While perusing blogs I follow this afternoon, I came across some advice from author D.W. Hawkins about writing action scenes, specifically fight scenes. I read through his points and agree with them all. I was actually hoping to get a new bit of insight because I'm in the midst of writing a very important fight scene right now. It's the final duel between Amar and Cruce in my newest fantasy series Rys Rising. Still, it was good to get good reminders from a fellow author who has military combat experience. It was validating to know that I have some correct things going through my head.
In his article D.W. Hawkins: Writing Action Scenes he made an excellent point:
"Plucky heroes who always win the day are all grand and wonderful, but there’s nothing truthful about a fight scene where The White Knight cleaves rank upon rank of the evil Horde of Baddies with the greatest of ease, laughing in the face of his enemies. If that’s what you’re into, then fine. I challenge you to split about fifty logs with an axe, and laugh at them the entire time. At some point, you’ll get quiet and think this is pretty tough, after all."
Although I've never hit anyone with an axe, I do know what it's like to chop wood. This is a good point about making sure a fictional fighter is experiencing the proper physical demands.
Hawkins also made the important point that it's silly for fighters to shake off really bad wounds and keep fighting. This is something I see in movies all the time. When someone gets shot and keeps on trucking, I am always annoyed. My characters battle through some light wounds, but when they take a bad hit, I better make arrangements for someone to save them. I also plan time for recovery and recuperation too. Since I write fantasy, I sometimes speed things along with magic, but I always try to be realistic about the damage done and the impact it has on the character.
Just last night I was studying my Illustrated Atlas of the Human Body because I need to plan some horrible wounds that let my victims linger. I need some dramatic death scenes and last words, so I can't be having any quick clean deaths.
Anyway, thank you for the important points about writing fight scenes and action. Read the complete article at D.W. Hawkins' blog.