Do your characters fight right?
Action is often a big part of the fantasy and sci-fi genres. Your story may not have a classic saloon-type brawl—or a brawl of any kind—but chances are, one of your characters will need to throw a punch at some point, even if in self-defense. This may sound like a simple scene to write, however, that may not always be the case.
Many writers spend hours at the library or on the internet researching hobbies, occupations, history, and other lifestyle shapers that their characters inhabit—especially if that writer has never done those things themselves. Yet, when it comes to fighting, many of us may fall into the trap of assuming we know how to fight from what we’ve seen on television. But not everything we see in the movies is even close to reality.
Would you attempt to go scuba diving with no training? What about that bathroom renovation—would you lift a single hammer without planning what you want to do first? Even something as simple as baking a cake needs direction, especially for someone who has never donned an apron. So why would you neglect putting just as much effort into learning how to take your characters through a realistic fight scene?
As I said before, many movies add extra drama to their action scenes by inserting moves that just aren’t realistic. The proverbial “neck snap” is actually much harder to achieve than what the big baddie in that superhero movie might make you think. Even trained professionals would have a hard time pulling that one off in the heat of battle. And do you even know if it’s truly possible to kill someone with a hit to the nose? The surprising answer is no, it has never been done. Yet so many television shows will have us believing it is possible.
So, what are average writers who haven’t spent years of their life training in martial arts or boxing to do? Luckily we have many different websites at our disposal to help direct our manuscript and deliver the perfect action to our fantasy and sci-fi works.
One such website I’ve found particularly helpful is FightWrite.net. This faith-based site covers everything from hand-to-hand combat, to various types of knives and other weaponry, and, of course, when and how to use them. It will even tell you if your character really can wear a katana on their back or exactly how to escape handcuffs.
We pour our heart and soul into every word of our writing. Oftentimes we spend hours researching and learning new skills, just for the sake of our stories. So why would we allow a single action scene within our story to pull the reader out of the world we’ve created and back to reality?
Learning to fight right—and fight write—could set your story apart from all the other fantasy and sci-fi books on the shelf, adding that much needed “punch” to your story.
Laura L. Zimmerman is a homeschooling mom to three daughters, and a doting wife to one husband. Besides writing, she is passionate about loving Jesus, singing, drinking coffee and anything Star Wars. You can connect with her through Facebook and Twitter and at her website, www.lauralzimmerman.com