Fight! Or, Get You Characters Moving!

I love writing fight scenes. Gun fights, sword fights, martial arts, a mix of all three... I love to imagine them in my mind and write them down. I have been known to break out action figures in order to act out scenes I've got in my head.

Cloud Strife Versus Lara Croft? Quick, somebody write the crossover fanfiction!

Moving your characters brings them to life.  In an action setting, they need to move fast and with style.  Today I'm offering you some ways to get inspired to make your characters awesome.


The key to a good fight is pacing, something I keep discovering as I edit. Characters can't break into thought while they're blocking a punch to the face.  

You've also got to be economical with your language while writing a fight.  Things have got to move fast otherwise there's no sense of urgency.  Here's an example:

Her foot shot out, knocking the sword aside to give her a clear shot.


Her foot shot out, the thick sole of her hefty boot saving her from a nasty slash.  Knocking the sword aside, she finally had a clear shot at his chest.

There's too much going on in that second example.  Write a fight with minimal interference from descriptive language.

It's also not good to let fights ramble on. Break the action up – the character finds a place to hide from pursuit, they take down their enemy, they lose the car chasing them down... Peaks and troughs in action are good for the flow, lulling the reader into a false sense of security before you crank up the pace.

Some Inspiration

Here's one of my favourite tracks to listen to while writing fight scene:

Recognise the blond dude on the left? Anyway, this is from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and yes, this CGI movie contains some amazing fight scenes.

I watch a lot of different fight scenes to keep my imagination ticking over. Real-life martial arts demonstrations, Jackie Chan movies, action movies, Japanese anime, videogames and TV shows are all great sources for me.  I also watch dance, gymnastics and free running/parkour to get a sense of rhythm and how the body can move. It's a lot of fun.

Here are some favourites. I hope they'll inspire you too!

Dead Fantasy 1 and 2.  It's completely insane but my favourite *amateur made* fight scene.  If you recognise the characters, they're from some pretty big game franchises.  But never mind that.  Sit back, enjoy and get inspired!  There are 5 Dead Fantasy films, but the first two are the absolute best.

This is a Taekwondo demonstration.  Just over a minute in these people really start to show off their skills.

The mindblowing art of free running.  The music from this is also an EPIC remix of the One Winged Angel theme. It's already creeping up my iTunes playlist ;)

Hope you're inspired and motivated.  Happy Writing!


  1. I love that Monty Oum video so much! It blows my mind.

    On the same line as that free running... I love to listen to African Rundown from Casino Royale to get pumped! Really anything from that film works, though. ;)

  2. Laura: I looooooove the Casino Royale OST so much. African Rundown is epic, and that whole scene still gives me chills!

    I can't wait for more from Monty Oum. His is a unique talent!


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