Does your fight show Punch?
Formerly the filmmakers have mastered the technique of creating a persuasive battle scene. The bodies crash on the floor .. the chairs are up … the viewers are compared to frightened or angry faces … and the thrown stamps are enough to clasp and close our eyes. (There is no more prissy punch in any of the early movies that nobody slammed the sobbing camera nails to hide the fact that the fist is not really related, loud cheaters suggest a knock-on blow when someone saw it, the flight path.)
Filmmakers handle multiple camera angles and sophisticated sound effects. We feel like he was right in the middle of the fight.
The authors are much harder. How can you throw the reader in the middle of the scene and feel every blow? How can you see the action without falling into the trap like a schoolgirl who enthusiastically describes the fight and punching; kick kick?
There are only two things to keep in mind.
- Keep in mind that you are a writer, but a choreographer.
- Pack the fight with EMOTIONAL hit.
This is it. It's so simple – yet so effective.
What does a choreographer do? It designs a series of moves step by step. He teaches people who are moving, how to perform each one, and how to put them in a smooth routine.
The too many fighting scenes in books look like a choreographer's notebook. You will see something like this: Briggs pulled Smith's chin to the right. The other man retreated, his arms were gentle. Briggs followed her advantage, breathing heavily. In quick succession, he put more punches on Smith's body. Smith got down to the floor and pulled away. "Bastard!" he muttered and moved again to avoid Briggs's well-aimed kick. Cat-like, jumped up, and Briggs rounded up, not taking his eyes off his killer.
"Come on!" Briggs dazzled herself and started to run another punch, then retreated from his hand. – Is this the best you can do? She got married and laughed.
He was thinking, Smith attacked him. Briggs danced back and around Smith, holding two hands on the ground, one arm behind her.
The above scene has so many things that it is difficult to decide where to start. In short:
- We have no idea that the viewpoint is a character. We seem to be looking far away. This means that there is little emotional participation from the reader. To really turn on his reader, he will do his utmost to make sure that he "becomes" the character of the viewer. If it is damaged, the reader is also doing so. If he loses … the reader as well.
- The writer is more "telling" than presenting. That's what B did, so he replied to this and B followed it … boring. (Do you see the choreographer at work?)
- The writer uses a lot of characters: "Smith" and "Briggs". It also increases the distance. The problem is that the use of both characters, such as "he", may seem confusing, although not so remote. It is easier to avoid these problems if you look deeply from the perspective of one character.
- The extract is full of tired old phrases, such as "two more hits quickly"; "well-targeted kick"; "cat-like, standing on his feet"; "two clever moves". Such terms will save the writer from doing a lot of work – they can easily rotate the language because they are so long.
How are you doing these pitfalls and writing a fighting scene that works?
You forget (largely) your physical punches and add emotional punches. Step deep into one character, especially the main character; is what the reader really identifies. Thus, readers look in the eyes of the character. They desperately want to win; they feel every blow. So much more emotional investment can be achieved in the outcome of the fight.
It seems that most writers felt that battle scenes had to be filled with fast motion, groans and groans, and screamed epithets to leave the plot. They feel that if you stop telling the reader what's going on in the head of the protagonist, it slows things down too much.
Surely this is the case … but in the hands of a qualified writer, tension is actually built when action slows down. We should not forget that time on the page is not the same as in real-time. Because you can not actually tell the reader what's going on in real time, as it is in a movie, it has to be compensated because the protagonist has spent some time. Show us the character's thoughts. Show us the emotions of the character. Help us to "feel" the fight.
The easiest way to show how this example works from the published book. Here is a fighting scene by ECHO BURNING by Lee Child (Bantam Press, 2001). The hero Jack Reacher tries to avoid the fight … and the tension is beautifully built until it fights.
The guy was in a white tank shirt, chicken wings. The wings were greasy, the guy was a mosquito. Chicken meat dripped from his chin, his fingers on his shirt. Pecs was a dark tear-shaped figure. It grew steadily and expanded into a fascinating patch. But the best bar-etiquette does not let it get off at such a moment, and the guy caught Reacher and stared at him.
"Who are you looking at?" He told.
It was low and aggressive, but Reacher ignored it.
"Who are you looking at?" – said Reacher's experience, they say once, maybe nothing will happen. But they say twice, then there is trouble on the road. The basic problem is that lack of response provides evidence that you are worried. They won. But then they will not let you answer.
"You look at me?" "No," replied Reacher. "Do not look at me, boy," said the guy. "As he said, Reacher thought he might be a foreman in a sawmill or a cotton-making operation.Whatever he had about the muscles around Lubbock, some traditional trade gave generations, of course, the police never thought of it, but it was relatively new in Texas. "Do not look at me," said the guy, Reacher turned and looked at him, not really an enemy to the guy, just to measure it, life was infinitely capable of surprises, so he knew that one day he would have to face his physical equilibrium. But he saw and saw that it was not the sun, so he smiled and turned away, and then the guy with his fingers
"I told you not to look at me," he said, and shivered. ] Reacher's T-shirt left a definite sign, "Do not do that," Reacher said, "the guy is shaking again." "Or what?" He asks. you're Reacher, "he said," who do you want to do something? "Reacher looked down. There were two signs now. The purchase shook again. Three blows, three marks. Reacher took his teeth. What was the three fatty signs on the shirt? Slow countdown began to ten. Then the guy slipped again before he reached the eight.
Are you "deaf?" Reacher said. "I told you not to do it."
"Do not you want to do something?" "No," Reacher said. – No, I just want to stop everything, everything. The guy smiled. – Then yellowish shit sucks. "But whatever it is," Reacher said. "Just hold your hand."
"What are you doing?"
Reacher resumed his count. Eight nine. "Do you want to do this?" the guy asked. – Ten. "Touch it again and you'll know," Reacher said. "I warned you four times".
The guy stopped for a moment. Then, of course, he turned around again. Reacher caught his finger on the road and snapped on the first wrist. He just folded it upward as if turning a door handle. Then, because he was irritated, he leaned forward and put his head full on his face. It was a smooth gesture, well handed, but perhaps it was half that it could have been. There is no need to put this guy in a coma with four fat grease stamps. He took one step to the man's room and leaned to the woman on his right. "Excuse me, ma'am," she said. The woman nodded vaguely, embarrassed the noise, concentrating on her drink, did not know what was happening. The big guy slipped quietly to the floor and Reacher used the foot of his shoe to throw it halfway to the front. Then with his toe, he let his chin move his head back and straighten his airway. The recovery position, paramedicins, is called. It prevents you from being drowned while you are drowning.
Then he paid for the drink and went back to his motel … Of course, this scene only shows a quietly dignified fight and shows a hero able to fight for a quick conclusion. It should use a slightly different approach when more people are involved and if they are engaged in fast and angry battles with two equally aggressive aggressors. But the principle is the same.
Do not let the reader watch the fight away. Get them into the protagonist's skin and arrange your thoughts and emotions. Readers feel the effect of fists and feet; let him experience adrenaline (or irritation, depending on the degree of provocation). Then the battle scenes will pack the desired punch.
(c) copyright Marg McAlister
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