From Better Novel Project:
I recently received this e-mail about fight scenes:
Do you have any advice for creating a fight? I am writing an action/fantasy novel, and I am inexperienced with this particular type of scene. Thank you for any advice you may have! -Sara
. . . .
Deconstructing the Action in a Fight Scene
1. The villain escalates a tense scene into a physical one.
Often, the villain spends time explaining himself before the fight begins. The hero’s primary goal is not to kill the villain, so he isn’t the one who starts the violence. The villain might also take this opportunity to threaten or taunt the hero’s loved ones.
- After Quirrell explains himself, Harry Potter’s fight begins when Quirrell/Voldemort makes a threat: “Now give me the Stone, unless you want [your mother] to have died in vain.”
- After James explains his intent to film Bella’s death and send it as a message to Edward, he changes from conversational to animal-like. “Then he slumped forward, into a crouch I recognized, and his pleasant smile slowly widened, grew, till it wasn’t a smile at all but a contortion of teeth, exposed and glistening.”
- As Katniss runs to the feast table to get a backpack of medicine for Peeta, Clove goes after her. “I sprint for the table. I can sense the emergence of danger before I see it.”
2. The hero runs from the fight.
The villain is trying to stop the hero, but hero is not neccessarily trying to stop the villain. The hero’s goal is to get what he needs and get out of there.
- Harry attempts to run away with the Sorcerer’s Stone. “Harry sprang toward the flame door, but Voldemort screamed ‘SEIZE HIM!’ . . .”
- Despite showing up to the fight on her own accord, Bella attempts to run away from James. “As useless as I knew it would be, as weak as my knees already were, panic took over and I bolted for the emergency door.”
- Katniss does not stop running even though Clove is attacking her. It is more important that she gets Peeta’s medicine than it is for her to kill Clove. “I keep moving, positioning the next arrow automatically, as only someone who has hunted for years can do.”
3. The villain attempts to block the hero (with varying success).
Harry Potter and Katniss are able to put up a fight against their villains. Bella just gets beaten up.
- When Quirrell grabs Harry’s wrist to stop him, both Harry and Quirrell feel the pain from contact. “At once, a needle-sharp pain seared across Harry’s scar; . . . he yelled, struggling with all his might, and to his surprise, Quirrell let go of him.”
- James blocks Bella from leaving and hits her hard in the chest. “He was in front of me in a flash. . . . A crushing blow struck my chest . . .”
- Clove throws a knife at Katniss, but Katniss uses her bow to deflect it. “Fortunately, the first knife comes whizzing in on my right side so I can hear it . . .”
Link to the rest at Better Novel Project