Toothless Letter V“Pack your bags. We’re taking a trip.”

“Oh, where to?” Sebastien asked.

“I’ll tell you on the way.”

“What should we pack for?

“Violence and rescuing.”

Violence, fighting, a good scrap. If you’re writing fantasy, chances are that at some point or other there is going to be some violence. Especially if you’re going for the classic sword and sorcery sub-genre. It’s right there in the description ‘sword’, that there is going to be some fighting and your readers will expect it.

So there are some things that you should remember when writing violence.

1. Make it realistic, and I don’t mean movie realistic

If you can, go along to a martial arts club, or watch some professional fighters. I do kickboxing myself, and I have to say, that real fights are quite a lot different from the fights in movies, and in the more over the tops novels. It is worth getting the feel for real fights, because it will help you write them.

2. Hey, get into a fight yourself if you can

No, don’t start a bar brawl (unless you really, really want to), but there is no substitute for feeling for yourself what it is like to be in a fight. I know what it’s like to feel that first rush of adrenaline, because it happens whenever I spar. I know what it’s kickboxing1mainlike to get hit in the face, because it’s happened to me (a lot, I really need to work on my defence). I know what it’s like to have your knees buckle from a kick, because it’s happened to me. I know what it’s like to feel so angry you lash out, because I have slight anger issues (there’s a really good reason I took up kick boxing in the first place 😛 ). So if you can, go along to a local club, and get into a fight. It gives you really good insight.

3. Keep it short

Did you know that most fights last for a maximum of thirty seconds? Seriously, fighting is exhausting, and unless you character is in a competition or training, the fight is going to be over very quickly. Most streets fights only have a few punch thrown before someone backs out and the fight is over. So if it’s going to last a long time, there needs to be a darn good reason for it. Because in real life, anyone fighting for more than a minute is going to need some sort of special training to have that stamina. Or it’s a epic battle, because those do last for hours.

4. Let the reader’s imagination do the work

As with other things in the book, don’t over describe the detail. Put in the big moves, the punches and kicks that mean something, and throw in a good chunk of emotion and feelings, but don’t give them a blow by blow commentary as if you’re a commentator at a boxing match. Let the reader use their own imagination to give the fight embellishments and nuances. Draw them into the fight, don’t bore them.

5. Give it a point

Violence without a point is stupid. Really it is. Fighting means a high chance of people getting hurt, no matter who it is that is involved, so why is your character fighting? Are they fighting for the love of a girl? Are they trying to take over a town? Has another character wronged them in the past, and they see that they are about to do something similar and decide to stop them with force? Whatever the reason is, make sure there is one, because fighting without a point is the same as a scene without a point – they both belong in the recycle bin.

And there you have my quick guide to violence. I have quite a few fights in my novels, so it’s something that I do actually have a fair bit of practice writing. So I hope this helps any of you out there who maybe don’t have as much experience writing them.

Can’t believe the A to Z challenge is coming to a close, how are other people doing?

P.S. No that photo is not me, but it IS the club I train at 🙂