Tag Archives: hero

Writing Fight Scenes

I’m deep in edits right now so thought I’d share a post I wrote 2 years ago on writing fight scenes. Enjoy! I’ll let you know how the revisions go when they’re over.

A few weeks ago a writer friend asked me for some help with her fight scene. She gave me her chapter, minus the fight, so I could get an idea of what was happening in the story. The chapter was good, but I couldn’t help her with the scene just yet. I needed more information.

To begin with, I had to know what she wanted to accomplish with the fight. Did she want the hero to knock out the bad guy? Maim him? Kill him? What are the hero’s and the villain’s experience and skill as fighters? We’ve already learned from a previous post, Perfection of One’s Character, how important characterization is. Therefore, knowing the Hero’s background is key. A boxer fights differently than a karate man. A karate man fights differently than a grappler. A grappler fights differently from (insert your style of choice here). Do the characters have police or military or combat training? Know your characters!

I also wanted to know what kind of an exchange she wanted to have happen. A quick exchange of a few blows or an all out brawl? If she wanted to knock the guy out quietly, the hero might put the villain in a choke hold until he passes out. If she wanted a lot of action and movement, then she could choreograph a fight scene with punches, blocks, kicks and throws.

Was there a weapon involved? In this case there wasn’t, but remember in a fight anything can potentially become a weapon, even dirt in the eyes to blind the other guy, sticks, garden gnomes, you name it. Just because there is no obvious weapon like a gun or knife doesn’t mean you can’t improvise one. More on improvised weapons in this post.

What is the setting? Is it day or night? Are they indoors or out? What is the lighting? The weather? The terrain? Take all these things into consideration when planning your scene. If your characters are outside a home, they can throw each other into the side of the house, a tree, a car parked in the driveway, the rose bushes, a swing set. This is your chance to create an exciting and unique fight scene. Have fun with it.

Pay attention to the character’s distance from each other. If they are further away, they might use kicks (See Melinda’s post on different types of kicks). When in striking distance, they can punch and block and slug it out (See Melinda’s post on punches). If they are in very close, they can uppercut under the chin, into the neck, into the solar plexus, or into the groin. Maybe a character takes the other guy down and they start grappling (wrestling). Arm bars, locks or chokes can be used either on the ground or standing. The possibilities are only limited to your imagination.

Just remember that a fight scene needs to be important to the story, not gratuitous. The fighting must be within character and believable. And if you aren’t sure something will work, get out of the chair, find a willing partner and experiment with your fight choreography together.

~KM Fawcett

What Does She Want From Her Hero?

Scott and I on Tsuken Island (Okinawa, Japan)

After recently turning in my manuscript, synopsis, and blurb to my agent to pitch, I’ve been brainstorming my next novel and could use your help. The hero of this story is the brother of the last story’s hero, so his personality, goals, and motivation are pretty well defined already.

But…

This is a romance novel and my hero needs a heroine. I’ve been racking my gray matter trying to come up with the kind of woman this hero needs. I figured since he has a strong personality, and thinks a little too highly of himself, he needs a strong woman who isn’t impressed by his macho attitude (he’s not really macho, he just thinks he is…think Howard Wolowitz on the Big Bang Theory, only not as nerdy or creepy).

Back to the heroine.

I want her to be physically strong, confident and teach karate (hey, everyone says write what you know, so I figured why not a karate instructor?) and she comes from a big family. My hero only has one family member so this will be a big adjustment for him especially when confronted with a few protective older brothers. 🙂  Not that the heroine needs their protection. She’s pretty good at handling things herself. Oh, did I mention she’s the hero’s sensei? Yup, the hero figures he can’t become a vigilante if he doesn’t know how to fight, and so joins her karate dojo. But he soon learns there’s more to being a “superhero” than punching and kicking.

Now for the part I need your help with…

If the heroine is already a strong, confident woman who owns her own business, what can she learn or gain by being with the hero? What is her vulnerability? What is her character arc? How does she grow to be a better person? Why does she find love with this hero and not anyone else?

Perhaps the answer lies in her reasons for her becoming a dedicated martial artist. I just wish I knew what that reason was. Any suggestions?

~K.M. Fawcett

Writing The Fight Scene

A few weeks ago a writer friend asked me for some help with her fight scene.  She gave me her chapter, minus the fight, so I could get an idea of what was happening in the story.  The chapter was good, but I couldn’t help her with the scene just yet.  I needed more information.

To begin with, I had to know what she wanted to accomplish with the fight.  Did she want the hero to knock out the bad guy?  Maim him?  Kill him?  What are the hero’s and the villain’s experience and skill as fighters?  We’ve already learned from a previous post, Perfection of One’s Character, how important characterization is.  Therefore, knowing the Hero’s background is key.  A boxer fights differently than a karate man.  A karate man fights differently than a grappler.  A grappler fights differently from (insert your style of choice here).  Do the characters have police or military or combat training?  Know your characters!

I also wanted to know what kind of an exchange she wanted to have happen.  A quick exchange of a few blows or an all out brawl?  If she wanted to knock the guy out quietly, the hero might put the villain in a choke hold until he passes out.  If she wanted a lot of action and movement, then she could choreograph a fight scene with punches, blocks, kicks and throws.

Was there a weapon involved?  In this case there wasn’t, but remember in a fight anything can potentially become a weapon, even dirt in the eyes to blind the other guy, sticks, garden gnomes, you name it.  Just because there is no obvious weapon like a gun or knife doesn’t mean you can’t improvise one.  More on this in a future post.

What is the setting?  Is it day or night? Are they indoors or out?  What is the lighting?  The weather?  The terrain?  Take all these things into consideration when planning your scene.  If your characters are outside a home, they can throw each other into the side of the house, a tree, a car parked in the driveway, the rose bushes, a swing set.  This is your chance to create an exciting and unique fight scene.  Have fun with it.

Pay attention to the character’s distance from each other.  If they are further away, they might use kicks (See Melinda’s post on different types of kicks).  When in striking distance, they can punch and block and slug it out (See Melinda’s post on punches).  If they are in very close, they can uppercut under the chin, into the neck, into the solar plexus, or into the groin.  Maybe a character takes the other guy down and they start grappling (wrestling).  Arm bars, locks or chokes can be used either on the ground or standing.  The possibilities are only limited to your imagination.

Just remember that a fight scene needs to be important to the story, not gratuitous.  The fighting must be within character and believable.  And if you aren’t sure something will work, get out of the chair, find a willing partner and experiment with your fight choreography together.

~KM Fawcett

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