Monday, September 20, 2010

Jonathan Mayberry – Fight and Action Scenes in Horror


“The differences in size, the presence of violent intentions, the certainty of a committed aggression by a more powerful enemy define the situation.  We have to start with what we know of the combatants and then build the most logical possible scene around that.” – Jonathan Mayberry, Writers Workshop of Horror

I found this chapter to be very well written and rather informative for me, because I don’t normally use physical fight scenes in my writings – I’m more of a battle within type of girl (got to love the psychological stuff!).  I did however like how Mayberry spelled it all out for us though, in regards to what one needs to consider when writing a fight scene such as: pre-existing injuries, allergies, pain threshold, etc.  I know I personally wouldn’t have even thought to consider these- I would have been stuck on height, weight and limb length.  Then, on top of that, you have to consider the environment on which the fight is taking place.  So for instance, if it is on top of a building, I should take into consideration the ledges, what time of day it is, what material the characters are standing on (wood, cement, etc.), the temperature and or weather conditions (because what they are wearing might come into play)….

I personally enjoyed his comments about the type of attacker that one is going up against.  For instance, it is a violent stranger who killed everyone you were close to and is therefore trying to take over the world as you know it…you’re probably not going to have that hard of a time trying to hurt the person.  But, if that evil doer happens to be your lover, friend, or family member, that kind of shakes things up a bit. Sure, some people might have no problem beheading their boyfriend/girlfriend, but for others like me…it might be a tad bit difficult.

In my case though, I’ll have to actually write some fight scenes before I can go more in depth with this question, since it isn’t a familiar area to me. That is, unless someone is fighting something within themselves... then I'm all over it ;)