Write Like a FighterImprove your action scenes with insight from a martial artist
An engaging fight scene can strengthen your readers’ connection with your protagonist.
Action scenes should propel the plot and the overall character development. Plus, they should be badass, right? In the Fight Like a Writer series, you’ll find the details to make your fight scenes believable from a logistics side—no one escapes a knife fight without getting cut, for example—as well as the emotional mindset during a fight and how to leverage that internal conflict to maintain reader investment and keep them turning the pages.
Chelsea is a martial artist with experience in Krav Maga, Muay Thai, Filipino Martial Arts (Eskrima, Arnis, Kali) and small-circle Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Her strongest focuses are hand-to-hand combat and weapons disarm techniques. (Though she find stick fighting incredibly fun.)
If you want to craft accurate narration, emotion, and character development through fight scenes, you’ve come to the right place.
10 Character Questions to Build Better Fight Scenes
If you’re working on a scene where your protagonist is in a situation where self-defense is necessary, these are the types of questions can help your characters (and you) determine what the next steps should be.
These questions should also open gateways for descriptors that indicate what needs to happen without you saying “he knew how to throw a punch.” Read more
A typical petite, urban fantasy heroine takes out a guy twice her size. We read it often, and I hear readers suggest she couldn’t really win that fight without supernatural abilities. It’s her vampire speed, the animal instincts of werewolf nature or magic slows time down for her.
I’m here to tell you a small woman can dismantle a large attacker without preternatural abilities of any sort. Really. Read More.
Fight dirty. If you’ve read Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, you’ll know Bones teaches Cat to always kick the person when they’re down. He’d fit into the Krav world.
If you’re fighting for your life, there are no rules. Scratch their face. Kick them in the groin (this is practiced frequently). Bite. Whatever it takes to win. If your characters are playing by any fighting rules, then you’re missing the must-win element. Read more.
5 Reasons We Punch People in the Face (and Alternatives for More Interesting and Accurate Fight Scenes)
I’m a big fan of punches. My left hook is wicked and I’ll sneak it into pretty much any sparring match. However, it’s not always the best pick, particularly when you’re up against someone significantly bigger. Smaller women can absolutely win a hand-to-hand fight against larger men, but a punch to the face isn’t going to be your fight opener because reach (a.k.a. actually punching directly to their face without having to reach upward) will be an issue. Read more.