We’ve had a stressful couple of weeks trying to navigate through my father’s visit and trying to save one of our dog’s eye from infection while feverishly editing and writing. Sorry for no new posts.
I’m trying something new, for me at least. Okay I’ve got this fight scene where 8 different fights are happening one right after the other. But to the reader it will appear that the fights are all happening simultaneously. A character from one fight will “ask a question” and then it cuts to a character from another fight “answering” it. So for the reader it will all seem like one continuous fight/conversation going on. My problem comes from when I actually sit down to write it I’m getting a lot of “start/stops” like I’ll cut from one of the eight fights to another and then go, “no wait, not fight # 5. jumping to #3 would be more impactful.” Only to jump to #3 and go, “no wait”. I’ve tried mapping the scene out in notes, but that just makes me feel like I’m spinning my wheels. Maybe hammering away at the stop/starts until I get something I like is the best way to go. Or I could write out all 8 fights, take out the best bits of each of them and then slam them together. And I’ll do that if it comes down to it, but it just seems like a lot of samey work for just one scene. What I’m asking is, do you have any pointers on how to streamline the process for creating a scene like this? And if not thank you for taking the time to read this and letting me rant my writing frustrations…so much frustration.K.
I am not quite sure what you’re envisioning here. Is it one long fight with various opponents? How many people are involved?
It probably doesn’t really matter, because if the conversation is happening during a life and death struggle, then it must be vitally important. So the conversation will take center stage. The fight will become a backdrop.
Keep the fight simple and varied. You don’t need to go into great detail on the action, because the reader’s focus should be on conversation, and if you describe too many maneuvers, you will distract them too much. He buried his sword in the man’s gut is perfectly fine in this case. We don’t need to know that his opponent attacked in the pretentious phoenix stance and he parried with a northern bullshit maneuver, then responded with a self-indulgent master riposte. Short, clear, to the point.
Concentrate on big flashy moments that add to character development. The way character fights, just as the way character approaches sex, tells a lot about their personality. Is this particular character pragmatic enough to stab someone in the stomach and move on, not bothering to finish the kill, or is she going for a flashy thrust to the throat? Is he dodging the attacks or parrying them, trying to tire his opponent?
This might help:
Dina was screaming something. Maud spun, trying to parry and keep her in view, but the raiders closed in on her, locking her into a ring of bodies. Too many…
A deafening roar tore from behind the raiders. Bodies went flying like they were made of straw. The huge female vampire in front of her collapsed, blood spray flying from her ruined skull, and the Krahr knight burst into the ring, his fangs bared. He brained the raider to her right with a vicious swing, and hammered a savage uppercut into the stomach of the one on her left. The faulty armor cracked with a sound of crushed nut shells. The raider doubled over, and the Krahr drove his left elbow into the back of his neck. The blow swept the raider off his feet, sending him to the side. One moment there were two bellowing vampires. The next there was only the Krahr, brandishing his mace.
The raiders stared, awestruck for a moment, and she used every fraction of it to stab and slice as much as she could. The ring around them widened and suddenly Maud found herself back to back with the Krahr knight.
“My lady,” he said in that deep cultured voice. “I apologize for not arriving sooner in your time of dire need.”
Hell would freeze over before she would owe another vampire. “Not that dire, my lord. Please don’t bestir yourself on my behalf.”
She dropped, spinning, kicked a vampire’s legs from under her ,and stabbed her in the throat on her way down.
He smashed his mace into the shoulder of a raider with a bone-snapping crunch. “I insist.”
She parried a swing that nearly made her drop her blade and drove her dagger into the raider’s groin, punching through the damaged armor by pure luck. “No need.”
He struck at the vampire on his left, took a hit to the shoulder from another, grunted, reversed his swing, and hammered a devastating blow to the new opponent. The vampire bent forward from the impact and the Krahr drove his fist into the back of his head.
“Please, allow me this small diversion. I’m but a guest on your planet. It was a long trip and I have sat for far too much of it.”
Argh. He out-mannered her. As absurd as his claim was, he backed her into the role of the host and the laws of vampire hospitality dictated that the guests were to be indulged.
Wait, I’m not a vampire. Why does it even matter?
A male vampire kicked. She stumbled back, bounced off the Krahr’s broad back and threw herself into the fray.