Music to Write by: The Fight Scene

Fight scenes can be difficult to write because they are often fast paced, confusing and involve a lot of moving around with descriptions of who is doing what. If you don’t do this well you will either leave the reader confused as to who is doing what or over-direct and lose the pace needed for the scene, in which case the reader will be bored.

The best way to learn how to write a good fight scene is to look at other writers who do them well. Kelley Armstrong and Stephen King both write fantastic fight scenes effectively building up the tension and pace before a physical fight even begins.

More so than love scenes and death scenes, the fight scene can take many different forms. The most common are probably:

The Dual
This is usually a one-on-one fight that may or may not have spectators. Should it be more than one-on-one I would still put it in this category unless it is more appropriately placed in as a ‘battle’ or a ‘brawl’ (see below).

The Battle
This generally involves two sides consisting of several numbers fighting against one another and this would normally be over a period of time. This would most commonly be associated with historical fiction but remember this could also be applied to other situations: the office v the factory staff, the boys v the girls in the playground etc.

The Brawl
This involves several characters all fighting against one another with no defined sides. Think pub fights.

Remember the above purely relates to numbers and the format of ‘sides’ and this is only how I categorise them. Also, don’t just assume a fight is physical; it can be verbal or psychological too.

Generally you need to make sure you have some build up before the penultimate fight scene, much in a similar way to a love scene. You need to develop the background and plot in order to demonstrate how your characters come to the scene itself. Also, you probably want your readers to be rooting for one of the fight participants (either the individual or side) and this needs to be progressed over time. Like the death scene, if your reader has not developed a care for the characters the outcome will not be of importance to them.

With the basics covered here are my recommendations for music that should help you get in the right frame of mind for writing that fight scene.

Ceasar by I Blame Coco is an inspirational song that could easily get you in the right mood. Elevation by U2 was on the soundtrack to Tomb Raider and is upbeat. Of course I could not have this blog without the mention of the classic soundtracks of Kill Bill and The Matrix .

Other suggestions:

Rock & Roll Queen by The Subways
Lord of the Rings- Two Towers Soundtrack
The Fight Song by Marilyn Manson
Breathe by The Prodigy

Music to Write by: The Emotional Death Scene

Welcome to the second installment of suggestions for music to writer by. This week the focus is on writing the death scene.

Death scenes can be overdone, think of those old western films with the hero dying in the arms of his friend and managing the words ‘tell Mamma I love her’. Obviously this is the type of thing you want to avoid, unless you are aiming for something comical.

What you need to be aiming for is to rouse the emotion in your reader but not to make it cheesey. Remember this scene, in a similar way to a love scene, will either bring an end to ongoing events or could cause further events as a consequence.

Before you write the death scene itself you must develop the right kind of relationship between the reader and your characters. It is this that will have the most influence on how the reader reacts to the death scene. Remember if your reader does not care for a character they will not find their death emotional.

Once you are confident you have built your characters enough you can aim to get the right note for your death scene. Try to put delve into your emotions, and instill this into your writing.

On to the music suggestions, my first suggestion is Imagine by John Lennon. It may be an obvious choice but listening to this song and the words should hopefully stir within you the appropriate emotions. The Scientist by Coldplay also has some strong lyrics and a soft melody. Personally I have always found White Flag by Dido an emotional song and I would imagine this would be appropriate listening to get you in the mood.

Other suggestions for you to try are:

Mad World by Gary Jules
Everybody Hurts by REM
My Immortal by Evanescence
Take me Somewhere Nice by Mogwai
These Are The Days of Our Lives by Queen
Streets of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen