Fight scenes.

Discussion in 'World Building' started by ALB2012, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Scribal Lord

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    Fight Scenes and Battles this may be useful.
    I just joined a lot of google plus communities and some of the posts are really useful:)
     
    J.D. Hallowell likes this.
  2. saellys

    saellys Grandmaster

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    I like what Byerly says about pacing, but good lord, the examples she gives from her own work are atrocious. If two rivals are having an emotionally-charged swordfight, I do not want to read one's internal monologue the whole time and see only two sentences describing actual dueling.
     
  3. wordwalker

    wordwalker Dark Lord

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    It's a hodge-podge of good ideas, the kind of thing you can learn from but wish it wasn't so much to wade through.

    Call it a crude but decent summary of a week with the Scribes. :)
     
  4. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Agree 100%. Nothing takes me out of suspense more than long sections of internal thought during supposedly mortal combat.
     
  5. Xaysai

    Xaysai Grandmaster

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    I'm confused, I thought the first scene with the sex slave was going to be some kind of "before and after" with that being the before. I was really excited to see the after, but there was none...
     
  6. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Scribal Lord

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    I only read a bit. Yes I don't want someone internalising when someone else is trying to cut of his head with a long sword. Leave the monologue until after the fight.

    I have to say I suspect in reality if you are fighting for your life there is no of the gentlemanly (or ladylike) nonsense. Just kick him in the wotsits or her in the belly and when they go down run them through;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  7. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I would make some exception for quippy dialogue by or between combatants but only if one or both are exceptionally skilled & comfortable in that situation. Even then, I would prefer this be very limited in scope.
     
  8. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Dark Lord

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    That idea reminds me of A Princess Bride and the fight between the Man in Black and Iñigo Montoya, they go here and there dueling like professionals and all the while chatter on about the different styles they could have used instead.
     
  9. gethinmorgan

    gethinmorgan Journeyman

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  10. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Scribal Lord

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    Thanks another perspective is useful.
     
  11. Shockley

    Shockley Scribal Lord

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    Here is my perspective on combat:

    If two individuals are fighting, one of them will die/be injured. There are exceptions, but that's the general intent. If there is hesitation from one of the combatants, the hesitator will die. If one is distracted by other things, such as internal conflict, they will die.

    The secondary aspect is that any level of difference in skill (and this can be actual skill, tactical placement, what have you - all of the potential variables of style, cunning, strength, speed, etc. aggregated into one column) will decide the outcome. Even if the two fighters are both very good, the one who is slightly better should win in a short amount of time.

    I don't know how many of you do any kind of combat sport (I'm a Judo guy, myself), but fights are quick. Of all the matches I had, not one lasted more than a minute. Boxing can drag out, but that's because it was designed to drag out - if you sword fight with someone, someone is going down in a few minutes at the most. Think about fencing: if you exclude break time, the matches are no longer than nine minutes. In a real fight, it's not based on scores, you don't get breaks, etc. first one to score a major hit wins in the real world, and fight scenes in a proper novel should reflect that.

    Internal reflection in a fight is one of the things that will draw me out of a novel immediately. Describe the action, do it quick and clean and get out.
     
  12. Ankari

    Ankari Staff Moderator

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    My rules for fights:

    1. They should be compact.
    2. A vast majority of the time, someone will die or get injured
    3. Leave the internal dialogue out of the fight scene. You can do all the deep thinking after the fight is through.
    4. An exception to the above rule is when there is a natural temporary break in the fight. Don't do this too often.
    5. Even the victor will usually end up injured.

    Compactness doesn't exclude a slightly drawn out fight scene (I've read of a fight scene that involved a chase and it lasted for a bit of time). Just don't keep repeating yourself.
     
  13. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Valar Lord

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    For what little it may be worth, my rule of thumb with fights is

    One.

    Two.

    Three.

    As in three seconds. At the end of that time, in a serious fight to the death, one of the participants will be dead or hurting real bad. Wonky things can and do happen which can drag it out a bit - foot or weapon slipping, a well executed parry, but most of the time, three seconds is about it. Now if the fight involves a chase or some sort of seige/barracade type deal, THEN it can drag on for a while.

    Other thing is, the fight itself is chaotic, and often confusing. Fred's battle buddy gets killed or runs off and Fred doesn't know this until after the fight is over - that sort of thing.

    Hence, the use of short sentences in fight scenes, plus it is entirely possible for the participants to miss things in the heat of battle. .
     
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  14. wordwalker

    wordwalker Dark Lord

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    Short is good. Except, remember armor-- someone who can afford mail takes basic swings with a sword as just a solid bash, and anyone with a shield (most people) will probably take at least a couple swings to work around it. Unless it's a bandit, petty soldier, courtier, or other people (like most heroes, most of the time) that have to travel light or can't afford it.

    Edit: or, sometimes someone's falling back and trying to drag out a fight he can't win.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  15. Shockley

    Shockley Scribal Lord

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    Mail isn't the end all to fighting though, which is an important thing to consider. A relatively late sword or a well placed arrow will go through chainmail fairly easily, which is why they ended up developing things like plate mail. While our modern versions of chain mail (like the ones you get at the renaissance faire) are particularly difficult to get through, you also have to remember that our lowest-level metal workers in the modern day are working with a higher quality grade of ore than even the best smiths for most of human history.

    Another thought I had - when you're fighting someone one-on-one, you tend to get a very select tunnel vision. Just the way the mind works - the character would be nearly incapable of noticing anything about the setting, a swooping in dragon or another swordsman slipping up on the side.
     
  16. wordwalker

    wordwalker Dark Lord

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    Very true. Although, more talented or experienced fighters learn to watch those ways anyway, because the enemy does try to kill them that way.

    (Meanwhile, watch almost any filmed battle and take a drink when someone "fights several foes at once" but they stand back and let their teammates go in one at a time. Then again, when someone's killing your friends before your eyes, hesitating starts to make sense-- but only for a second or so, although that's enough for the best fighters to cut one victim down and intimidate the rest even more.)
     
  17. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Valar Lord

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    In a few of the 'Ffafrd and Grey Mouser' stories, Ffafrd goes up against multiple foes (though not by choice). Despite being a dang good fighter...he ain't exactly thrilled at the prospect, sometimes having internal diatribes about lying bards who talk of ancient heroes doing the same thing. These stories were mostly written long before AD&D and like gaming systems came out.

    Or...even for an expert, taking on two foes at once is a good way to get killed (unless, maybe one of those foes is an incompetent).

    Likewise, fighting with two weapons at the same time is also supposedly pretty tricky.

    In one of my stories, I have the MC go up against two foes in a complex battle scene. His solution - the only workable one I could come up with - was to make an immediate killing attack against one, but that still opened him up for a blow from the other. He escaped the worst of that, but was in a less than great position.
     
  18. wordwalker

    wordwalker Dark Lord

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    Fritz Lieber was a fencer.

    If someone has to get double-teamed, your answer is one of the only two I've heard of; the other is to keep sidestepping so one foe is blocking the other until you can get the nearer one. (It's also possible to kill two at once with a two-handed sword, but you'd think they'd be watching for that.)
     
  19. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Scribal Lord

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    I have been thinking about the main battle scene in my current WIP. The smaller scenes are Ok and they do end up pretty beaten up but I think I need more at the final one.
     
  20. SeverinR

    SeverinR Valar Lord

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    What you don't know is, I am not left handed.
     
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