Write The Fight Right by Alan Baxter
Who doesn’t love a little hand to hand combat? Problem is, if you’re not a brawler yourself, you could spend hours watching and re-watching television and movie fight scenes but still have difficulty describing it when it comes time to write your own.
That’s where this little gem comes in. Alan Baxter is a successful British-Australian indie author who writes dark fantasy, horror and sci-fi, rides a motorcycle and loves his dog. He also teaches Kung Fu at his martial arts school in Australia. You could say that he’s got the right credentials for talking about how to craft a fight scene.
I have watched many, many hours of fight films and fight tournaments. Still, I struggled to get the dynamics right when starting the fight scene for my novel. What a relief to find this book, which really explains why things look and feel a certain way during a fight.
“A punch, for example, starts at the ground. A fighter will drive up through their legs, use their hips to turn their body, which drives the shoulder, which sends the arm and fist forward.”
In just two sentences, Baxter teaches you that when you describe a punch your character is about to give, you need to think about not just the impact itself, but the lead up.
My favorite part of the book is when he writes out two fight scenes, the “verbose fighter” and the “succinct fighter”:
“Bob clenched his fist tight and threw a long cross to Bill’s chin. Bill didged backwards, using a sweeping forearm block to intercept the punch. As he moved he lifted his knee and drove a sidekick towards Bob’s ribs. Bob leapt backwards into an orthodox boxer’s stance, his left hand checking the kick down harmlessly to the ground.”
And now for succinct:
“Bob threw a heavy punch. Bill dodged back, blocking, tried to thrust out a kick. Bob danced back, slapping the kick aside.”
Same amount of action, but which one goes faster? Exactly.
Highly recommend this book. It’s short, helpful and well worth its $2.99 pricetag.
Kungfu mastery not guaranteed.