About fighting: “The writer is the ultimate dilettante.”

So this one got me thinking this morning. I was just enjoying my breakfast (coffee, toast, and honey should anyone care) and doing some research on writing stuff as well as looking up new interesting authors. As I’m a big fan of Joe Abercrombie, especially The First Law -trilogy, I checked the links on his webpage and after a while sailed on the very nice website of certain Brent Weeks. Now, I haven’t read any of his books but I sure would like to! They seem hell interesting!

So then I bumped into the writing tips section. Excellent! I love reading tips from published, accomplished authors as they must know what they are talking about for the most part anyway, right? And I loved many of the tips Brent gave about worldbuilding and such in fantasy books.

Then we get to the fight scene tips. Oh my, some of this is actually kosher and something, miraculously enough, Toni and I have discovered ourselves: read books about fighting. No wonder our book shelves carry almost equal numbers of fact and fiction! There are sniper books, special ops books, French Foreign Legion books, rows of Geoff Thompson… So yeah, I agree with this!

I also love it how Brent tells the aspiring writer to go out and do it him/herself! Oh, here I truly agree! Except I would take it even further than Brent suggests. The thing is: we write about fighting because we find it interesting. So if it’s interesting, why not immerse yourself well and thorough in that subject? I wouldn’t be writing about it if it wasn’t interesting!

I ain’t no expert myself, yeah, but it sure is beneficial to go out there and get hurt! Learn to punch, kick, and take kicks and punches! Learn to grapple and wrestle, learn how to submit and how not to get submitted yourself, watch fights (sports to real ones), pick up a pistol if you are planning to write about people who shoot or jump on a saddle if you’re writing medieval fantasy! I agree that we can’t do everything: I can’t join a space army or steer a space ship, but I’m of the opinion that the writer should, as much as they can, experience the things they write about.

Why is this important? Well, some don’t find it all that relevant. Some enjoy their entertainment flighty. Heck, that’s why some of us read fiction: to escape reality (me too!) but I get a little ticked off if the stuff I read isn’t credible. Like how many male writers don’t know that girls ain’t that strong, okay? You can’t be a badass, hefty-guy-ass-kicker and have the body of a stick insect (unless it’s scifi, you’re the Alice of a mindless action movie, and you have been ‘enhanced’ physically. Gah.) Or when the desk jockey writer scribbles something down about exercise. I’m telling ya, the gravity better be darn light on that planet if you’re running 20K and feel like it was a cakewalk and you aren’t a running enthusiast (I am and I can feel 10K, double that and it does feel like an exercise).

Okay, maybe I got a little arrogant there. I’m no master myself and produce silliness every now and then too. But my point was that while I agree with Brent, the writer is the ultimae dilettante, I’d suggest taking it even further if you want to be truly credible. If you write about characters getting hurt, get hurt. It sounds awful and way nuts, I guess, but it’s not really. To learn and develop, one must experience discomfort too.

Yours Sincerely,


Check out Misters Abercrombie and Weeks behind these links!




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