Top 5 fight scenes to go to war for

Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash
  1. Magic: Magic makes fights more dramatic because it expands what your characters are capable of doing when in danger. However, if a character has recently lost their ability to do magic, for whatever reason, the scene becomes more intriguing in the exact opposite way. The level of danger skyrockets because, even if they are good at fighting without magic, their defense is significantly weakened. Also, losing powers would force them to fight differently than in the past, ensuring that the battle stands out and is not a replica of a previous fray.
  2. Unique setting: Fight scenes are boring when the reader knows what to expect. Placing the characters into a setting where a fight would not normally take place is helpful to keep your audience (and characters) on their toes. Have the protagonist not only focused on their opponent, but also on surviving their surroundings. For example, a fight near lava would cause extreme heat, making fighting difficult along with providing a threat separate from the actual battle that the character needs to be aware of. How do the characters use their environment to their advantage? Is one trying to drive the other towards towards a river of lava to corner them or push them in? Maybe the usual underdog now has the upper hand. How does this change in setting effect the fight?
  3. Underestimation: Some of the most satisfying defeats are ironic. Thus, when faced with a cocky antagonist, it is fun to completely and utterly humiliate them, shattering that over confidence. Having a character be wrongfully underestimated can be useful, especially when you follow it up with showing how capable they truly are. Be careful when attempting to execute this because it can come off as a plot convenience. I suggest having the main characters be aware that someone who is supposedly weak is actually useful, whether because they are cunning or a good fighter in general. Also, provide opportunities for those skills to be demonstrated leading up to the fight scene. This way, it is a well established fact within the canon of the story, and does not appear to be added in whenever the plot demands it.
  4. Close fight: There are injuries on both sides. The fighters pause, gasping for breath before lunging at each other again, metal clashing on metal. They are exhausted, weak, dizzy from dehydration, yet they need to keep fighting. They need to finish this. Sweat and blood make the hilt of the sword slick. A fight should not be an easy win. There are a few exceptions to this, like a devastating defeat kicking off a training montage, but it is a good rule of thumb that no side should be confident of victory. Describe the ache from fighting so long and the lightheadedness of blood loss. Have the characters get sloppy and make mistakes as they grow more and more tired. It will make battles seem more realistic and more intense.
  5. Friendly competition: Fights do not always have to be life or death. After all, one needs to practice. Having witty banter while two main characters practice fencing can be useful in establishing character relationships. In a mentor-student relationship, one can be correcting the other, providing tips. There will likely be a heart felt moment because mentors tend to die. If two friends are sparring, they may tease each other or bring up childhood memories if it is relevant to the scene. This can also be used if the love interests are practicing together, but with the possible addition of awkward mutual pining. Overall, showing the characters interacting outside of danger adds depth and can be very interesting to read.

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Gwenyth Nickolenko

Gwenyth Nickolenko

Book blogger, aspiring author, reader, and coffee lover. Updates weekly.

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