Thursday, February 5, 2015

Book Review: "Writing Fight Scenes" (Rayne Hall)

You're writing a swashbuckling pirate adventure, and the hero and villain have just met on deck and drawn swords. You need a dazzling fight scene to maintain tension and reader interest, and to keep them turning pages.

So ... how do you write that fight scene?

Or you've got a heroine who knows some self-defense moves that she feels compelled to use on an overeager drunken patron at the bar she owns.

What do you put on the page that will make that scene come to life?

This is why you need Rayne Hall's fantastic book, Writing Fight Scenes, in your writing craft library.

Hall answers questions just like the ones I posed above with practical, step-by-step tips and guidance. She talks fighting from the personal (one-on-one hand-to-hand combat) to the macro scale (battles and warfare). Also included are chapters on specific weapons (swords, knives, staffs, clubs, firearms) and genre requirements (how a fight scene in a romance is different than a different than a fight scene in a thriller).

If there's a subtopic Hall doesn't cover in the work, I have no idea what it could possibly be. Thorough and eminently readable, the book is a testament to her own personal bank of knowledge, in-depth research, and admirable attention to detail (she even discusses the different types of fight scenes, how the location of a fight scene matters beyond giving it a few words of description, appropriate dialogue, pacing, and more).

As if all that were not enough, each chapter includes (where applicable) links to sample YouTube videos of fight scenes (some famous, some less well-known) and fighting styles, as well as a list of mistakes for writers to avoid (e.g., pausing mid-fight for the hero to gaze around him at what else is going on, as if his entire attention would not be completely absorbed in his own opponent).

I cannot recommend Hall's book highly enough as an addition to every writer's repertoire. You'll never again wonder how to reduce a highly intense, high-action fight scene to black words on a white page.

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Author: Rayne Hall
Title: Writing Fight Scenes
Series: Writer's Craft Book 1
Purchase here:

Disclaimer: The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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