3 Common Mistakes Found in Fight Scenes

Fighting ColorWhen writing a fight scene where two characters start hitting each other, there are three things you want to think through and avoid while you write. They are pretty common and I have caught myself falling into these mistakes many times.

Mistake #1: Flowing With Plot and Theme

While you write your fight scenes, you want to ask yourself one big question. Is this fight scene adding anything to my story, my plot, and my theme, or is this just thrown in for a little bit of action and to patch up a few boring parts in the story?

This is probably the biggest trap that I fall into it. Maybe it’s not too much trouble for you but it is for me. I get bored of my own story and want to throw in an action scene just to give it a little fun fight spurt, and then it’s gone and I can get back to my story. I have seen several places where this happens in other books and movies, and it really just clogs up the story and plot, and drives the reader away from the theme of the book.

What you really want is that each fight scene and any other scene ties in to the plot and theme so that it keeps the story going.

Mistake #2: How Long Can You Go?

While the first mistake was more of a general kind of mistake, this mistake is more in the actual writing part of the fight scene. You write and write and write, completely transfixed in the battle with the protagonist and the antagonist, and then you stop typing and you scroll up the screen to see how much you’ve typed, and you realized that you’ve written four pages of fight scene!

Well, this is kind of two mistakes.

One is that you usually don’t want a single fight scene to go that long with one person. Now you can have a string of fight scenes where it keeps switching to different characters and their separate fight scenes, but when you have two characters fighting for four pages, it can get really boring, really fast.

The second mistake is that since you have been writing four pages long of fight scene, not only how long can you keep going, but how long can the character’s keep going?

Think of it. Your protagonist might have a sprained ankle, then he meets the antagonist and the antagonist beats him up, and then he drags himself totally injured toward his destination, meets five guards, stands up, and beats them all.

Doesn’t sound realistic right? Well, I was being a little sarcastic up there, but you kind of get my point, right? Characters, (if you are trying to be realistic at all) can not go much longer than normal humans can. So when fighting with fists, swords, guns, or anything else, they are going to get exhausted, and you shouldn’t fill up four pages of the characters still fighting after fighting for hours with other characters.

Mistake #3: Keeping the Fight Realistic

I know that you want to have the character jump off an exploding building and land on his feet with only a shock and then keep running to fight five henchmen and completely knock them unconscious, but that can’t really happen. So even though you are writing fiction, you have to remember: keep the fight scenes realistic.

This is kinda what I said on the last mistake, but it’s different. Just remember, if a character gets punched, he gets punched, and that hurts and he’s not going to be able to stand many more. When a character gets stabbed in the arm, he’s stabbed in the arm! I mean, how could you use that arm right after it’s been stabbed? And if the character is shot in the side, well his side is gonna hurt for a while, right?

And if a gun runs out of ammunition, then maybe the character has to reload it before firing it another hundred times.

Okay, I’m being sarcastic a little bit but still! You can stretch the books reality a little bit, but not that much. So, just stay somewhat realistic.

Those were three common mistakes I find in my own writing and other places, I hope that you will be able to avoid them after this and write more exciting, more important, and more realistic fight scenes.


Do you think this will help you write better fight scenes?  Please tell me what will help you the most in the comments!  Have you already learned to avoid some of these mistakes?  Tell me!  I’d love to hear all about it!!

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