by Amber Mitchell
I write fantasy romance because when I sit down at my computer screen, I like to escape. I want to be in a different world, going on bold adventures with the characters. I want to face things that terrify me in real life and I want to get swept up in the feelings that develop over time. The best books, in my opinion, are the ones that give me little morsels of growing feelings and passion while the characters face horrible evils and find a way to triumph even though the odds are stacked against them.
But after writing for half of my life, I have come to write fight scenes with the same mindset that I write love scenes. After all, sword fighting is just another form of dancing, right? Here are three reasons I approach both scenes the exact same way!
Whether rooted in deep hatred or smoldering passion, these emotions are almost the exact same. Both have a place in love scenes and fighting scenes, it just depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. I’ve found when writing a fight scene that it takes an equal amount of both to make it convincing. For instance, in my series Garden of Thorns, the hero hates that his uncle has forced war upon the land, but he can’t bring himself to truly hate his uncle because he knows there is still good left in him. That warring sensation of passion for what the hero is fighting for and hatred that he is forced to fight always fuels him whenever I am writing fight scenes.
The same passion that goes into a fight scene, clearly belongs in a romantic one or otherwise, what are your characters doing together? Nothing is better than understanding the feelings that go into each touch, each caress and what they mean to the main characters. Watching two people that have fought to be together finally give in to their passion makes a romance so satisfying!
- Both are deeply physical-
Let’s face it, whether we are talking about fighting or kissing, both affect the body in lots of different ways. When I’m getting ready to write a fight or romantic scene, I always start by visualizing it first. Knowing the movements of the characters helps me get a clear picture so that I can begin to layer in the emotions and thoughts which help ground the scene and make it more interesting.
I might choreograph a fight scene in my kitchen, figuring out when the characters dodge and strike so I already know the action when I sit down to write it. I will also sit back and take time to figure out what feels most natural when the characters are trying to comfort each other or only have a few minutes between missions to sneak in a desperate kiss.
- They ask the same questions-
Finally, it’s always important to figure out what a scene is telling the reader. What are we showing when these characters are busy parrying attacks or confessing their love? As writers and readers, we need to get to the heart of each scene. When I’m writing, that usually involves me asking myself what is at stake.
I think this question is most important during action scenes because without knowing what the characters want and what they are fighting for, the scene becomes incredibly clinical. What sets apart a great love scene, a magical first kiss, a fist fight in an alleyway and everything in between is what the character’s want from it.
Once you can answer that question, it’s amazing how the scenes inform each other!
So next time you are sitting down to write or read either an epic sword fight or an epic kiss, hopefully you can spot some of the similarities. It’s pretty interesting to realize how close the two are to each other. It lends a lot to the hate to love trope!