edit! This will be posted below. As I am not fully aware of all that your manuscript entails, my edit might have a few holes or missteps in it. I do want you to get as much out of this edit as possible, so please answer questions and ask questions after reading and absorbing what I have written. If I see something missing or see a fix but want you to figure out what the best fix is for your characters, then I will ask questions prompting you to make a move. Those questions don’t need to be answered in the form of an answer – I want you to take your answer and turn it into a brilliant moment in the manuscript. If you don’t want to continue in the public forum, please feel free to email me at: lawson dot tiffany at g mail dot com d Although I think it would benefit everyone else to watch the action edit process, I understand what it takes to put your work out here for everyone to see.
    I am posting the fight scene in a separate post because it was just too long. Wait a minute or two and it should show up.

    ENJOY! What a blast this was. I’m hoping the WITS ladies keep me on as a monthly blogger, because if they do, then I get to play with more great writers (and their writing) and I get to give away more classes and free scene edits. Super bonus for everyone involved, right?

  • Scene Edit for the winner of the drawing ——————————————————-
    Here is a fighting scene out of Birgit’s fantasy novel. This is the first round of a scheduled “Ready. Set. Fight. A little background: Sariel is a half demon, but she grew up thinking she was just a normal human being. Only after her parents died did Sariel find out that her mother was a fire demon and Sariel herself therefore a half demon. She did meet Mywar before. In fact he trained her, that was before they were informed that they would be opponents in a fight of life or death against each other. Mywar is clearly the better warrior and, being a fire demon, he can’t really die. Only Sariel will die if she loses. Sariel thinks of Mywar more of an enemy. The first time they met, he attacked her, then he was asigned as her mentor and then later to fight her. He is the best demon warrior and she knows that he can’t die. So, yes, it is not easy for her.
    BEFORE I START – I know there are a lot of notes here. I was coming at it as a first time reader and fight/action expert, two titles that will land ANY manuscript with a lot of edits! And as I tell all of my students and clients: editing notes and feedback are like a big plate of cookies. You can either take one or two and leave the rest, or take them all! This is your manuscript. Just keep in mind, these cookies were baked using ingredients specific to your writing needs.
    THE SCENE:
    Mywar attacked as soon as the signal announcing the start of the first round rang out. *****Show this action in the correct order of cause/effect or a MRU. The signal happens first, then he attacks.
    *****Is there any way we can see how he is attacking? Running at her? Claws? Weapon? How far away? There isn’t an image associated with “Mywar attacked”
    A huge energy surge rushed at Sariel.
    *****Is this energy from him? A painful energy? Unclear if this was energy from within, or energy in an attempt to hurt her. Show us what this feels like viscerally.
    A few days ago this would have lifted her off her feet and sent her crashing down, but now she was better prepared.
    ******After the first move of the fight, I don’t think it is wise to have a thought straight away. If he is attacking a nanosecond after the bell rings, then we need to see her physically react with the same speed.
    Instantly dropping to the floor she avoided the hit.
    ******ADVERB ALERT! Either nix the word instantly and we will see that it is in fact happening instantly by its placement, or show us what instantly looks like.
    Damn, he didn’t waste a second.
    *****Depending on the tone you want to set for the fight, this is either a great place to add voice or adding spunky voice is a tone killer. If you want to show that she is truly afraid for her life and we should be afraid with her, then we need to see and feel her fear NOW, before anything else happens.
    Before she could even end that thought she had to dodge another attack.
    *****Lines like this slow pace and pull the reader out of the action. You want to show the action falling like dominos. One attack, a reaction, a counter attack or another attack from opponent, a reaction. Keep the character and the audience on their toes. Also using the word “before” creates a misread of cause and effect. There are variations on fights laced with commentary from the POV character. Like the Dresden files. But Jim Butcher’s voice is packed with humor hit after humor hit and he is always going outside of the action to comment on it. This style doesn’t pull us into the action as deep as I think you want your readers to be. Especially when this fight is so personal to your character. If it was just a sparring session, and life/death wasn’t on the line, I would say different. Make sense?
    Mywar jumped high into the air, covering the distance between them, and landed exactly where her head had been only nanoseconds before.
    *****Wait, this seems like a little gray POV area her since we didn’t see her move. Felt like we were seeing this from Mywar’s POV.
    ******Show Mywar having a reaction to missing her. Is he mad? Is this just exciting him more? What are his emotions? Show him preparing for another attack so she can have this following thought about speed. Show her feeling the increased speed.
    ******Does she feel ready and confident to what comes next?

    ******The blow would have killed her, if he hadn’t taught her to increase her speed.
    *****Then we need to know what it feels like to almost die. Even if it is just a flash of visceral.
    Before he could lunge at her again, she rolled over, jumped to her feet and aimed a vicious kick at his kneecaps.
    Oops, there is that pesky word Before again. Show the action as it is happening. Show his partial movement and her reaction and action in order.
    But she was too slow.
    ******But is also a word we don’t want to see too much of in a fight. Instead. Nix it and write. “Too slow.” And then show why and what happened because she was too slow. This will also increase white space and play with sentence structure.
    Mywar had already switched places, standing behind her. A kick crashed into her hips, robbing her breath for a few painful seconds.
    ****Hmmm I think we can play with the order here, especially since he is so fast he can move from front to side while her leg is aiming a kick that fails to reach the mark. “Too slow. A kick crashed into her hips.” Then show her pain and confusion as to his whereabouts.

    Despite the fact that her lungs were screaming for air she whirled around, somersaulting through the air, desperately trying to get away from him.
    *****Nix despite the fact and simply show her visceral reactions to the pain and inability to breath.
    Putting some distance between them to gain a few seconds to breathe.
    It wasn’t even a second she had, but it was enough to draw one lungful of air and to notice the ice shards lining the oval.
    *****Adding this new element that she notices into the second half of a sentence takes away from the importance of it; downplays the new element of the scene. Break it up. Truly show her breathing moment and the emotion behind whatever pain she is experiencing and then show her look to see where he is. That is when she sees the ice shards.
    *****Now I don’t know what the ice shards means because I am not privy to all of your fantasy world details. Are they growing? So is this a good thing that she sees? What do the ice shards mean? We need to have a reaction to seeing them.
    Their sharp points gleamed in the light.
    ******More clarity to why this means she is needing to get him into a corner. Is this to impale him on an ice point?
    ******Now here is a hard question. If he can’t die…then what is the point of this move, of the entire fight? I guess what I am asking is – What is her endgame here? Does she want to survive long enough for him to show mercy? Or does she want to maim him badly enough to be unable to wield his powers?
    I have to…
    attack him…
    Have to drive him…
    into a corner.
    ******Turn these into italicized thoughts
    ******Add an increase of anxiety.
    While escaping a kick that would have broken her leg, the idea began to form in her mind. She would use the upcoming break to plan her counter attack.
    *******Oops! We didn’t get to see this action happening. Backwards MRU. Effect was before the cause. Words like: while, as, but, before, etc. are action twisters and the reader won’t be following along as easily. Show the action as it is happening. Show the fact that Mywar is back and attacking, what his attack is, how she avoids it. Make it an action that gives her time to think Maybe something that moves him to the other side of the ring.
    ********Hmmmm what are they fighting in? Is it like a boxing ring? Find a spot or two to show what the environment is in an active part of the action.
    But she would have to be careful; the demon could read her thoughts while they were taking the short rest
    ****Wait? He can read thoughts? Need clarity on when and how well he can read thoughts is this something that the audience already knows? Then talk to us like we already know it but make it play into the moment.

    Meanwhile Mywar was playing with her, driving her through the oval, not giving her enough time to do anything but react to his actions. Busily trying to stay alive,
    Wait. How is he playing with her? Show it. Show her frustration, her exhaustion, her stumbling to keep upright. If going through the oval is a bad thing, we need to see it. In a piece of life or death action we probably can’t afford there to be a moment that starts with the word meanwhile. Meanwhile is for a slow stroll down to the water hole to have a chat, meanwhile, a spider hitched a ride on her skirt and started his web. Meanwhile is a pace KILLER.
    Sariel wasn’t able to think coherently.
    ******What is the motivation for this?
    Everything started to blur, until she lost sight of the spectators, the ice shards, and the white demarcation lines of the oval.
    ******Nice! Hmmm but the word until doesn’t make sense to me. Nix until and the action seems more vivid. Oh…hmmm, you haven’t shown us the spectators, so losing site of them is a speed bump for me. Need to see or hear or feel their presence in some way before this moment. Also need to know if the site of them is encouraging, or does it scare her, or…?
    Her body didn’t seem to belong to her anymore, whirling and jumping on its own accord.
    *****I like this, but it is unclear if Mywar is in control of her or if she is just moving instinctually. We might need to see a few short actions/reactions and then add this line in.
    She was running out of stamina fast, desperately hoping for that signal to sound before it was too late.
    ****** is there a clock or anything to look at? Anyone on the outside rooting her on that she is looking for?
    And then the worst happened: a heavy stroke to her head sent her sprawling.
    ******Oops, how can she know the worst is going to happen until it happens? Backwards MRU.
    Dark dots began to dance in front of her eyes and she could hear the murmur of the demons watching the fight, get louder and louder.
    ******NICE! Is there any pain?

    Any second now Mywar would deliver the final blow.
    I’d like that moment to take a little longer. Stretch it out with deeper visceral and awareness of what is happening around her as well as high anxiety thoughts. We need there to be a bit of a build here. Take us to the brink of thinking she is going to be killed and or wounded beyond repair, and then…Poof! The bell rings. Booms…you know what I mean.
    With a loud boom the signal rang out, saving her skin.
    *****Cliché alert. Just surviving death moment not a good place for a cliché. Go for as close POV as possible for her reaction.
    With a relieved sigh,
    *******Two “with a” back to back sentences. A sigh doesn’t match what she has just been through.
    Sariel closed her eyes. That was close. If it hadn’t been for the break she would be dead by now.
    ******Not big enough. Go deeper POV. Visceral, physical, insane OMG thoughts.

    “Come on, I’ll help you up.” Tamiro appeared by her side, took her hand, and pulled her to her feet.
    ******Might show more if she could only hear him. Wasn’t her vision going? Didn’t she close her eyes all the way? Concentrate on only a few of her senses here to increase anxiety and show her injuries.
    She tried to say “thank you,” but the words were stuck in her throat.
    ******Is this because of pain or exhaustion or emotional? Try for fresh way of saying words stuck in her throat We have seen this before, right?
    Leaning heavily on her friend she let him lead her to the corner where a chair was waiting for her.
    “Straighten up,” he advised her. “Don’t let Mywar see how you feel. Don’t show any weakness.”
    “Yeah, right. As if he doesn’t know how I feel,“ she mumbled. “He is toying with me,” she said with a rasping voice. Tamiro handed her a bottle of water and she began drinking in large gulps. “So, what do you think, which weaknesses does Mywar have?” she asked him when her thirst was quenched.
    ***** Add pain and the desperate feeling to recover.
    ****Again I am wondering what her end game is. Does her friend know? Does he need to remind her? You made a point of showing the pointy ice, then that moment was gone. She was developing a plan but it vanished.

    “None, as far as I can see.” Tamiro lifted his shoulders.
    *******Not sure we need this if she is deep POV and in her own bubble of recovery, is she really going to notice when he lifts his shoulders?
    “But we knew that before the fight started. And you should guard your thoughts; you know he can read them, so be careful what you say or think.”
    “I’m careful,” murmured Sariel, slumping back in her chair. “Why do you think I’m talking to you, when I barely have enough strength to form the words?” She looked over to the other side of the room, where Mywar was supposed to rest. He was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest, looking bored.
    Of course, he doesn’t have to sit down. Why should he? That was just a warm-up for him. As if sensing her thoughts, Mywar looked up and grinned.
    *****LOVE IT. Give us more, can we see a grin that is totally unique to Mywar? Some body language that is his and his alone?
    “Don’t let him read your mind,” Tamiro hissed through clenched teeth.
    “Why? There isn’t much I’m thinking, and he knows that he is better than I am, anyway. Everyone knows,” Sariel responded, while at the same time trying not to think about the strategy that had been forming in her head earlier.
    Of course now, she began seeing the ice shards in her mind’s eye. Damn, I cannot let him read this. “I have to stay away from these spiky ice shards,” she began babbling. “They could kill me.”
    ******might need more clarity as to if she is acting strange, increase the strangeness.

    “Of course.” Tamiro looked at her as if she had lost her mind. He should know why I’m acting so stupid. Can’t he see what I’m trying to do? Apparently he couldn’t because he continued looking at her with this concerned and hopeless expression.
    **** Well here is the flaw with saying someone has the ability to read minds, because he’d obviously be able to read EVERYTHING she is thinking here right? How do we show that she is blocking him out? Or rethink the rules of your world building.
    Another look at Mywar clearly revealed that he was amused. I bet he saw through my ruse, whereas Tamiro is clueless.
    “That’s unfair,” she spit at Tamiro. “I can’t read his thoughts!”
    Not bothering to comment on the sudden change of topic, Tamiro just shrugged his shoulders.
    ******Oops, POV grey area here. This seems like it is the POV of Tamiro. Also backwards MRU.
    “You knew that from the start.”
    “That doesn’t make it better, or more fair.”
    Tamiro grinned and put his finger on his lips. Maybe he had finally grasped what she was doing.
    *******I’m a little confused. And this could be because I haven’t read your entire manuscript, but I think we need more clarity on the ruse and conversation in this last section.
    *******Also feels as if it isn’t life or death anymore. The stakes dropped out of the scene as soon as this conversation started. We aren’t feeling her injuries, or her attempt to recover. Not feeling the fear of what could happen next. The environment has also vanished. We also missed out on the fact that these two didn’t always used to be enemies. And the fact that he can’t actually die. SOOOO many layers involved in a fight and you have to nail them all or the audience won’t be with you at the end.
    *********Thank you again, Birgit for letting me play here. I hope you continue on with me and this scene. Maybe I will see you in March?! We will approach the scene layer by layer before the full edits in class and then the whole plate of cookies doesn’t seem so intimidating. I’m rooting for you and Sariel!

  • ****UPDATED With more line spacing for clarity********************THIS IS THE VERSION YOU SHOULD READ***********

    Scene Edit for the winner of the drawing ——————————————————-
    Here is a fighting scene out of Birgit’s fantasy novel. This is the first round of a scheduled “Ready. Set. Fight. A little background: Sariel is a half demon, but she grew up thinking she was just a normal human being. Only after her parents died did Sariel find out that her mother was a fire demon and Sariel herself therefore a half demon. She did meet Mywar before. In fact he trained her, that was before they were informed that they would be opponents in a fight of life or death against each other. Mywar is clearly the better warrior and, being a fire demon, he can’t really die. Only Sariel will die if she loses. Sariel thinks of Mywar more of an enemy. The first time they met, he attacked her, then he was asigned as her mentor and then later to fight her. He is the best demon warrior and she knows that he can’t die. So, yes, it is not easy for her.

    BEFORE I START – I know there are a lot of notes here. I was coming at it as a first time reader and fight/action expert, two titles that will land ANY manuscript with a lot of edits! And as I tell all of my students and clients: editing notes and feedback are like a big plate of cookies. You can either take one or two and leave the rest, or take them all! This is your manuscript. Just keep in mind, these cookies were baked using ingredients specific to your writing needs.

    THE SCENE:
    Mywar attacked as soon as the signal announcing the start of the first round rang out.

    *****Show this action in the correct order of cause/effect or a MRU. The signal happens first, then he attacks.
    *****Is there any way we can see how he is attacking? Running at her? Claws? Weapon? How far away? There isn’t an image associated with “Mywar attacked”

    A huge energy surge rushed at Sariel.

    *****Is this energy from him? A painful energy? Unclear if this was energy from within, or energy in an attempt to hurt her. Show us what this feels like viscerally.

    A few days ago this would have lifted her off her feet and sent her crashing down, but now she was better prepared.

    ******After the first move of the fight, I don’t think it is wise to have a thought straight away. If he is attacking a nanosecond after the bell rings, then we need to see her physically react with the same speed.

    Instantly dropping to the floor she avoided the hit.

    ******ADVERB ALERT! Either nix the word instantly and we will see that it is in fact happening instantly by its placement, or show us what instantly looks like.

    Damn, he didn’t waste a second.

    *****Depending on the tone you want to set for the fight, this is either a great place to add voice or adding spunky voice is a tone killer. If you want to show that she is truly afraid for her life and we should be afraid with her, then we need to see and feel her fear NOW, before anything else happens.

    Before she could even end that thought she had to dodge another attack.

    *****Lines like this slow pace and pull the reader out of the action. You want to show the action falling like dominoes. One attack, a reaction, a counter attack or another attack from opponent, a reaction. Keep the character and the audience on their toes. Also using the word “before” creates a misread of cause and effect. There are variations on fights laced with commentary from the POV character. Like the Dresden files. But Jim Butcher’s voice is packed with humor hit after humor hit and he is always going outside of the action to comment on it. This style doesn’t pull us into the action as deep as I think you want your readers to be. Especially when this fight is so personal to your character. If it was just a sparring session, and life/death wasn’t on the line, I would say different. Make sense?

    Mywar jumped high into the air, covering the distance between them, and landed exactly where her head had been only nanoseconds before.

    *****Wait, this seems like a little gray POV area her since we didn’t see her move. Felt like we were seeing this from Mywar’s POV.
    ******Show Mywar having a reaction to missing her. Is he mad? Is this just exciting him more? What are his emotions? Show him preparing for another attack so she can have this following thought about speed. Show her feeling the increased speed.
    ******Does she feel ready and confident to what comes next?

    The blow would have killed her, if he hadn’t taught her to increase her speed.

    *****Then we need to know what it feels like to almost die. Even if it is just a flash of visceral.

    Before he could lunge at her again, she rolled over, jumped to her feet and aimed a vicious kick at his kneecaps.

    ******Oops, there is that pesky word Before again. Show the action as it is happening. Show his partial movement and her reaction and action in order.

    But she was too slow.

    ******But is also a word we don’t want to see too much of in a fight. Instead. Nix it and write. “Too slow.” And then show why and what happened because she was too slow. This will also increase white space and play with sentence structure.

    Mywar had already switched places, standing behind her. A kick crashed into her hips, robbing her breath for a few painful seconds.

    ****Hmmm I think we can play with the order here, especially since he is so fast he can move from front to side while her leg is aiming a kick that fails to reach the mark. “Too slow. A kick crashed into her hips.” Then show her pain and confusion as to his whereabouts.

    Despite the fact that her lungs were screaming for air she whirled around, somersaulting through the air, desperately trying to get away from him.

    *****Nix despite the fact and simply show her visceral reactions to the pain and inability to breath.

    Putting some distance between them to gain a few seconds to breathe.
    It wasn’t even a second she had, but it was enough to draw one lungful of air and to notice the ice shards lining the oval.

    *****Adding this new element that she notices into the second half of a sentence takes away from the importance of it; downplays the new element of the scene. Break it up. Truly show her breathing moment and the emotion behind whatever pain she is experiencing and then show her look to see where he is. That is when she sees the ice shards.

    *****Now I don’t know what the ice shards means because I am not privy to all of your fantasy world details. Are they growing? So is this a good thing that she sees? What do the ice shards mean? We need to have a reaction to seeing them.

    Their sharp points gleamed in the light.

    ******More clarity to why this means she is needing to get him into a corner. Is this to impale him on an ice point?
    ******Now here is a hard question. If he can’t die…then what is the point of this move, of the entire fight? I guess what I am asking is – What is her endgame here? Does she want to survive long enough for him to show mercy? Or does she want to maim him badly enough to be unable to wield his powers?

    I have to…
    attack him…
    Have to drive him…
    into a corner.

    ******Turn these into italicized thoughts
    ******Add an increase of anxiety.

    While escaping a kick that would have broken her leg, the idea began to form in her mind. She would use the upcoming break to plan her counter attack.

    *******Oops! We didn’t get to see this action happening. Backwards MRU. Effect was before the cause. Words like: while, as, but, before, etc. are action twisters and the reader won’t be following along as easily. Show the action as it is happening. Show the fact that Mywar is back and attacking, what his attack is, how she avoids it. Make it an action that gives her time to think Maybe something that moves him to the other side of the ring.

    ********Hmmmm what are they fighting in? Is it like a boxing ring? Find a spot or two to show what the environment is in an active part of the action.

    But she would have to be careful; the demon could read her thoughts while they were taking the short rest

    ****Wait? He can read thoughts? Need clarity on when and how well he can read thoughts is this something that the audience already knows? Then talk to us like we already know it but make it play into the moment.

    Meanwhile Mywar was playing with her, driving her through the oval, not giving her enough time to do anything but react to his actions. Busily trying to stay alive,

    **********Wait. How is he playing with her? Show it. Show her frustration, her exhaustion, her stumbling to keep upright. If going through the oval is a bad thing, we need to see it. In a piece of life or death action we probably can’t afford there to be a moment that starts with the word meanwhile. Meanwhile is for a slow stroll down to the water hole to have a chat, meanwhile, a spider hitched a ride on her skirt and started his web. Meanwhile is a pace KILLER.

    Sariel wasn’t able to think coherently.

    ******What is the motivation for this?

    Everything started to blur, until she lost sight of the spectators, the ice shards, and the white demarcation lines of the oval.

    ******Nice! Hmmm but the word until doesn’t make sense to me. Nix until and the action seems more vivid. Oh…hmmm, you haven’t shown us the spectators, so losing site of them is a speed bump for me. Need to see or hear or feel their presence in some way before this moment. Also need to know if the site of them is encouraging, or does it scare her, or…?

    Her body didn’t seem to belong to her anymore, whirling and jumping on its own accord.

    *****I like this, but it is unclear if Mywar is in control of her or if she is just moving instinctually. We might need to see a few short actions/reactions and then add this line in.

    She was running out of stamina fast, desperately hoping for that signal to sound before it was too late.

    ****** is there a clock or anything to look at? Anyone on the outside rooting her on that she is looking for?

    And then the worst happened: a heavy stroke to her head sent her sprawling.

    ******Oops, how can she know the worst is going to happen until it happens? Backwards MRU.

    Dark dots began to dance in front of her eyes and she could hear the murmur of the demons watching the fight, get louder and louder.

    ******NICE! Is there any pain?

    Any second now Mywar would deliver the final blow.

    **********I’d like that moment to take a little longer. Stretch it out with deeper visceral and awareness of what is happening around her as well as high anxiety thoughts. We need there to be a bit of a build here. Take us to the brink of thinking she is going to be killed and or wounded beyond repair, and then…Poof! The bell rings. Booms…you know what I mean.

    With a loud boom the signal rang out, saving her skin.

    *****Cliché alert. Just surviving death moment not a good place for a cliché. Go for as close POV as possible for her reaction.

    With a relieved sigh,

    *******Two “with a” back to back sentences. A sigh doesn’t match what she has just been through.

    Sariel closed her eyes. That was close. If it hadn’t been for the break she would be dead by now.

    ******Not big enough. Go deeper POV. Visceral, physical, insane OMG thoughts.

    “Come on, I’ll help you up.” Tamiro appeared by her side, took her hand, and pulled her to her feet.

    ******Might show more if she could only hear him. Wasn’t her vision going? Didn’t she close her eyes all the way? Concentrate on only a few of her senses here to increase anxiety and show her injuries.

    She tried to say “thank you,” but the words were stuck in her throat.

    ******Is this because of pain or exhaustion or emotional? Try for fresh way of saying words stuck in her throat We have seen this before, right?

    Leaning heavily on her friend she let him lead her to the corner where a chair was waiting for her.
    “Straighten up,” he advised her. “Don’t let Mywar see how you feel. Don’t show any weakness.”
    “Yeah, right. As if he doesn’t know how I feel,“ she mumbled. “He is toying with me,” she said with a rasping voice. Tamiro handed her a bottle of water and she began drinking in large gulps. “So, what do you think, which weaknesses does Mywar have?” she asked him when her thirst was quenched.

    ***** Add pain and the desperate feeling to recover.
    ****Again I am wondering what her end game is. Does her friend know? Does he need to remind her? You made a point of showing the pointy ice, then that moment was gone. She was developing a plan but it vanished.

    “None, as far as I can see.” Tamiro lifted his shoulders.

    *******Not sure we need this if she is deep POV and in her own bubble of recovery, is she really going to notice when he lifts his shoulders?
    “But we knew that before the fight started. And you should guard your thoughts; you know he can read them, so be careful what you say or think.”
    “I’m careful,” murmured Sariel, slumping back in her chair. “Why do you think I’m talking to you, when I barely have enough strength to form the words?” She looked over to the other side of the room, where Mywar was supposed to rest. He was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest, looking bored.
    Of course, he doesn’t have to sit down. Why should he? That was just a warm-up for him. As if sensing her thoughts, Mywar looked up and grinned.

    *****LOVE IT. Give us more, can we see a grin that is totally unique to Mywar? Some body language that is his and his alone?

    “Don’t let him read your mind,” Tamiro hissed through clenched teeth.
    “Why? There isn’t much I’m thinking, and he knows that he is better than I am, anyway. Everyone knows,” Sariel responded, while at the same time trying not to think about the strategy that had been forming in her head earlier.
    Of course now, she began seeing the ice shards in her mind’s eye. Damn, I cannot let him read this. “I have to stay away from these spiky ice shards,” she began babbling. “They could kill me.”

    ******might need more clarity as to if she is acting strange, increase the strangeness.

    “Of course.” Tamiro looked at her as if she had lost her mind. He should know why I’m acting so stupid. Can’t he see what I’m trying to do? Apparently he couldn’t because he continued looking at her with this concerned and hopeless expression.

    **** Well here is the flaw with saying someone has the ability to read minds, because he’d obviously be able to read EVERYTHING she is thinking here right? How do we show that she is blocking him out? Or rethink the rules of your world building.
    Another look at Mywar clearly revealed that he was amused. I bet he saw through my ruse, whereas Tamiro is clueless.
    “That’s unfair,” she spit at Tamiro. “I can’t read his thoughts!”
    Not bothering to comment on the sudden change of topic, Tamiro just shrugged his shoulders.

    ******Oops, POV grey area here. This seems like it is the POV of Tamiro. Also backwards MRU.

    “You knew that from the start.”
    “That doesn’t make it better, or more fair.”
    Tamiro grinned and put his finger on his lips. Maybe he had finally grasped what she was doing.

    *******I’m a little confused. And this could be because I haven’t read your entire manuscript, but I think we need more clarity on the ruse and conversation in this last section.

    *******Also feels as if it isn’t life or death anymore. The stakes dropped out of the scene as soon as this conversation started. We aren’t feeling her injuries, or her attempt to recover. Not feeling the fear of what could happen next. The environment has also vanished. We also missed out on the fact that these two didn’t always used to be enemies. And the fact that he can’t actually die. SOOOO many layers involved in a fight and you have to nail them all or the audience won’t be with you at the end.

    *********Thank you again, Birgit for letting me play here. I hope you continue on with me and this scene. Maybe I will see you in March?! We will approach the scene layer by layer before the full edits in class and then the whole plate of cookies doesn’t seem so intimidating. I’m rooting for you and Sariel!

    • Additional comment for Birgit – this comment was left on my clipboard and didn’t make it to the file above.
      *********The fight doesn’t have much demon or half-demon or fire demon qualities. What kind of powers do these creatures have and how are they used in a fight? Right now we have kicks and rolls and jumps, etc. As it reads now (besides the reading minds element) it doesn’t seem as if we are in the minds/bodies of creatures different than humans. Go through the scene from top to bottom and look for world building ops to feed into the action and description. What makes these demons special? What kind of other worldly elements could bring excitement and danger and elements of total uniqueness to the scene? This is the fun part!

      • Dear Tiffany,
        Only now I saw that I was the lucky winner! I live in Germany so I was sleeping when you announced who won. Thank you so much for your comments! I will need a while to edit the scene and to go over everything you mentioned. Writing a fighting scene still is something that doesn’t come easy to me, as you probably noticed :). It is good to have a pro look over it and tell me what I can improve.
        Best regards,
        Birgit

        • Birgit, Good morning/afternoon and congrats from Colorado to Germany!

          Take your time. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t come easily to anyone. They just edit and edit and edit and edit and edit until it looks perfect 🙂

          I can’t wait to see the end product.

          Cheers!
          ~TiffanyLawsonInman

  • Makes me want to write a fight scene into my book! Thanks for these awesome tips!

    • Justine,

      Hello, and yes! Depending on the genre, there should be either a physical fight or a verbal one somewhere in your book, for the sake of conflict 🙂 And writing active conflict no matter if physical or verbal, can be very very similar.

      Such fun to write, too!

      Thank you for stopping by this weekend. Chat soon!

  • Just a short update, Tiffany:
    I am sweating over this scene, but it is a lot of fun and I can see what I did wrong. So thank you for that! I’ll need couple of days before I can post a new, and hopefully better version.

    • Birgit,

      Ah yes, the editing fight scene sweat, it has a unique smell. LOL.

      Great that you are digging in and respecting how much actually goes into editing a fight scene. They definitely are not slap n’ dash scenes.

      Don’t think that it has to be perfect before posting again. Try to nail everything I noted and post. I will do another edit pass on it, okay? And while you are editing, let me know if you have any questions. You won a scene edit and those don’t stop with a simple once-over. 🙂

      • Sorry that it took me so long to edit the scene but this week was crazy. Anyway, here goes. I hope it is improved.

        THE SCENE:

        With a loud boom the signal annoucing the start of the first round rang out. The sound still rang in Sariel’s ears when a huge surge of energy slammed into her. Like a big vise squeezing her body Mywars power enveloped her, making it almost impossible to breathe. She took a step back, swung around and landed in a crouch on the floor. Just a second, that’s all she needed to pull herself together, to get air into her lungs, but in a move so swift it was impossible to follow, Mywar was right in front of her, jumping high into the air, his left leg kicking out at her head. Instinctively she pulled back, jumped to her feet, aiming a vicious kick at his kneecaps.

        Too slow. His leg crashed into her hip. Pained spread through her body like fire, but she ignored it, whirling around she somersaulted through the air, trying to get away from him, to put some distance between them and gain a few seconds. Landing on her feet she turned in a full circle, scanning the arena for her opponent, drawing one lungful of air.

        Mywar stood about ten feet away from her. Smiling.

        For a moment none of them moved. Mywars mouth formed the word: „Loser.“ With his left hand he beckoned her to come closer. To attack him, while he was standing there, waiting. Confident that she would fail. He was only a step away from the ice shards bordering the oval. Their sharp points gleamed in the light, their slender forms formed like daggers.

        I have to…
        attack him…
        Have to drive him…
        into a corner.
        Let the ice finish him.

        For a moment they both stood still, waiting for the other to move, to launch another attack. Mywar beckoned her again. His smile even wider than before. With two fast steps Sariel was in front of him, instead of aiming a blow at his body, she ducked low, trying to sweep his feet out from under him. But Mywar was too fast. Sariel saw only a blur, felt pain in her shoulder from a kick that sent her flying backwards. She landed hard on the floor. Without thinking she rolled away, scrambled to her feet and took several steps back. Tears stung her eyes. Shaking her head she tried to get rid of them. There was no time to wallow in misery. Not if she wanted to survive. If only she could manage to get through this round, maybe then she could use the upcoming break to plan her counter attack.

        Mywar came at her again, covering the short distance between them with one stride. Sariel jumped back, ducked and jumped back again. Her breath was coming in short gasps. Weakness was creeping into her limbs, slowing her movements.
        Everything started to blur, the ice shards, the white demarcation lines of the oval, Mywars movements. Her body didn’t belong to her anymore, moving of its own accord, responding to Mywar’s actions before she consciously noticed them.

        A heavy stroke to her head sent her sprawling. Dark dots began to dance in front of her eyes and she could hear the murmur of the demons watching the fight, get louder and louder. Pain lanced through her skull, almost splitting it in half, clouding her sight. She could hear the blood pounding in her ears. She had to move, had to get out of Mywar’s range. Without really seeing anything she stepped to the side. One, two steps, then a jump back. Two more steps.
        Why was there no signal to end the round? Surely they were already well over two minutes in the ring? Another blow sent her sprawling on her back, scrambling to get away from Mywar who was only an advancing shadow.

        The bell! It rang out loudly, marking the end of the first round. Mywar’s shadow retreated. Sariel closed her eyes, trying to get some air into her lungs. She should feel relieved, after all she was still alive. If only the next round wasn’t looming in her mind. She needed to be better than this. She hadn’t landed a single blow, instead he had beaten her any way he wanted. She could still feel the pain of the blows she took. Getting up was a daunting prospect. Getting back into the ring seemed impossible.

        “Come on, I’ll help you up.” Tamiro’s voice interupted her thoughts. Sariel turned her head, trying to focus on his blurred form. He took her hand, and pulled her to her feet. Leaning heavily on her friend she let him lead her to the corner where a chair was waiting for her.
        “Straighten up,” he advised her. “Don’t let Mywar see how you feel. Don’t show any weakness.”
        “Yeah, right. As if he doesn’t know,“ she mumbled, closing her eyes. Seeing only blurs made her feel even weaker than she was. “He is toying with me.”
        Tamiro handed her a bottle of water and she began drinking in large gulps. Slowly very slowly some of the pain subsided. Her body didn’t feel anymore like it was on fire. Instead she felt sore, tired and in desperate need of some optimism. “So, what do you think, which weaknesses does Mywar have?” she asked him when her thirst was quenched. She still hadn’t opened her eyes, instead she rested against the back of the chair, trying to pull herself together. She needed to recover, which was a lot easier when she shut the rest of the world out.
        “None, as far as I can see. But we knew that before the fight started. And you should guard your thoughts; you know he can read them, so be careful what you say or think.”
        “I’m careful. Why do you think I’m talking to you, when I barely have enough strength to form the words?” She opened her eyes, focussing again on her friend, willing his form to change from a shadow to a human being. Somehow it worked, because first she saw his outline, then details came into focus. His hair looked as though he been been running his hands through it repeatedly. Then she looked over to the other side of the room, where Mywar was supposed to rest. He was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest, looking bored.
        Of course, he doesn’t have to sit down. Why should he? That was just a warm-up for him. As if sensing her thoughts, Mywar looked up and grinned. His lips formed a single word: „Loser.“
        “Don’t let him read your mind,” Tamiro hissed through clenched teeth.
        “Why? There isn’t much I’m thinking, and he knows that he is better than I am, anyway. Everyone knows,” Sariel responded, while at the same time trying not to think about the strategy that had been forming in her head earlier.
        Of course now, she began seeing the ice shards in her mind’s eye. Damn, I cannot let Mywar read this. “I have to stay away from these spiky ice shards,” she began babbling. “They could kill me. A couple of times Mywar had me really cornerned. I have to be faster, to anticipate his moves. I can beat him. I know I can.“ She punched the air, like a boxer.
        “Of course.” Tamiro looked at her as if she had lost her mind.
        Another look at Mywar clearly revealed that he was amused, he apparently had been able to see through her ruse, whereas Tamiro was still clueless.

  • […] Tiffany Lawson Inman gust posts on Writers in the Storm about seven fight styles every author should know about. […]

  • […] Lawson Inman (aka Naked Editor) wrote a post on fighting styles last week, and she has offered us a prize for today. We are having a special give-away for anyone […]

  • Wonderful blog post here, Tiffany! I also saved it for future reference and shared it generously online. You have great fight scenes here to choose from. Unfortunately, I don’t have any fight scenes to offer right now. However, thinking of the fight scenes I’ve come across in writing, I think of the Powers and Gadgets fights for the Harry Potter series and any competition plots as the Ready, Set, Duel type of fight scenes. The Western Brawls can be seen in Hollywood movies all over the place, not just in westerns. Thanks again, Tiffany, for sharing your knowledge with readers and writers. This is why I follow Writers in the Storm.

    • Smiling and nodding.

      Yes, Victoria, the Potter Series has some great examples of Powers and Gadgets. Her scenes are smooth and don’t give too much world building junk to claw through to see the real action and emotion.

      Glad you are smartly following WITS! Maybe I will see you next time with a scene to post, eh?

      Always be learning!

      • Yes, Tiffany, I truly am always learning. Especially here at WITS. I do hope to post a relevant scene in the future when what I’m writing fits in to the blog post. Thanks for all you do to assist fellow writers.