Fight Scene Blogfest, in which Kyra gets beat up

Edit: Scene taken down pending revisions. 8/1/2010

I may regret this later, but I just found out that there's a fight scene blogfest going on right now.  If there's one thing my manuscript doesn't lack, it's fight scenes -- I'm always wracking my brain trying to come up with more original angles.  So even though I'm super late, joining in the fun.

Most of my fight scenes are based on my real life experience in jujitsu.  My most convincing fight scenes also happen to be the ones where the heroine gets beat up.  I'll let you connect the dots there...

Since I'm doing a last minute copy and paste from my office, the writing's still a bit rough.  But I guess that's why they call it a work-in-progress. 

And here we go!

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[Yeah, I took it down.  Reading it was making me cringe.  Perhaps I'll put up a later version.]

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Comments and suggestions welcome!  Once I get home, I'm looking forward to reading everybody else's entries.


  1. Hey Livia,

    Fun read. It's been a while since you've posted some of your own writing. I'm _way_ out of my depth here on this whole literary criticism thing, but here are some quick thoughts:

    1) "grabbed a sheath from his belt and sheathed his dagger," --- Sheath is an uncommon word and using it twice in succession feels...odd.

    2) “Yeah.” She reached down to her ankle and released her knife from its bindings, slipping it out from the leg of her trousers. --- This makes it sound as if she's using a naked blade during the fight. This may be colored by the fact I originally thought you mistyped "unsheathed" in the above statement.

    3) coming at her with an overhead thrust. --- Not sure if I'm visualizing this properly, but shouldn't an overhead thrust means that Riley is coming from below?

    4) She easily avoided it, stepping sideways and backing lightly out of his reach. --- is she stepping sideways or backing away? Maybe they're consecutive motions, but the feeling I get from reading this line is similar to the feeling I get when reading mixed metaphors.

    5) She had learned early on to stay far away from him. --- why Riley in particular? You follow with a generic reason.

    6) She stepped aside. As he passed, she dropped to the ground and hooked her ankle around his knee. She didn't move away in time, and he fell on top of her, pinning down her knife arm with his left side. As he shifted to bring his own knife around, she realized her legs were free. She kicked up and wrapped both ankles around his head and under his chin. --- I know you're an ace jiujitsu player, but for mere mortals like me, I have trouble visualizing what's going on here. =b

    7) Hastily, she climbed to her feet as Riley also stood. --- Do we need to know that Riley stood also? Its kind of an awkward construction.

    8) He reached a pale but well muscled arm towards Riley --- Mentioning James' well manicured arm hair would help to increase the sexual tension in this chance encounter. ;)

    9) She stood, frozen in place. --- I imagine you've established this before, but who is James, and why is Kyra so scared of some sparring?

    10) He moved aside just enough to avoid the tip of her sheathed blade and then rushed her. --- they're inches from each other. "Rush" attacks tend to cover yards, or at least feet.

    11) She felt a stunning blow on the side of her face at the same time her legs were swept out from under her. --- Something feels weird here. Can't put my finger on it.

    12) She had the presence of mind to slap the ground to soften her landing, --- I see the jiujitsu training has paid off. I know the meaning is different, but maybe she could just "reflexively" slap the ground. "Presence of mind" just seems to slow the scene down.

    13) Painfully, she rolled onto her side, --- "She winced as she rolled onto her side" ?

  2. Thanks Harold, I've got you pegged as a beta reader for the 2nd draft.

  3. I'd be keen to read more of your fighting scenes, good lady, since you have experience in martial arts. Me? I make junk up and hope it works.

    Nicely done here, though. We certainly got a sense of the pecking order in this situation.

  4. Simon -- unfortunately, my experience only extends to the losing scenes :-)

  5. Nice scene. No matter how good you are, there's always someone better waiting in the wings.

  6. I'm struggling with adding emotion, especially during a fight. I think you did an excellent job in conveying her emotions when James fights her, using non-verbal cues and her reactions.

    However, I didn't get a clear idea of how she felt about Riley, specifically. This passage:

    "She had learned early on to stay far away from him. At close range, pretty much anyone in the guild could overpower her with brute strength. However, she was faster than most, and if she stayed alert, she could sometimes catch her opponent off guard."

    comes across as fairly clinical, which is fine. It also is a place where you could show her resolve. Something like - "With a touch of pride, she could say that they rarely caught her."

    Very nice

  7. I liked that you moved beyond the cliche's with the piece-that the character felt shame at the end gave me as a reader a stronger empathy for Kyra and to learn her story.

  8. Hi Livia, I really enjoyed this scene. There's a lot of great movement and specific action without being overwhelming with vocabulary.

    My one suggestion is about the beginning of the fight. Rather than saying, "Riley attacked..." go right to, "Riley came at her with an overhead thrust..." or even "Riley thrust at her from..." etc. The movement in these specific words would get me into the action more quickly than "attacked" does because the latter just doesn't give me enough detail.

    I have been reading your blog for a while and have really enjoyed it. So I've nominated you for a Prolific Blogger Award:

    Don't feel like you have to play along but please take it as a demonstration of my appreciation, anyway. Thanks for writing!

  9. a writer's life experience enhances his/her writing. Like ju-jitsu in your case. I took all sorts of martial arts in college. explains why I have more trouble with sex scenes than fight scenes!

  10. I think part of her problem was that she was focusing a little too much on what he was thinking and expecting. Very well done! :)