Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fight Scenes And Fighting Experiences

Another writer's fine blog post kicked off a few things in my head about writing fictional combats. I have always felt it one of my strengths in writing, but never bothered to delve into why I think that is.

So, here we go:

I have been in more than a few fights as an adult, many of them serious.

The majority were open-hand, or transitioned from weapons, namely impact or aerosol to open hand techniques. Less often, I have gone from open hands to weapons.

I have fought one on one and been part of a rat-pack trying to subdue an individual.

I have had to fight either sex, with instances of females larger and heavier than I am.

I have fought  the wounded, the cracked-out, the week-long cocaine-binger, the PCP smokers, the drunkards, the mentally ill, and those that combined a number of the above altered states into a gestalt of mayhem.

I have fought clothed people and very memorably, naked people. Just not at the same time.

I have made people bleed, and been made to bleed. I have sent people to the hospital. I have been sent to the hospital.

So, more often than not, after all the sound and fury was over, I had to write a narrative of the event. It is there that I developed what experience I have narrating combat.

It is difficult to recall events in their proper sequence,  especially when those events happen in a highly charged atmosphere of danger and fear. Then add the requirement that I describe what both parties did that led to the conflict and  do so in a manner the lay-person can easily understand, and you might be able to see where one could develop some ability with describing combat scenes.

For fiction, all that is left is to make shit up; something that is expressly and entirely forbidden in my day job. So of course, I love to do it in my writing.


  1. I'm currently writing a cop MC, and it's fun to know that no matter what sort of crazy bullshit I throw into her history, it's still not crazier than reality.

  2. Just remember, for every five seconds of a fight, there's five days of court. If anyone was really injured, then that time frame increases by a factor of ten. If there is an allegation of excessive force, things get even longer, and the officer is likely to be taken out of public contact position, working records, dispatch, etc.

  3. Yup. In my reincarnation story one of my characters gets in a physical fight. She describes the build-up to it in great detail. But the actual fight is one big blur in her mind.
    I wrote it that way because that's how the few fights I've been in felt. I remember before and after but the actual fight is usually....uhhh...what just happened?

  4. Fascinating description of the writing process.