What up suckas. It’s your good friend Discipulus again, and I’m here to make another hullabaloo. Last time I talked about fighting. Why I like fighting sports, why I desire to be an ass-kicking machine–you know, the good stuff. I thought it was about time I talked about writing on this blog, since that’s another passion of mine. But jumping straight from tapping bad guys to tapping keys seems like a big jump, so I figured I would segue.
So tonight I want to talk about fighting in books.
I’ll clear up a little first. I write fantasy. It’s mostly what I read, too. I always feel a little embarrassed when I say this, considering the state and reputation of much of modern fantasy–all Lord of the Rings rip-offs and stories about young farmer lads destined to defeat Not-Quite-Middle-Earth’s version of Satan. That’s not really my kind of fantasy. Not that I don’t like simple, predictable tales like that on occasion. But my true interest lies in the realm of gritty fantasy, a relatively new subgenre named in such a cliched fashion that, the term gritty having become a buzz-word as of late, you probably know instantly what kind of story I mean. And it’s not books filled with sand.
In fact, it’s likely you’ve seen Game of Thrones, the HBO series based on the book series that pretty much started this whole movement.
Ooh, I’d never thought of it like that. A movement. It feels good to be part of a movement. I’m suddenly empowered.
Anyway, that’s the sort of fantasy I like. The word fantasy sounds so wrong for this genre. What I really prefer is harsh medievalesque novels that flirt with the supernatural. But we’ll stick with fantasy for now, I guess. Easier to say, and I’m lazy.
Now, I don’t only like fantasy, but I do tend to read and watch things with a touch of realism to them. Some even go beyond realism into the realm of the downright pessimistic. Things like The Black Dahlia (which I just started reading–fantastic book so far), Joe Abercrombie’s novels, the Wire, Donnie Brasco. You get the idea. Things with a dark tone. Stories that don’t play around with idealized versions of the real thing, and often show the worst possible scenario instead. Tight focus on realistic characters that just live life the only way they know how.
Alright, that’s out of the way. Let’s talk more about people kicking ass.
You see, as a writer of fantasy, I have occasion to write an awful lot of fight scenes involving guys with swords wearing metal shirts. A good swording is great no matter how you color it, but as a lover of both medieval history and actual fighting, unrealistic fight scenes kind of irk me. They really irk me, in fact. Not only the action itself, even. I get annoyed at all manner of things that have to do with fighting and how it’s portrayed in books.
Things like wearing your sword on your back, whence it is literally impossible to draw it. Seriously, you’ve probably never thought of it, but it cannot be done. Same with giant, super-heavy swords. Why does Cloud from Final Fantasy need to use the almighty Buster Sword, a weapon so heavy that only he can lift it, not to mention wield it. It just doesn’t make sense. If you’re strong enough to lift a ton, you’ll be even more effective with only six to eight pounds, which is about how much a real sword of the same length as the Buster Sword would weigh.
So you see, as a writer, I understand visual appeal and all that, but I’m far more concerned with the real. I like things that feel like real life, even when they’re fantasy. Something else that people don’t seem to get. But that’s for another day. And so is the rest of this post! Soon, I shall talk about the actual writing of a fight scene, and why realism matters.