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Fight scene heavy works and age of writer

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Swordfry, May 9, 2016.

  1. Swordfry

    Swordfry Troubadour

    I was reading an old (and way too poorly written to be shared, lol) story I wrote back in high school partly for fun, and for practice as it will become one of my big stories set in my fictional world. I noticed something that I have seemed to grow out of some by now: There are fight scenes, and lots of them. I realized that I was practically writing just for the fight scenes, with only some character building and scenery in between. I have also noticed this in a couple other friends who are aspiring authors around my age, in the mid twenties. Jus seems way too heavy on the fight scenes.

    But now I have grown out of writing fight scenes so much, and realize that slower chapters that build character, or other kinds of action scenes like a chase scene, or lugging a dead body that needs to be hidden can be so much more interesting.

    Is anyone else like this? Do you think that there might be some relation between the author's age and how full of combat their works are?
  2. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    Hard to say if everyone is like this, or if it has to do with age or just the experience of the writer, but I suspect this could be a limited understanding of what can be considered action. One piece of writing advice that gets thrown around is start with action.

    Some may think action means fighting, but can really mean a lot of other things, like you mentioned trying to hide a dead body, a heated argument, etc.

    For myself, when I started writing, I didn't really understand how to construct a story. I just wrote stuff down on instinct. The stories usually came in two forms, either a deep introspection or some sort of "exciting" action. To others, it was probably boring. I didn't understand how to put those two things together so each mattered and was working together to have a point.

    Maybe what you're seeing is one part of what new writers go through, the action stuff. Maybe others see the other end, only the broody introspection stuff.
    TheCatholicCrow and Swordfry like this.
  3. valiant12

    valiant12 Sage

    I don't think that there is a direct correlation between the authors age and the amount of fight scene .
  4. Malik

    Malik Auror

    It's not that I write fewer fight scenes twenty-five years on, I just put a lot less in them.

    Shameless plug: I've got a few fight scenes clipped from my novel at my blog.
  5. trentonian7

    trentonian7 Troubadour

    Maybe experience or maturity would be a more plausible origin than age; and not necessarily social maturity, but maturity as a writer.
    Malik likes this.
  6. Tom

    Tom Istar

    I've found that as I've gotten older my fight scenes haven't decreased, but they have changed in focus. My old fight scenes were mostly exhibition, showing off what my characters could do and trying to be the same level of heart-pounding exhilaration as an action movie (keyword "trying").

    Now my fight scenes are more about showing characters' traits--how they move and what weapons they use, how far they're willing to go in a fight, whether they fight dirty or not, whether they fight purely out of self-defense or not, etc. I like using fight scenes to develop character interaction as well--is she the sort who'll push you behind her and defend both of you, or the sort who fends for only herself? Do they work well together as a team, or do they fight together but not as a unit? Can he adapt his combat style to mesh well with yours, or are you constantly ducking and dodging his quarterstaff swings/blade sweeps?

    Bringing characterization into the mix makes things a lot more interesting than including fight scenes just for the *bang* *pow* *crash* *kick* factor.
    Swordfry and Malik like this.
  7. Devouring Wolf

    Devouring Wolf Sage

    I'm the opposite actually, when I was younger I used to skip over writing fight scenes because I've always loved slower moments. These days I'm adding more of them in, but they're probably the hardest thing for me to write and I only use them if the plot absolutely calls for it.
  8. Velka

    Velka Sage

    I'm with Tom, while I love a good fight scene, the ones I write now have more purpose than just being awesome and action-packed. I also find I have achieved better balance in length and detail. Some of my old ones went on and on and on with every jab, parry, and kick included in nauseating detail. Now my fight scenes are more about the senses, the emotions, and the decisions the characters make instead of an embarrassing list of verbs and adverbs.
    Swordfry and Tom like this.
  9. Swordfry

    Swordfry Troubadour


    Exactly. I've noticed this with myself. Just in my first trilogy I'm working on alone, there have been several characters that were not just great fighters, but actually unmatched by almost none, and all the focus was just on how awesome they were. Now I have been putting more character into each fight, and a lot of my fight scenes prove a point about at a character like the extent of their ego, the sharpness of their mind due to decades of experience, etc.

    I also used to want to focus way too much on each individual movement of every body part in a fight scene, but not anymore (partly because it's very tedious) Personally, I blame a certain author and the adventures of a certain drow elf swordsman I drew on very heavily all throughout grade school and even to this day :)
    Tom likes this.
  10. Russ

    Russ Istar

    I am also the reverse. When I was younger my fight scenes were rarer because I did not really know what I was talking about and thus had to be quite cautious or vague writing them.

    Now I have been studying medieval martial arts for about a decade, and having fought with period weapons and armour many times and spent a lot of time with a longbow I am much more confident in writing fight scenes.

    That does not mean that they are getting longer, as a matter of fact they are getting shorter.
  11. We Rise Above

    We Rise Above Dreamer

    It's possible that age may be connected to the number of fight scenes - I feel that older writers are perhaps more aware of the importance of relationships and character in a story, rather than action. Besides, those older writers are able to call on more life experience, so they have a better understanding of how their characters might feel in a given situation.

    Stories I wrote in school were, IIRC, nearly all action. Now I realise that that might be very boring for the reader. Although there are some authors that can describe violent events very well (Joe Abercrombie, for instance), I find that a few fight scenes, spread throughout the story, can be sufficient.

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