August 20th, 2015

ISeeYou2

Writing Excuses 10.33: Combat, with Marie Brennan.

Writing Excuses 10.33: Combat, with Marie Brennan.

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2015/08/16/writing-excuses-10-33-combat-with-marie-brennan/

Key points: The fight should be part of the story. It should change something for one or more of the characters. Draw a map of the space. For blocking, but also to let you know what the participants can use. Concrete, specific details make combat and action come alive. Don't forget the buildup. Point of view influences what you tell and how you tell it. Don't be afraid to include an iconic moment, an awesome point. Make sure it has stakes involved, and belongs. Beware contrivances, make sure that everything has already been introduced and shown to be important before the fight. Don't forget Chekhov's chainsaw. Finally, what the characters are thinking may be more important than the blocking.
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[Howard] Dan, do you have a writing exercise for us?
[Dan] We do. It actually relates to that exact point. What we would like you to do this week is to take a fight scene, one you have already written, one you are going to write, one you are just going to make up for the purposes of this exercise. But then, before you write it, make a list, actually write this all down. Who is in this fight, and what does each of those people want to get out of it? Write those all down. Then, this is key, write down what you as an author want to get out of the fight. So that you can have all of these various purposes in mind. Then, once you have all of those notes, write the fight scene.
[Howard] Be honest with yourself. If your reason is I want to draw a picture of a blob on a motorcycle with a chainsaw...
[Laughter]
[Howard] That goes on the list.
[Marie] That's perfectly valid.
[Dan] I mean, that's how awesome stuff happens, is when you plan awesome stuff.
[Marie] It is perfectly fair or even desirable to have multiple answers to each of those questions. If your fight is there to do many things at once, so much the better.
[Howard] Outstanding. Marie, thank you for joining us.
[Marie] Thank you.
[Howard] Fair listener, you are out of excuses. Now go write.
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