Let’s face it: While the average adult has probably had sex at least once in their life, very few have taken part in actual battles. This means that authors who write excellent fight scenes have to be a little more creative in their research. Plus, they’re far more dangerous to know—more on that in a minute.
Action Scene Writers Have to Be More Creative
I will never forget the day my mother called me after reading one of my first published novels. The convo went like this:
Mom: How in the world did you write all those fight scenes? Me: What do you mean? Mom: No offense, honey, but you’re not exactly a bruiser. Me: Hey! I had a slap fight once in fourth grade!
Luckily she did not call to ask how I knew about writing sex scenes. That conversation might have been a lot more awkward.
Mom: Honey, you wrote some really great sex! How did you do it? Me: Well, I had a lot of fun in college …
Anyway, the point is that in order to write edge-of-your-seat action scenes, most authors have to do research. The fun part is that as an author you’re willing to do all sorts of things in the name of research that you might not do otherwise. That’s how I ended up taking self-defense and kick boxing. It’s also why I attend every martial arts and fight scene workshop I can find—I’m always adding new things to my bag of tricks. I’ve also attended the Writer’s Police Academy, which offers classes on firearms and police restraint tactics.
But when I need to research a fight scene on the fly, I often rewatch great fight scenes from movies or go to Youtube for videos. I’ve also learned that using the scene’s setting to help with choreography helps a lot. A fight scene in an abandoned warehouse will play out a lot differently than one in a park or an alley, for example.
Action Scene Writers Are More Dangerous
Authors are pretty weird in general. We know lots of weird things because we actively go out looking for information on a wide range of topics. But for the writer of crime fiction or other action-packed fiction, the knowledge base tends to be pretty dangerous.
What I’m basically saying to you is this: I can kill you with my mind. Over the years, I’ve gathered a lot of trivia about fighting. Like, did you know it only takes about 20 lbs of pressure to blow out someone’s knee? A good sidekick to that joint and your opponent will drop like a co-ed’s panties at a frat party. Or that when you strangle someone, you should tuck your thumbs so your victim can’t break them? I also have extensive knowledge on poisons and how to use everyday household items to kill people. I’ve shot guns, driven cop cars at high speeds, learned how to cuff perps, and know all sorts of things about SWAT team shock and awe tactics.
Mind you, I’ve never actually had to use any of these facts in real life. But if a squad of ninjas ever comes after me, I’m prepared—at least in theory.
The bottom line is this: I like a good sex scene as much as the next person, but writing believable action scenes is an art form that requires extensive research and a really devious mind.
Long live the STOMP!
Jaye Wells is a USA Today-bestselling author of urban fantasy and speculative crime fiction. Raised by booksellers, she loved reading books from a very young age. That gateway drug eventually led to a full-blown writing addiction. When she’s not chasing the word dragon, she loves to travel, drink good bourbon and do things that scare her so she can put them in her books. Jaye lives in Texas.
MAGIC IS A DRUG. IT’LL COST MORE THAN YOU CAN PAY. . .
When a rare Blue Moon upsets the magical balance in the city, Detective Kate Prospero and her Magic Enforcement colleagues pitch in to help Babylon PD keep the peace. Between potions going haywire and emotions running high, every cop in the city is on edge. But the moon’s impact is especially strong for Kate, who’s wrestling with guilt over her use of illegal magic.
When a rogue wizard steals dangerous potions from a local coven, Kate’s team must find the thief’s hideout before the vengeful coven catches him. But the investigation uncovers the rogue’s dangerous plot to unleash chaotic magic on the city. Once the Blue Moon rises no-one’s secrets will be safe. Not even Kate’s.