What makes a good Fighting/Action Scene?

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What makes a good Fighting/Action Scene?

#1 Post by Westeford » Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:29 pm

In my game, the MC is a mostly normal adult. The story is told from his perspective. He's analytical, his style of fighting reflects this. He doesn't fight randomly, he scouts his opponent for a weak spot and exploits it. He also doesn't drag out fights, he ends the fight as soon as possible.

Here are the things I want to accomplish in these scenes:
-Maintain momentum
-Immerse the player in the fight.
-Allow the player to visualize the fight.
-Maintain tension (Despite the fact that the MC will most likely win.)

So what I'm asking is this: How do I write a good fight scene?
I'm looking for answers from a writing standpoint. I know that sound and music matter too.
Also any examples of good fight scenes in visual novels are welcome. Thank you I hope my rambling makes sense.

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Re: What makes a good Fighting/Action Scene?

#2 Post by YonYonYon » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:40 am

If you can spend $5 you can check out this book https://www.amazon.com/Writing-Fight-Sc ... B005MJFVS0

It also comes in a bundle https://www.amazon.com/Writers-Craft-Po ... 54&sr=1-21

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Re: What makes a good Fighting/Action Scene?

#3 Post by TheJerminator15 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:43 am

Something you should also keep in consideration is that visual novels are also a heavily visual medium, so you don't have to purely utilise the writing to have the player visualise the scene, you have actual visual elements you can use as well. Take Fate/Stay Night, it has a lot of reuseable CGs of the characters, sparks, weapons etc that constantly flip, spin and such to provide a visual representation of the fight.
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Re: What makes a good Fighting/Action Scene?

#4 Post by Mammon » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:25 am

I wrote about this a while ago but don't remember what thread it's in so I can't link it. Doesn't matter, the gist of it is: Fighting scenes should be as fast-paced and cropped as possible, every word that can be scrapped should be scrapped. Character development scenes should be as slow and unforced as possible, every part that feels paced should be fluffed.

I don't know what your writing pace is, but make sure that your fight scenes are of a faster pace than the rest. Don't stretch them out and try to write them with as few sentences as possible while still keeping the descriptions good and visualised. This doesn't have to be fast, just faster than your regular scenes. The relative difference, assuming the reader has been reading for a while and got used to your usual pace, will make it more adrenaline-filled.

So with the analysing, probably better to do that before the fight. Once the first punch is sent flying you don't worry about exposition or fluff, everything is fight-relevant descriptions until the opponents stare eachother down again or the fight is over. All context and explanations should've been given before the fight or are given after. Don't be that anime where people are speaking entire sentences midair while their fist is flying towards the other's face. And especially don't be that VN that drags out fights too long. Especially the professional Japanse VN fights can make that mistake of being too slow to even be considered a fight.

I don't know how you'll do this, but I'd do the following: I'd accomplish it during the 2nd draft rewriting. I write the first draft fight scenes alike the others. I'll try to stick to fast pace, but I don't worry too much yet. Just make sure the story is written before I start perfecting it. Second draft, that's when I'll keep in mind to make the fight scenes shorter in the same way I'm adding fluff to the other scenes.
I don't know how you write, maybe this helps or maybe you'll have to figure an entirely different method.

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Re: What makes a good Fighting/Action Scene?

#5 Post by Kuroi_Usagi » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:12 am

Reading the Fate Stay Night VN, with its copious amounts of fight scenes, was absolutely disgusting. The long-drawn out narrative during the physical bouts made me skip over most of the lines.

Typically, you want your fight scenes to be written in short sentences. If your passage is littered with commas and conjunctions, then it is a good sign you are drawing it out. I had a writing professor tell me that you want to get straight to the point as quickly as possible. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't slow down your narrative during a fight scene.

Let's say for example your character is fighting in the heat of the moment. In his perspective, there is little time to think, so don't write from his thoughts and instead write from his visuals. When he gets knocked on his ass, there is an opportunity for the narrative to slow down.

Remember that you don't have to narrate what your character is thinking, to let the audience in on how analytical of a fighter he is. You can achieve the same thing by your character just acting on it and letting your audience draw that conclusion.
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Re: What makes a good Fighting/Action Scene?

#6 Post by Katy133 » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:15 pm

Constantly switching which character has the upper-hand in the fight/chase/action scene is very important.

This is referred to as a "reversal of fortune."

Also, the scene (like every scene in a story) should cause a change that helps move the plot along (a character learns something, loses something, gains something, etc).

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Re: What makes a good Fighting/Action Scene?

#7 Post by ArcialIntegra » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:14 pm

The question should specify if the story is plot-driven or character-driven. In a plot driven story, katy133 has the best answer.

In a character-driven story, you should still use katy133's answer as a baseline, but think "how does each action reflect my character's characterization?" If your character is smart and analytical, he should NEVER use a haymaker. In fact, it's best if his fighting style is more centered around evasion with strikes focused on weak point like the opponent's throat and (if the opponent is a male) groin. It seems cheap, but it makes it so that your character is using the best actions for his style. As for how to actually write this, brevity is key. Cut every bit of fat you can. A fight scene should feel chiseled, not bloated. The situation is instigated; therefore, your character winds up in a fight; but, he'd rather not fight; therefore, he tries to talk his way out; but he can't talk his way out; therefore, he tries to dodge and block his opponent's attacks; but his opponent isn't giving up; but, your character isn't an idiot; therefore, your character analyzes the opponent's attacks so far; therefore, your character knows the opponent leaves his throat wide open during a haymaker; therefore, your character tries to exploit that opening; but, the opponent saw the attack coming... and so on. Keep the beats short. The sentences shouldn't be long and flowery. Thoughts shouldn't run on. Details about the scene around them should be missed, unless your main character has a background being in combat zones; but, even then, only significant details (like somebody trying to sneak behind him) should be noticed. Make every action reflect your characters as you have them established. Words mean little, but actions speak volumes. Don't try to later justify why a smart character would waste time and energy on a garbage attack like a haymaker... the players won't buy it. Don't try to explain why an unathletic character who has never been in a fight before can take down 3-5 opponents like it was second nature. If the character is outclassed: either let them lose (making their eventual victory feel all the more earned), make it so the fight gets broken up (by somebody who is stronger or by authority figures like the police), or make them run. Don't input a fight scene with the MC's victory just because you think it will make him look good... This is part of why Kirito (Sword Art Online light novel and anime) became known as "Jesus-kun", because he could literally do just about anything he wants without consequence and he'd always succeed. You want the fight to last maybe 1-5 minutes in length. Just follow the beats and be sure not to let one drop.

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