*Shudders* Okay, so I’m not really into eating bugs, although I've heard rumor they're high in protein.
The subject title is referring to my fear of writing action scenes, fight scenes in particular. In the earliest draft of my adult vampire fantasy (a book I wrote a couple of years ago), I skimmed through the biggest fight scene of the book, writing it in the narrative with the heroine looking back on it.
My writing group called me on the mat and said, “Write out that sucker, you lazy bum.” Okay, not in so many words, but they did subtly denote that I was above cutting corners at this point in my writing. The scene is toward the climax of the book, and truly, the reader deserves to see it played out.
For me, it wasn’t so much about being lazy as being FEARFUL. I am terrified of writing any kind of action scene, but fight scenes trump them all. Something about blending the movement and emotion of the characters—wanting to keep them real without feeling mapped out, wooden, or staged—really stokes my paranoia to a full fiery flame.
It’s like being on an episode of Fear Factor for writers. Remember this show?
One of the most popular stunts was to make contestants eat live insects, like this lovely cave spider from Africa:
Yes, folks. Those are indeed claws. Imagine trying to swallow this fellow down while he's hanging onto your tonsils for dear life... *insert horrified scream here*
In my writer's worst nightmare, instead of handing me a plateful of cockroaches and earthworms to nibble on, the host hands me a blank piece of paper, a pen, and a prompt with the words: write a fight scene between a sisterhood clan of halfling vampires teamed up with a priest and their vampire enemies to defeat a rogue band of vampire super-beings; be sure to incorporate both martial arts and street fighting tactics, because the bad guys ain't gonna play nice.
Eeps. I think I’d rather munch on a plate full of creepy crawler slaw. At least then, the only one who will be sick as a result of my stunt is me.
I was just curious, for the other writers out there, what's your Fear Factor episode? Is there any particular kind of scene that makes you curl up inside your shell, afraid to stick your head out? And how do you psyche yourself up to write it without resorting to the amateur “tell don’t show” tactic?
And for the readers, what are some of the best written fight scenes you've ever read? I'd love to have some good pointers for a fight scene I have coming up in my current work in progress. Or maybe I’ll just munch on some grilled crickets and call it a day. ;)