Saturday, April 6, 2013

F Is For Fighting...

Just remember, that most of these topics are geared for Fantasy world building. So when I speak of fighting, I'm talking swords, baby!

Fighting, in fantasy, can be a huge endeavor. Especially if you are going to be moving towards battle scenes. This will consist of hundreds of people attacking at once. So remember, you don't have to give a narrative about every single soldier! Please, please don't. I'll have to put down your book, find where you live and when you answer your door, smack you upside the head.

Anyway...

Fight scenes can be very powerful and difficult to describe. You can see the movement in your mind's eye, but to capture that in so many words without boring the reader... don't tear your hair out.

First of all, you're going to be tempted to explain each tactic, stance, cool-ninja-fighting-move and by the end of it all, you're going to get so frustrated, you'll leave it out altogether. You WILL confuse your reader, who may not know all those technical fighting move names. So you are left with things like: twist, spin, reach, flick, snap and poke. Yes. Poke.

Which of these two fight scenes makes more sense?

Technical fight scene: "Kayta squared off with Trinara, each taking their favorite fighting stance. After a pause, they began. Kayta stepped forward and thrust her fencing blade towards Trinara's chest, forcing Trinara to parry and reposte. While the block was effective, it allowed Kayta to gain the upper hand, creating the botta-in-tempo. Kayta lunged again and Trinara executed a cavazione..."

Fight scene: "Trinara faced Hedric, her sword raised and ready. When Hedric gave a slight nod of his head, the two began to fight. They circled each other for a moment, not wanting to be the first to strike. Hedric decided to make a move. He took a large step forward, thrusting his fencing blade towards Trinara. She raised her sword, effectively blocking his attack. She forced him back with a shove, lightly stepped around him and flicked her sword towards his backside. Hedric spun around, twisting his blade to block her attack..."

Now, minus the added details, the second scene is "dummied down" for the reader. You're not questioning the reader's intelligence, you're just trying to make sure everyone understands the words, thus causing the story to flow. When people get hung up on words like "reposte" and "cavazione", it's going to break their reading stride.

So keep it simple when it comes to fight scenes!

6 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Very good point! Just because you know all the terms doesn't mean the reader will know them.

Spacerguy said...

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Emily L. Moir-Genther said...

I had to explain this one to my brother when he was trying to write a book where the character fought hung gar style. He was using all these technical terms and it just wasn't working out in the slightest.

Mel Chesley said...

I've read books where the author used technical terms. While it confused me at the time, I glossed over it. Later, I went and looked up the terms just to get an idea of what they were talking about!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

KISS - Keep it Simple Stupid. LOL!

Jamie Gibbs said...

Agreed, too much detail derails the flow of the action - less is more; let their imagination fill in the rest :0

Jamie @ Mithril Wisdom