I first wrote about how to write hand-fighting scenes HERE. So I wanted to continue with more tips to keep in mind when writing a great piece of action, but keeping it realistic and believable.
Flippy Do: Okay, no matter what you see on The Matrix and Sucker Punch, people don't do all kinds of flips and somersaults during a fight. It's more for aesthetics and cinema fun. But in your book, don't have characters doing all kinds of flips and other stupid acrobatics during a fight. If my opponent is doing a flip, guess what - EASY target. A good way to get your ass kicked is to do a flip during battle. (A couple caveats - if you're writing sci-fi and there's zero gravity, doing flips and all kinds of stunts can become part of the battle a la Ender's Game).
It Hurts to Hurt: I wrote about getting punched in the face, and how that can really just knock you out of a fight immediately, unlike in the movies where actors can get a crowbar over the head and they're just fine. But let me tell you, if you hit someone in the face with your fist, it not only hurts the hittee, but it hurts the hitter too! If you punch someone square in the face, their teeth might even scratch your knuckles.
There is a technique to be able to strike someone with your fist and it not hurt too bad:
1)Make a fist and stick it out with your arm just slightly bent. Now look at which knuckles are jutting out - most people will punch someone with that middle knuckle and the ring finger knuckle. That will hurt your hand.
|Proper fist alignment|
2)Adjust your wrist slightly so that your pointer finger and middle knuckle are the knuckles facing your opponents face - have that little dip between these two knuckles line up with your forearm - I always think of the fangs of a python sticking out. That alignment is what allows real fighter to hit people with little or no pain.
3)With everything lined up, your arm becomes a steel rod. No bend at the wrist. Go ahead and practice hitting someone with this alignment - pick someone you don't like, as you will rock them into next week.
If your character is taking a big ass John Wayne swing (a giant hook), lining up your knuckles, fist, and wrist is impossible. So keep that in mind too.
Sentence Structure. Many experts tell you to write short sentences during actions scenes. And that sounds like pretty good logic. I'm of the opinion that even during fight scenes, you should continue to vary your sentence lengths. Writing short sentences, one after another, might make your fight sound like movie script direction. In fact, go for long sentences in the middle of it - this would be a good time on using a comma and conjunction to join two sentences. Longer sentences during fight scenes is a great way to keep the writer reading one continuous piece of action, making it more exciting.
|"Your mother was a hamster..."|
"This ends now."
"The game is over."
"You will lose."
"Go for it."
"One shall stand, and one shall fall."
"Your powers are weak, old man."
Okay, I was having some fun with the last few there. How can you not include a little Rocky or Star Wars? Dialog before or even during a fight can be a good way to show further characterization, but just make sure it's not hokey. Villains don't really reveal their evil schemes during a battle, and heroes don't really have flashbacks of their training when getting their asses kicked.
Thinking Cap. You want the fight to be personal, and you definitely want to capture the battle so that your reader feels like he/she is actually there. And I've read many fight scenes where I am inside the fighter's mind. However, this is another red flag where things can go wrong very quickly. Have YOU ever been in a fight? Let me tell you, you're not really thinking about anything. If you're wounded, the pain and the flash of wonder if you've broken something or if your flesh is ripped open is on your mind. But you're not thinking about stuff during a fight. In a fight, you just DO. You don't think about it. Unless your character is a thinker and NOT a real warrior, don't overdo the internal thoughts. The internal dialog should be super short. Quick.
Bruce Lee had a word for this: mushin. It's Chinese for "without mind." Real fighters train so that the movements became as involuntary as breathing. Thinking too much will get you killed.
|"I'm blind! But I will still beat you up!"|
As I wrote last March, when you get hit in the head, you do see stars. It's probably the brain the optical nerves misfiring. And you do see double and triple vision. It's freaky, and it doesn't just go away with a shake of the head. It lingers for a long time depending on the power of the blow.
In fights, people get hurt. Wounds are a great way to provide yet another challenge and move the plot along. Injuries build character!