I have a regular feature over at my writer blog talking about applying Krav Maga lessons to writing. These typically deal with fight scenes and characterization. The last post covered the importance of regular training, as in your character isn’t magically good at fighting. After sharing the link a bit on Twitter, I found that it was a common pet peeve among readers.
You don’t need to have an MMA fighting or martial arts background to know when it isn’t plausible for a character to win in a fight. You especially know it when he or she goes from never working out a day in their life and being utterly clumsy to throwing roundhouse kicks like a pro. (These do take practice, but I must admit you look like a badass when you do it right.)
We so often talk about the disdain for insta-love in romance. That magical moment when hero and heroine decide they’re madly in love (not just lust) with one another without ever getting to know each other. They love each without reason. Well, can we apply this same look to fight scenes? Is there such a thing as insta-skills? Do we hate it as much as insta-love?
I don’t need to see Jericho Barrons working out to know he’ll hand my ass to me. He exudes something fierce, and he has that mystery element. He’s gone a lot. Maybe he’s working a punching bag. We see Dmitri work with Rose in Vampire Academy to make her strong enough, fast enough to actually win in a fight with the supernatural. Bones puts Cat unconscious repeatedly in their training sessions. I believe those characters can win in a fight.
What makes you believe that a character really is a badass in a fight?