A guide to writing fight scenes

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Richie Billing

On social media, forums and Reddit of late I’ve seen quite a few people asking about writing fight scenes. So this week, with axes in hand, I thought we’d battle our way through it.


There seems to be a few general rules of thumb for writing fight scenes. They are:

  • Blow by blow is boring;
  • Clarity is king;
  • Show v tell.

Let’s look at each in detail.

Blow by blow is boring

blow by blow

“He swung left, then right, dodged a lunging blow from behind, rolled to the right, raised his sword to parry another attack.”

A fight scene should not be a stream of blow after blow until everyone’s dead or retreated. Rather, it ought to be a portrayal of a character’s physical and mental state as they experience danger. 

 In movies seeing every punch and kick, decapitation or shooting is sadistically entertaining. On the page it’s a different…

View original post 1,242 more words

2 thoughts on “A guide to writing fight scenes”

  1. Never describe blow by blow, you can end up with something silly like this:

    “But suddenly he too stumbled forward with a cry of bitter pain, and his stroke went wide, driving into the ground. Merry’s sword had stabbed him from behind, shearing through the black mantle, and passing up beneath the hauberk had pierced the sinew behind his mighty knee.”

    Mighty knee?!

    Liked by 1 person

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