Fight scenes can be difficult to write because they are often fast paced, confusing and involve a lot of moving around with descriptions of who is doing what. If you don’t do this well you will either leave the reader confused as to who is doing what or over-direct and lose the pace needed for the scene, in which case the reader will be bored.
The best way to learn how to write a good fight scene is to look at other writers who do them well. Kelley Armstrong and Stephen King both write fantastic fight scenes effectively building up the tension and pace before a physical fight even begins.
More so than love scenes and death scenes, the fight scene can take many different forms. The most common are probably:
This is usually a one-on-one fight that may or may not have spectators. Should it be more than one-on-one I would still put it in this category unless it is more appropriately placed in as a ‘battle’ or a ‘brawl’ (see below).
This generally involves two sides consisting of several numbers fighting against one another and this would normally be over a period of time. This would most commonly be associated with historical fiction but remember this could also be applied to other situations: the office v the factory staff, the boys v the girls in the playground etc.
This involves several characters all fighting against one another with no defined sides. Think pub fights.
Remember the above purely relates to numbers and the format of ‘sides’ and this is only how I categorise them. Also, don’t just assume a fight is physical; it can be verbal or psychological too.
Generally you need to make sure you have some build up before the penultimate fight scene, much in a similar way to a love scene. You need to develop the background and plot in order to demonstrate how your characters come to the scene itself. Also, you probably want your readers to be rooting for one of the fight participants (either the individual or side) and this needs to be progressed over time. Like the death scene, if your reader has not developed a care for the characters the outcome will not be of importance to them.
With the basics covered here are my recommendations for music that should help you get in the right frame of mind for writing that fight scene.
Ceasar by I Blame Coco is an inspirational song that could easily get you in the right mood. Elevation by U2 was on the soundtrack to Tomb Raider and is upbeat. Of course I could not have this blog without the mention of the classic soundtracks of Kill Bill and The Matrix .
Rock & Roll Queen by The Subways
Lord of the Rings- Two Towers Soundtrack
The Fight Song by Marilyn Manson
Breathe by The Prodigy