Writing Fight Scenes by Marie Brennan

WritingFightScenesIf you’re anything like me, fighting scenes are among the most challenging. Even if they flow when you’re writing them, they sound wooden when you go back. You spend twice as much time on fight scenes as any other scenes in the book, sometimes more than that. So you might be pretty excited about the title of this book. I know I was. In fact, it was one of the most exciting titles I saw in the Writer Tools book bundle.

Marie Brennan is an author who has not only written many fight scenes in her time but who also has some practical experience in both martial arts and fencing. She uses examples from her own work and life as well as some well known books and movies including The Princess Bride(definitely one of my favourite things about this book).

Writing Fight Scenes goes through all the important aspects of a fight scene: who’s in it, why they’re fighting, where they’re fighting and what they’re fighting with. It focuses primarily on how to weave the fight scene into your story and goes into great detail about how you can write an excellent fight scene without getting into much technical details.

Out of everything in this book, I found the sections about emotions and pacing the most useful. Pacing is definitely one of my biggest issues in a fight scene. I’m always torn between impressively long scenes to show off my characters’ skills and short, punchy scenes that focus purely on the chaos of battle. Reading this book has given me some excellent tools for deciding how to pace battle scenes in my next project–and how to improve pacing in the ones I’ve already written.

The section about different combat styles and weapons wasn’t quite as extensive as I would have liked, but I’m the type of person who would have been completely fine if this was a 700 page book that went into extensive, gruesome details–and I’m also smart enough to know that even that wouldn’t have been able to truly cover every style of fighting. Brennan does talk briefly about different types of swords as well as other common weapons like bows, maces and slings.

Overall I think most writers whose work involves battle scenes will get a lot out of this book, especially if most of their battle scenes are one-on-one or small group fights. Purchase your copy today and prepare to take your fight scenes to the next level!

2 thoughts on “Writing Fight Scenes by Marie Brennan

  • Eric Jame Spannerman

    I’ll have to check this one out. I wrote a fight scene at the conclusion of my current project, and it confused beta readers so completely, I ended up cutting most of it.

    • dlgunn

      I’ve gotten really good at writing short or partial fight scenes, but when there’s a reason for it to go on a bit longer–say, the final battle between two master warriors–I have a really, really tough time. But this book gives an excellent framework for writing fight scenes and lots to think about; you’ll probably just want to look elsewhere for detailed info about specific styles of fighting.

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