how do you handle combat? feel free to share a scene or two!


#101

I like bloody, visceral realism. When I write a combat scene, all the senses are engaged. What does it sound like when the opponent’s head connects with the MC’s knee? Can I hear the blood flowing from the nose, the cracked cartilage, the wet crack of the bone? Can I smell the sweat, fear, and blood that arises from the fighting characters? What do the blows feel like to the characters?

It’s super fun to write combat scenes. But it’s also kinda scary. It makes me realize that in actual combat I’d curl into the fetal position and perish. :joy::sob:


#102

Depends on the combatants. Humans tend to fight with weapons, either at range or engaging each other in melee. Archons usually just blast their opponents with soul-crushing mana.

Either way, most fights in my book are described in a fair amount of detail and complexity, being an action novel.

Morgolis regarded them with narrowed eyes, noting their trepidation and poise. “Mortals? You dare oppose me?!”

The archon charged, roaring, and Odion leapt to meet him. The monk narrowly evaded a hammer fist attack, preparing to counter, but the archon proved too fast. He swung his fist back and forth at the monk furiously, forcing Odion to dodge. Morgolis stepped in with a heavy cross punch, and Odion just managed to parry with his staff, the impact nearly disarming him.

Zavier and Kaylia jabbed at Morgolis’s flanks. The monster shook them off, and provided the opening Odion needed. He swung his staff high, catching the archon in the jaw and releasing a mighty surge of mana from the weapon. He followed up with a straight punch, blasting Morgolis with everything he held in him. Deprived of his mana, the void threatened, but the master monk was well versed in weathering its touch. With a deep breath, he recovered himself.

Morgolis turned back to him and wiped his bloodied lip, a wide grin on his face. “Heh. That’s it? You are ants compared to me.”

Morgolis roared again and smashed Odion squarely in the chest. Odion had waited for this moment, surprise and horror on his face, though he did not evade. The archon unleashed on him, his temper flared, his anger barred, his defenses down. Morgolis’s mana blasted into Odion.

It was more power than any human could expect to hold or control, yet this was a misconception among traditional archon channelers. Odion understood quantity was irrelevant. Like wading through water. It didn’t matter how much ocean was before you, you could swim through the tide with proper technique. Odion’s feigned look of shock disappeared. He stepped into the mana flow and swept his hands wide, directing it around him, and thrust his palms forward, slinging all of Morgolis’s rage and power back at him.

The archon staggered, but Odion wasn’t done with him. The monk struck him just below the sternum, igniting his excited mana into a violent explosion that sent him through the far wall at the end of the hallway.

“The more power you possess, the more sealed your fate,” Odion said and stalked through the newly created hole.


#103

Posting a fight scene? Hmm…

Summary of the build-up towards this fight:

Mika was an eighteen-year-old orphan who yearned for parental love. Brandon was a legendary undead fighter who served as Mika’s adoptive father and taught her how to fight. Billy was a ghost-in-a-guitar.

Orgmen (singular: orgman) were some bulky ogres in suits and shades; upon death, they’d disintegrate into silver dust. The dragon was a humanoid blue alien-zombie-dragon that stood 7-8ft tall. The alien within the dragon wanted Brandon dead due to their personal vendetta: Brandon once stopped the aliens’ invasion.

When this encounter happened, Brandon had been severely injured and unconscious since the previous fights. Accompanied by Billy, Mika was trying to find help with her motorbike.

Mika glanced over her shoulder and gasped. A fiery drill head rocketed through the large swarm of orgmen and towards her, sending silver dust and burned fabric everywhere.

Without a second thought, Mika returned her focus to the road ahead and sped up. Her heart hammered against her chest so hard and wildly that she almost couldn’t breathe.

A deafening boom echoed, and a shock wave sent the motorbike flying. Mika slammed into a street sign headfirst and smashed into the ground along with it. Nothing hurt, but Mika could feel something trickling down her temple. It reeked of rusty iron.

Mika got up and scanned the surroundings for Brandon. Upon spotting his sprawled figure on the pavement, she drew her gun and aimed at the incoming dragon. Her hands quivered, but her father would die if she didn’t do anything.

“Stop!” Guitar in hand, Billy bolted towards Brandon and the dragon. He hovered between them and spread his arms. “Jyuji, you said-”

The dragon swatted the guitar away. The instrument pulled the ghost along as it whooshed over Mika’s head and crashed into a building behind her.

Mika’s pistol glowed, and with a loud cry, she pulled the trigger. A flurry of radiant needles tore through the air and entered the dragon’s body without leaving a single trace.

The dragon kept going as though nothing had happened.

Mika trembled. The urge to take a leak was strong, but she kept firing until her gun stopped glowing. The dragon didn’t even bother to dodge the needles; after taking them all in, he gave Mika a mischievous grin. It pushed her a few steps back and made the gun slip out of her shaky, sweaty hands.

Laughing, the dragon shot up into the sky. Then he dropped down and landed a scaly foot on Brandon’s face. Blood burst out of the undead man’s ears. Cracks spread across the pavement.

Mika’s eyes widened at the sight. Father… My dear father…

Something erupted within her. Roaring with her fists clenched, she lunged at the dragon. Both of them crashed to the ground.

“You bastard!” She grabbed one of the dragon’s tusks and snapped it off. As she brought it down as an oversized knife, the dragon thrust his claws into Mika’s stomach and drew blood.

Mika pressed on anyway, pushing the makeshift dagger into the dragon’s eye and through his skull. The beast shrieked and thrashed, and when Mika ripped the tusk out, a scaly palm struck her side. The blow sent Mika rolling across the road, but her grip on the bloodstained tusk remained firm.

The dragon rose to his feet, his eye and tusk regenerating. Mika got up and charged again, only to plant the makeshift knife into the wall.

Something whirred above her. When Mika looked up, her grip on the tusk loosened. The dragon dived in and spun, his body burning with blue flame.

The very thing that sent her motorbike flying was coming at her and Brandon.

Tears rolled down Mika’s face. She should’ve known it; no matter how hard she tried, she would never beat the dragon without Orion’s power. The absence of Brandon and Billy only worsened everything.

With the last bit of strength in her, she ran towards Brandon and grabbed both of his charred legs. “I’m sorry, Brandon.” She sobbed, dragging him away from the incoming drill head. “I’ve done my best, but-”


#105

Also, uh, mecha combat in space

Delis exhaled in rapid breaths, tightening his abdominal muscles as he gave chase to the Zephyr. He and Falwin pierced through the rubble fields like arrows on the end of a beam of light, all while dodging the occasional sub-sonic rounds that screamed past them, much too close to comfort.

He watched the Zephyr loop above and below a scuttled fishing vessel, coming out from underneath to fly head-on into him. The Zephyr’s steel-obsidian blade was drawn, burning through the night, and Delis raised his own sword to check the blow.

The two swords crashed together, sending sparks flying every which way, and Delis tumbled backwards, thrown off by the sudden inertia. Before he could find his bearings, the Zephyr was gone again, juking and jiving through the rubble, dodging a lancer round from Falwin that blew a hole through a nearby freighter.

“Falwin, her railgun has a significant charge time,” Delis said, re-orienting himself and giving chase. “Our weapons do not, but the energy pool is much smaller. We will run out of ammo long before she does if we keep this up.”

“She’s fast,” Falwin gasped, making a hook sound and letting out a sharp inhale- the G-forces both she and Delis were experiencing could make even a seasoned pilot black out. “Perhaps she thinks… to tire us out, chip away at us.”

This must be the Harbinger’s champion, Delis thought, veering to the right and spinning as another railgun charge careened past him. Even for a child, her combat prowess is extraordinary.

The most skilled and dynamic pilots always tended to be younger in age… Delis was a testament to that, as his younger days were the ones in which he experienced the most fighting, but now he felt sluggish, as if his Phoenix was a mere marionette on strings. It seemed the longer in the tooth one became, the lower your sync rate dropped.


#106

I’ve been wanting to comment on this one after looking at the epic proportion (Sent through buildings and atmosphere-shaking moves? Science-fantasy fight? Hell yeah!), but work distracted me lol.

Just watch out for passive voice (“greeted by a heavy backhand” can actually be reworked into “a heavy backhand greeted her”), typo (“sender her hurtling” should be “sending her hurtling”), and repetition (find another word for “sending” for the dense beam of dark Mana).

Also, the word “combo,” at least to me, feels more video-gamey and takes away the beauty of the narrative. Instead of saying that it’s a combo, describe how the combo looks like.

A summary of the build-up towards this fight would be nice considering the already epic impact towards the surrounding.


#107

Work got me too. It was so busy. That’s why i forgot to give a short summary. I’ve edited this scene three times and still so many typos. Im gonna hire a pro editor.

The young people in this world use these words. Older people too. Before they become full-fledged knights the train im virtual environments. I’ll take your advice though.

Noted.

Thanks! I’ll go add a summary.


#108

Ah, I see. Then it’s just the lack of context speaking for the combo part (because we jump straight into the fight). It’s no big deal for those who follow your book from the start, though, since they are likely to have grown accustomed to the word.


#109

For two different reasons actually. First of all, flight. I feel like flight doesn’t really work in medieval settings unless you have a sort of unlimited range to your spells. A bow reaches about 300 ft horizontally and a ballista about 500. When even a duck can be found at up to 2k ft… well… it becomes a problem to defend with anything but mages. The architecture of buildings would change too as walls can end up obsolete, and so would tactics for war as an entirely new layer is added to the battle. On top of all the other changes, it’s simply just too much to deal with. Especially if the world is one where magic is not extremely rare. No, if magic is rare then it’s even worse. Situations where one man takes a castle over time wouldn’t be impossible.

Cutting wind magic is, as you said, dealing with molecules and/or extremely high pressure in a very thin and specific area. Compared to a wind blast, the physical changes that needs to be done is massive. I guess it could be cast, but it would be so expensive to do that it just wouldn’t make sense. That, and it’s like a distance made cutting attack where you don’t need to deal with the enemy. I prefer situations where you have the chance of knocking an enemy over and have to go over to finish it.


#110

I dunno if I’m allowed to share this here but I actually run my own “Action Scene Critique” service at the other section of the community.

I’m not a master, but out of everything else in writing, it’s my strongest point and something I enjoy the most.


#111

Oh~ that’s interesting. peeks I see why you had to comment on the other specific combat scene post, it’s right up your alley ^^

Though, since it seems like you read a lot of action scenes you have a good feeling of what makes a good fighting scene, yes?


#112

Yes, I have been reading a lot of fight scenes and the articles related to writing fights, so I can just know which fight is well-written and which one is subpar from a few keywords. Usually a lot of left/right specifications and (counter)clockwise spinning are the warning signs of subpar fights, unless there’s a context behind it.

Though there are a few fields in fight scenes I haven’t studied deeper but want to give them a shot in my own writing someday (so that I can critique them just as fine):

  • War/large-scale battles and battle royales/gauntlets/free-for-all
  • Spaceships/mechas fights (pretty much anything that doesn’t involve the individuals directly)
  • 1st person POV fights

#113

A bit of both. This is an extract from book 2:
“Well, well, well. What have we here? A traveller who wishes to interfere in the business of the Mages? Most unwise!” He snapped a word and a wall of whirling blades sprang up before him, two metres high and filling the space before him. Humming and flashing, the barrier advanced, driving Westizal before it until his back was against the wall and he had no-where left to go. The mage’s smile widened cruelly. “Now you will pay the price for your insolence,” he sneered.
Kleymin and Burrowold both started to move, Kleymin dismounting and hands moving to weapons. “Stay still!” hissed Staren, “He knows what he is doing.” The two ill-matched companions both halted. Susoo bit her lip as the wall of blades slashed the air closer and closer to Westizal. The wu-jen, seeming to judge his time, waited, waited, then stepped forward, sliding sideways straight into the barrier and its’ deadly cutting, whirling, razor-sharp blades. Somehow, the wu-jen slid past them all, without a mark upon him. “But…but…that’s impossible!” stammered the wizard, backing away from the advancing Westizal. His heel trod against the wall behind him and a new resolve seemed to fill him. Westizal strode forward, snatching a bronze dagger from his belt, then seemed to hesitate. The city wizard snatched a deep breath and thrust out both arms in front of him. Before he could launch his spell, Kleymin danced forward. A kick to the mage’s left knee sent the man toppling over to meet the boy’s fist. The impact severed the wizard’s spine as cleanly as a gallows drop. With scarcely a sound, the wizard crumpled to the floor, eyes wide with shock, unable to comprehend the fact that he was already dead.
Paragraphs still too long but I’m working on it.
Your affectionate uncle…


#115

Oooh I see :thinking:

I guess I tend to write skirmishes and mass battles just about as often as one on one fights, but my world is a big political mess too.


#117

Mmmm personally I feel like I lack some context for the situation, so I’m just going to confirm the situation.

fightsetup

So, something like this, right?

“backing away from the advancing Westizal. His heel trod against the wall behind him and a new resolve seemed to fill him.”

The mage certainly placed himself in a bad position for being the one that started the fight x} or is it Westial? He was backed up against a wall too :thinking: If that is the case then Westial advancing and then setting off against the wall seems a bit redundant =}

In case it is the mage:

“A kick to the mage’s left knee sent the man toppling over to meet the boy’s fist.” Wasn’t the mage against the wall? It’s a bit hard for me to see how Kleymin managed to hit the back of his knee in that situation.

"Somehow, the wu-jen slid past them all, without a mark upon him. “But…but…that’s impossible!” This is such a classical anime-like moment :joy:


#118

yeah, I cut the first bit setting up the scene. The city mage is arrogant and over-confident.
I didn’t say the strike was to the back of the knee. Interesting you read it as such, might have to tweak it to make it better.


#119

In my mind kicking it from other angles couldn’t make him topple over since there was a wall behind him to support him, but I guess toppling over from the pain of having your knee broken would do it :}


#120

I’m imagining a side kick, but even so, the impact wouldn’t be on the spine because the mage will fall to the side. If it’s a direct kick to the kneecap, the mage can’t possibly fall backwards due to the wall. Falling to the front and hitting the fist (Or dagger? Who’s that boy?) are weird as well, and unless the dagger in your universe is very long, it can’t stab through the inner organs and sever the spine. Also, “severing spine” is a weird wording unless my assumption about the dagger is true. Blunt forces smash/shatter spine instead of severing it. :thinking:

That aside, you need to shorten the paragraphs. Fights are more digestible and suspenseful when written with short, snappy paragraphs and sentences.

Powerful last line tho.


#121

Kleymin, an ex-ninja, I saw as coming in more from the side but I’ve not made that clear! ‘Severed’ as in ‘snapped’, so perhaps I’ll have to change the wording there too. Ah, the joys of Wattpad! Getting to run scenes past people early enough…
thanks, btw!


#122

how do I handle combat? I don’t, I’m incredibly poor at it yet insist on writing it anyway :stuck_out_tongue:


#123

i depict various combat scenarios using weapons magic and fists between humanoids and monsters and i personally think variety is important to a good fight don’t hesitate to be creative and do something incredibly silly keeps people from getting bored