SSWS Craft Day Highlight: Writing Fight Scenes

Too much to summarize here at SuperStars Writing Seminar, so I’m just going to pick the one thing that really helped me each day.

I attended two Craft Day sessions and they were both phenomenal: Writing Fight Scenes with Jonathan Maberry; and Building Worlds and Characters with Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. Both were dense with fantastic information. I am going to be thinking about them for a while.

After Jonathan Maberry’s presentation I asked him a question that particularly plagues me with writing fight scenes. I feel sick thinking about them. He told me that was natural and he gave me a recommendation for how to handle it.

He told me to write fight scenes using layers, like this:

  1. Determine the characters’ needs and wants that cause them to fight. This is critical. Don’t just throw fight scenes in just to have a fight scene. Every fight scene must reflect the motivation of the characters and must move the story arc forward.
  2. In an analytical way, perhaps using visual items like little figures, choreograph the fight and write the bare bones down.
  3. Take a Dramamine or sip some ginger ale or suck a ginger candy. Then add the emotional content leading up to, within, and resulting from the fight.
  4. Continue sipping ginger ale and write the damage done to the participants in the fight. Be clinical about the damage.
  5. Write the after-damage, both physical and psychological. Note that violence should create echoes through the character’s life.

Superstars is incredible! I am so lucky to be here to learn from the greats. I hope you are also having a great time today.

Be well, friends!



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