Posted in better writing, character development, good writing, great writing, how to write, Johnathan Maberry, learning about writing, learning to write, The Writer's Toolbox, workshop, writing, writing advice, writing fight scenes, writing workshop

Fight Scenes Part 5: Psychological Warfare

Whew! We made it to number five! If you missed the other four parts of this fight scene series you can catch up Fight Scenes Part 1: An Introduction, Fight Scenes Part 2: Physical Differences, Fight Scenes Part 3: Hand to Hand Combat, and Fight Scenes Part 4: Weapons. Here is the last, but certainly not the least installment of the series. Check out how to get the upper hand with messing with people’s heads, or how a fight can mess with a your (main/other) characters head.

Something to remember... When you fail to do something in a fight, it can be a serious psychological blow.

The arrogance of power assumes they will always be successful and can’t be stopped. They also feel entitled to seize anything they can take.

Some psychological elements are…

  • Experience
  • Temperament
  • Desire/ intent
  • Mental state
  • Emotional state

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Posted in better writing, character development, good writing, great writing, how to write, Johnathan Maberry, learning about writing, learning to write, The Writer's Toolbox, workshop, writing, writing advice, writing believable fiction, writing fight scenes, writing workshop

Fight Scenes Part 4: Weapons

Missed the fist three parts? Check out Fight Scenes Part 1: An Introduction, Fight Scenes Part 2: Physical Difference, and Fight Scenes Part 3: Hand to Hand Combat. Now let’s talk a little about weapons. These notes focus mostly on unconventional weapons or what Jonathan Maberry called natural weapons.

Weapons

The more a character knows how to use natural weapons the better he’ll be.

Types of Weapons…

  • Core Body Techniques
  • Surrogate Weapons
  • Actual Weapons

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Posted in character development, good writing, great writing, how to write, Johnathan Maberry, learning to write, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing process, workshop, writing, writing advice, writing fight scenes, writing workshop

Fight Scenes Part 3: Hand to Hand Combat

So far we have looked at Fight Scenes Part 1: An introduction and Fight Scenes Part 2: Physical Differences now lets get into the really fun stuff… hand to hand combat. My notes are more geared toward getting out of a fight and how touch can be important in a fighting situation. So without further delay…

Ways to Get out of a Fight…

Rule #1: The more injury you make the least able the attacker is able to attack.

A hit to the nose can end a fight to a non-experienced fighter (which even a child can do).

Things a hit to the nose does to a person…

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Posted in character development, good writing, great writing, how to write, Johnathan Maberry, learning to write, The Writer's Toolbox, workshop, writing, writing advice, writing believable fiction, writing better, writing fight scenes

Fight Scenes Part 2: Physical Differences

Here is the second installment of my Fight Scene series based off notes from Jonathan Maberry’s fabulous class. If you haven’t already, check out Fight Scenes Part 1: An Introduction. So lets’ get started. This post will be dedicated to how physical differences in all parties involved can make a big difference in how a fight plays out.

Physical differences are a BIG deal…

  • Small against large
  • Speed
  • Longer reach
  • Muscle density matters
  • Length of hair matters
  • Abilities matters, better trained more chance of win
  • Location is big
  • Clothing
  • Tools

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Posted in better writing, building plot, character development, fiction, Gustav's Freytag Pyramid, how to write, Johnathan Maberry, plot, plotting, story structure, The Writer's Toolbox, writing, writing advice

The 3 Acts of Story Structure

In the recent writing workshop with Johnathan Maberry we talked a lot about the 3 acts of the story structure. This workshop made me realize once again how helpful this little tool can be when plotting out a story. Most stories can be broken down to this basic structure and it is something to use as a guide when plotting out your own story. Let’s break down the 3 acts and see what each act entails. I’ll also use an example of the Wizard of Oz to show this breakdown.

 

ACT ONE it is the introduction of characters and setting, possibly a glance at the villain and an introduction to the threat within the story.

This is where all the reader needs to become familiar with the character and become invested in the story that is unfolding. The world needs to be established

END OF ACT ONE happens when the character reaches the point of no return.  He or she is propelled or pushed forward into the story and the character’s path is set

Example: Dorthy is introduced into the story. We see that she is a young girl who is spoiled and untested. A tornado whisks her away to the strange land of Oz.

 

ACT TWO this middle act usually takes up about 50 percent of the story as the character is further developed and the stakes become clear.

This is where relationship building happens between the main character and the supporting characters, and it’s were subplots usually take place (for novels or longer short stories).

END OF ACT TWO happens when the character realizes what must be done to resolve the problem that he or she has been faced with.

Example: Once in Oz, Dorthy meets Glinda. She tells Dorthy what must be done to go home and Dorthy sets out on her mission to find the Wizard of Oz.

 

ACT THREE is when the character finds the resolution to the problem.

This is where the character rises above everything in his or her path to be the story’s champion.

END OF ACT THREE happens once the character resolves the main issue of the story either for the good or bad.

Example: Dorthy defeats the wicked witch and finds the Wizard of Oz.

 

Now it’s true that the 3 act applies mostly to screen plays, but it can also be applied to most stories as well. Sometimes the acts are expanded to create more than three, and sometimes the first act is combined with the second act in stories, but using the three acts can help to show the skeleton of a story. It’s a good simple way to make sure a story is on the right track to creating a coherent and dynamic piece of work. If you haven’t already, can you break down your current piece of work and find the 3 acts of its structure?

There are also those who argue that a 3 act structure can’t show all the elements of a story that it really takes a 5 act structure. This type of structure just breaks down the story even further with exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and the denoucement or resolution. You can read more about in a post that I wrote a while ago about Freytag’s 5 act structure.