Book Reviews, Writing

Writing Resource: Fight Write

by Carla Hoch

publisher’s synopsis

Whether a side-street skirmish or an all-out war, fight scenes bring action to the pages of every kind of fiction. But a poorly done or unbelievable fight scene can ruin a great book in an instant.

In Fight Write you’ll learn practical tips, terminology, and the science behind crafting realistic fight scenes for your fiction. Broken up into “Rounds,” trained fighter and writer Carla Hoch guides you through the many factors you’ll need to consider when developing battles and brawls.

– In Round 1, you will consider how the Who, When, Where, and Why questions affect what type of fight scene you want to craft.
– Round 2 delves into the human factors of biology (think fight or flight and adrenaline) and psychology (aggression and response to injuring or killing another person).
– Round 3 explores different fighting styles that are appropriate for different situations: What really happens in fights on the street? What is the vocabulary used to describe these styles?
– Round 4 considers weaponry and will guide you to select the best weapon for your characters, including nontraditional weapons of opportunity, while also thinking about the nitty-gritty details of using them.
– In Round 5, you’ll learn how to accurately describe realistic injuries sustained from the fights and certain weapons, and what kind of injuries will kill a character or render them unable to fight further.

By taking into account where your character is in the world, when in history the fight is happening, what the character’s motivation for fighting is, and much more, you’ll be able write fight scenes unique to your plot and characters, all while satisfying your reader’s discerning eye.

Do you know how to correctly throw a punch?

Whether you do or don’t, if you’re a writer, you should pick up a copy of Fight Write!

Fight Write is written to help writers write correct fight scenes and understand the various aspects involved in a fight. The book covers injuries, fighting styles, weapons, the mental components of fighting, and more.

Even if you aren’t writing fight scenes in your novel (like me), Fight Write is still a useful novel to read. Carla covers fight-related topics like fight or flight, physiological elements, and other topics that will help your writing regardless.

Now, because Carla is covering so many things in a single book, it is not a comprehensive explanation of every aspect of fighting, injuries, etc. But I do think that it gives sufficient information for writers to be able to write fight scenes, which is the goal of the novel.

If you’ve had the chance to attend one of Carla’s Fight Write classes, you know that she is a super funny person. Reading Fight Write is like listening to one of her lectures, so be prepared to smile even while reading about getting beat up.

Now, if you are sensitive to graphic details, Fight Write might be a challenging read. In order to best equip novelists to write accurate scenes, Carla doesn’t shy away from giving some of the squeamish details involved with fighting. I honestly skimmed parts of the book because I didn’t need those mental images. However, it’s never done to be overly gory, but rather to help the writer understand the seriousness of injuring and killing, and to write it correctly.

Fight Write is a great tool for writers!

Cautions: one swear word; one instance of coarse language; graphic descriptions

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