A few days ago, I was working on a complicated fighting scene between two supernatural beings in book #8 in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series.
To describe the fight accurately, I was getting up, using a wooden kitchen spoon to technically rehearse every step of the battle, before sitting down and explaining the movement and natural body reaction on the ‘theoretically’ inflicted pain.
It took me close to four hours for a fight that took a mere two pages to write. And yes, the argument does include a bit of pain, wings, bruises, and a severe knee injury.
Now, being a martial artist myself might have helped me big time to take this challenge on and solve the problem the way I did. But other writers might not have that [indeed minimal] advantage. How are they doing it? Is their fantasy more extended than mine?
Previously I mentioned my fighting scene took up about two pages of the book. Generally, that is a lot of room for one scene. But that is why I rehearsed. I had to make sure the fight was thrilling and still described well in an imaginative short manner.
Fighting scenes in books are incredibly different from fighting scenes in movies. Compared to what we see, reading the fight in a book has to tickle our own imagination. We don’t follow a fighter with our eyes… we follow him/her with our mind.
To see Bruce Lee fighting twenty opponents to the same time and describing the same scene in words, would need our book ten to twelve pages. To a reader, that would be incredibly boring. Most readers would never read through the entire fight. It would be a complete waste of time and effort. A reader would only jump the pages to the end of the battle. Most of them are interested in who wins.
Therefore I had to shorten something that usually takes about ten to fifteen minutes in a movie to two pages in my book. To catch the essential things in my fight, I was rehearsing to myself.
As an author, how do you write fighting scenes? Do you rehearse too? And as a reader, do you enjoy reading fighting scenes, and if yes, how long should they be to not bore you out of your skin? Thank you for telling us in the comments.