Fight scenes. Nowadays, most books have at least one fight where the protagonist has an epic showdown with the antagonist and must fight to the death to save the world. Or, maybe the protagonist is face-to-face with the killer of his family, his enemy, and must take the ultimate revenge. Still yet, your main character may be a trained fighter since birth but must participate in a war to be the ultimate hero and save the Kingdom. Regardless of the circumstances, you want to write a powerful, and realistic, fight scene. How can you do so? Read on for five tips.
-Do Your Research: Does your main character participate in hand-to-hand combat? Are they a trained fighter or part of an army? Does your character have a weapon of choice that they prefer to use such as a sword or a gun? If you have never participated in a fight or used the weapon your protagonist prefers, you need to do your research! Read books, watch movies, go to a gun range, take a self-defense or a concealed weapons class, or talk to an expert. Study terms, stances, and weapons. This will save you from embarrassment later on down the road when your readers pick apart your book and find things that don't make sense or aren't realistic.
-Don't Be Too Technical: Now that you've done all of that research, be careful that you don't get too technical in your writing. Sure, you're an expert on guns, but maybe your reader isn't. You don't want your reader to have to grab a dictionary in the middle of reading your fight scene in order to understand what's going on. Instead, make the fight fast-paced and intense. Replace technical terms with powerful verbs such as pound, crush, or smash. You also want to make sure you don't write a detailed play-by-play of what's going on. Doing so is boring, cuts tension, and slows the pace. Instead, let the reader use their imagination and let them fill in some gaps on their own. Also, don't let repetitive words or phrases in your writing such as he, that, then, or they get in the way of the actual fight. Make sure each sentence is necessary, and use sensory descriptions to keep your scene from being too technical.
-Make The Fight Gripping: What's at stake? If the protagonist wins will evil be erased from the land? If the antagonist wins will the protagonist or someone close to the protagonist die? You want your readers to be engrossed in your fight scene, and not just skip over it, so pack it with emotion. Give your readers a reason to cheer for your protagonist. Is your main character angry, desperate, or determined? Are they afraid of failure, scared, or heartless? Are their hands shaking and their heart racing? Let those emotions play out in your story to increase the tension and raise the stakes.
-Be Realistic: If a person has no formal training, or has never been in a fight before, then it isn't realistic that they will beat the antagonist and win their first fight. In fact, they'll probably get pretty banged up. Show your protagonist's injuries and describe their physical pain. Are they limping, bloody, or injured? Have they broken any bones? Do they need time to heal? If it's a serious fight, it's likely that some characters will have serious life-threatening injuries or even die. Remeber, your protagonist needs a worthy opponent in order for your readers to be invested and root for them. Make your antagonist as strong as or even stronger than your protagonist and don't be afraid to kill off some of your secondary characters.
-Give Your Fight A Purpose: Above all, make sure every fight scene serves a purpose, and don't just fill your novel with fight scenes. Ask yourself: Does this fight scene reveal something important or set up a plot point? If I delete this scene will the storyline be affected? A good way to give your fight purpose is to use dialogue before or after your fight scene. This reveals to the readers why your protagonist cares about the fight and reminds them what's at stake.
I hope you enjoyed this article on writing realistic fight scenes. If you have any questions, or additional tips you would like to share, please leave them in the comments down below!