Saturday, March 28, 2015

Writing Authentic Self-Defense and Fighting Scenes

Take everything you see in movie fight scenes with a grain of salt; many of the techniques depicted are wrong. That’s what we learned at the meeting on Saturday, March 21, during Carla Hoch’s presentation about writing self-defense and fighting scenes.


How to Write Authentic Fight Scenes


  1. Know your audience. The author needs to know what the readers want from a fight scene and what is appropriate for their target reader.

  2. Know the human body. Research the natural results of the injuries you inflict on your characters. We learned about how to knock someone out and how to hit someone in the liver. Carla talked about the vulnerability of the bones in the hand and why you need to know the difference between veins and arteries. She taught us about the effects of adrenaline. Great lunchtime discussion!

  3. Know psychology. Carla talked about the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the characteristics of a sociopath. We learned about the differences between men and women and the reasons they will choose to fight an opponent.

  4. Know Weaponry. Don’t place a samurai sword in the hands of a Viking! Carla talked us through several tricky things to keep in mind about weapons, including the problem with putting a gun into the hands of your character when his assailant has a knife. She discussed the problems with wearing armor, and told us not to judge an opponent’s level of skill by the sword he carries.

  5. Sensory details. We learned how to make a proper fist and how to put the reader in the room with the fight by including sensory detail, including the way people smell after conflict and the “color” (of blood). Carla also taught us how to get out of a choke hold.

What was the main thing we learned? Never pick a fight with Carla. That woman is dangerous!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like I missed a great lesson. Hate that.

    ReplyDelete