In self-defense, hesitation can kill. We’ve talked about that One-Mississippi before, yes? Waiting to act—even when that wait is a natural “Is this really happening?” moment—can mean the difference between striking before the attacker grabs, or having to fight with a bleeding head injury. It can mean the difference between an escape made on your feet or fighting a losing battle the ground.
That push against hesitation must be balanced against circumstances, though. If a drunk gets handsy with me in the pub, I shouldn’t hesitate to stop him… but I should not slam the ridge of my hand against his throat, gouge out an eyeball, and stomp his ribcage until I puncture a lung.
Hesitation can kill a story, too, especially when it comes to emotional impact. We writers shouldn’t shy from realistically portraying the cost of making choices or exploring the consequences of action and inaction. But writers must, too, find a balance—especially when depicting violence in accordance with genre expectations. Continue reading Violence and Viewpoint
This article originally appeared for patrons only at Patreon. Because they’re wonderful patrons, they support making the articles on self-defense and fight scenes available to everyone within a month of the original posting. So if you like it, thank the patrons, or consider becoming one yourself!
Before I hit the tactics, I want to share this most marvelous video by Karate Culture on the grappling techniques within traditional Okinawan kata. If you’ve read my articles for awhile, you’ll know I’m not a fan of teaching throws as a universal self-defense technique because their application is limited mostly to people who are quite able-bodied, well-trained, and being targeted by a single attacker. That doesn’t mean I don’t like, train, teach, and use grappling! Just check out the awesomeness of that video. You won’t regret it.
1. Applying good craft to writing fight scenes is 95% of the battle.
Grammar is about writing well and properly—a necessary skill if we want readers to sink into our stories rather than decipher odd and misleading sentence constructions.
But storytelling? That’s the craft I’m talking about.
Continue reading Five Fight-Writing Tactics