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Leicester - Building a Fight Scene

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Joined: 14 Aug 2005
Posts: 205
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:55 am    Post subject: Leicester - Building a Fight Scene Reply with quote

James gave 6 critical things to think about before beginning to write a fight scene:

Who starts in the fight
Who survives the fight
Who wins
Why the fight happens
How the fight advances the story and the characters
Point of view

James gave some good examples of point of view using examples from Demonstorm and Cry of the Newborn.

An excellent example of a fight progressing the story was given using a fight in David Gemmells Legend.
Member and President of the Will Begman Appreciation Society.
Fantasycon 2005 Walsall Attendee
Fantasycon 2006-2009 Nottingham Attendee
Fantasycon 2010 Nottingham (stopped over for lunch)
Fantasycon 2011 Brighton (Is that in France?)
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Joined: 07 Mar 2005
Posts: 1081
Location: Easington, UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was probably the lengthiest and most in-depth part of the workshop.

This word cropped up a lot during the session, but it still rings true no matter how often: credibility. To this you should also be adding consistency.

If you're dealing with soldiers, trained fighting men etc, they will have a favoured fighting style which they'll adopt during close-quarter combat. Stick with that style. Unless there's a good reason as to why someone is repeatedly switching styles, don't have your character(s) using one style against one guy, such as acrobatic hand-to-hand Tai-Gethen esque methods, and then against someone else start using sumo wrestling or something. I know fighters, good fighters, can adapt to their opponents but the overriding style will still remain unless, as I saym, you build in a good reason as to why.

As for credibility, this simply comes down to thinking about your fights logically. How often, honestly, would you expect a farm boy to defeat a professional veteran? Barring accidents, external interference or massive amounts of luck, the farm boy will die, every time. But, if your farm boy does come out victorious, don't have it relying on huge slices of luck or wild accidents every time. Fantasy readers, any readers probably, can take a lot with a pinch of salt and be happy, but don't try to repeatedly get away with it.

Weapons - again, an area where logical thought comes into it. If someone's using a 6ft broadsword, they're going to need about 5ft of space all around them to swing the sword and move. being hit with said sword is like being hit with a tree; a tree with a razor-sharp edge that WILL take off a limb, will bend and rend plate armour to the point of rendering it lethal to the wearer. Daggers are the opposite. They're meant for stabbing and limited slicing and piercing. Do'nt have anyone slicing someone's arm of with a dagger unless there's magic afoot. Very Happy

Battles. Or, more to the point, mass battles. These are, on the front line, horrific, chaotic, frantic, terrifying ordeals. James mentioned something Napolean said: "No battleplan ever survives first contact with the enemy". And, really, he's right. Don't try to choreograph a precision, perfect battle as there's never (or very, very rarely) a perfect battle. Something can always happen. If you've men being cut down by the score, you need to remember that there will be huge noise (chants, weapons clashing orders, wails of fear, howls of pain, anger - everything), the ground will be slick with blood and gore, the gore and blood will give rise to foul and awful smells (blood, vomit, guts, piss, shit - see what comes out the next time you gut a chav), flies, carrion... people will slip in guts, have trouble finding their footing and generally have no clue what's happening beyond trying to kill the guy in front of them.
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