This is the first guest post on my blog! This one comes to you courtesy of Paul Anthony Shortt, and here is a little bit more about him:
A child at heart who turned to writing and roleplaying games when there simply weren’t enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life. Growing up surrounded by music, film and theatre gave him a deep love of all forms of storytelling, each teaching him something new he could use. When not playing with the people in his head, he enjoys cooking and regular meet-ups with his gaming group. He lives in Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper. Their first child, Conor William Henry Shortt, was born on July 11th, 2011. He passed away three days later, but brought love and joy into their lives and those of their friends. Jen is pregnant again and is expecting twins.
Recently, Paul has released a new book, Locked Within, which is available from Amazon.
Writing Fight Scenes
I’m a huge fan of fight scenes. Whether between single combatants, multiple fighters, or even massive battleships, fight scenes are a vicious dance, a ballet between opposing forces, the ultimate portrayal of a story’s conflict. They can be difficult to get right, however. Many stories finish with an unsatisfying climax, the villain defeated without any real sense of threat or drama. This is the danger in having a fight scene end too quickly or without enough detail. The opposite is just as problematic. Too much detail will bore the reader. So while you can’t simply gloss over the action, you can’t resort to a blow by blow account, either. The perfect fight scene needs to flow, almost like a river, naturally twisting and surprising the reader. Of course, pure action isn’t enough. You need emotion. You need high stakes. The biggest and best fight scenes must be kept for the climax, so the reader has had time to develop a connection to the hero. Blend your hero’s feelings, his fears and drive, with his kicks and punches, and you’ll hook the reader. In Locked Within, I have several action scenes in which Nathan Shepherd is kept on the ropes. This is an important point. It can be all too tempting to have your hero dominate physical challenges, defeating his enemies with ease. But this is a dangerous gamble. A reader can’t sympathise with a hero who never fails. If the hero is never in danger, there’s no opportunity to build sympathy. Of course, if you push too far, too soon, and expose the hero to life or death situations too early in your story, the reader will know you don’t really intend to kill or maim them so early. Having a character gradually learn how to fight his opponents can be effective. Nathan Shepherd must re-learn the things he once knew, from how to fight, to what can harm a vampire. As the story progresses, his knowledge, skill, and drive increase, but so do the stakes. His ability to fight improves, but the scope of what he fights for increases as well. It’s a tricky balancing act. My advice is to study different fight scenes, both in books and in film or television. Pay attention to how a fight works, what style you want to emulate, whether you want it gritty or cinematic, and watch the techniques used to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Above all, practice!