By: Chris Winkle
Many stories depend on fight scenes for action and excitement. Storytellers are used to watching marvelous fights on screen, but that doesn’t tell us how
to make combat riveting with our words. So
it’s no surprise Ellie sent us this question:
I was wondering if you guys have any tips on how to make a good fight scene that’s not short but also not boring. How can you add interest and tension in a fight and not just have them punching each other?
The Fight Must Matter
Even if you narrate your fight perfectly, it won’t be exciting unless you make it matter. Before the fight even starts, you have to get your audience interested. You need a character they care about trying to achieve a goal they understand. The consequences of winning or losing the fight have to be important, and the audience needs to know what they are.
In some cases, it’s obvious that the hero’s life is threatened, but not all fight scenes are life or death. In these cases, look for ways to give your fight more meaning than a few bruises or broken ribs. If you show how your viewpoint character is emotionally invested in the fight, the audience will be invested along with them.
In most cases, it’s easy to raise the emotional stakes:
. . .
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