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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

#1 Fight Scene-Of Oak & Dragons

Title: Of Oak & Dragons
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
A gang threatens a defenseless woman. Alone and without visible weapons, Leah tries to dissuade them from confrontation. For their own welfare. Because she is lethal and they will die if she allows the rapier to control her actions in combat.

They laughed and I felt a chill. The leader took a step closer. I could smell his body; hear his heart, his breathing. His thoughts…

…and my essence expanded in a concentric circle, encompassing everything within the area…

Five adversaries, one close, his left arm in front, hand extends…all the others freeze in stasis…side step easily…check the others…turn back, fling assailant away. He falls into a rocky protuberance, unable to deflect his fall, his face smears with blood…spits out bits of white…stand away, glance at slower figures, back to man. Now he stands, wipes his mouth, and emits guttural curses. He pulls knife from pocket…crouches and lunges…

….glitter of gold and black….swing arm…must allow man to live…must allow to live…

The world rushed back to me, whirling into my body like a miniature maelstrom. In a moment of time, the briefest mote of time, I saw the other thugs at the edge of the clearing, their eyes wide and staring, utterly still in shock.

My arm is raised high and holding the long elegant rapier, the gold flashing in the sun.

The man who would not back down because his gang would see his cowardice stood with a bemused look on his face. His arm ended just above his elbow spurting blood, the hand - still clasping the knife - on the ground, detached from his body.


Tara Tyler said...

fight scenes are hard to write! so much action in a short time.
i love the magical, possessive golden rapier!
i think i figured out what was happenning, but it was hard to tell who was doing what. i can tell the author wants us to feel the intensity of the scene, writing as few details as possible, but we do need a little more. hope that makes sense =)

defcon said...

Too many ellipses.

Ellipses are long pauses. By putting them in your action scene, you're actually slowing down the action, not speeding it up. You want dashes - but don't overuse them. Dashes are quick, not a full pause like a comma.

This: his left arm in front, hand extends…all the others freeze in stasis…side step easily…check the others…turn back, fling assailant away.
Does not make any sense. Sounds like a robot talking. Who's side-stepping? Who got flung? These actions need to be attached to somebody, so we can visualize what's happening. Stating action after action is not better than telling. Show me the action, don't tell me it. And don't forget characters' reactions! Sometimes the reaction is more important than the actually action, also makes you characters feel less like dolls.

Huntress said...

As I formatted this example from Dragons, I re-read it and thought Holy Crap this makes no sense.
Taken from the last third of the MS, without the context of earlier fight scenes and her conversations with the hidden rapier, I absolutely agree: It is nonsensical.
But I shrugged, said my famous ‘oh well’ and posted it anyway.
This is an example of extreme internal dialogue, first person, present tense. While the action is happening, the MC is living it at that moment. Very difficult to do, btw.
Thanks for the feedback...must kill all ellipses...now....STOP I SAID!

Brooke R. Busse said...

I think the cause of the confusion in that paragraph is the fact that you start out with what the man is doing, and then start relaying what your MC is doing.