(“Bonds by bullets, bullets kill Nazis. Bing, bang, boom. You’re an American hero.” and ladies and gentlemen, what movie is that line from??)
I like writing fight scenes (heaven knows why. Contrary to popular opinion, I’ve never been in a fight. The closet thing was probably those beanie baby fights we used to have in a the basement as kids. They were BRUTAL. Just see how you liked being smacked in the face by a giant beanie worm.)
In fact, sometimes I think I write fight scenes too much, and like the whole book is just “bing bang boom” (“Bingo, bang, bongo!” and what is that one from, my friends?). Everything is action. (And don’t even get started on my obsession with paragraph breaks.
But here’s just a little thing I want to address today: If I hear (read) one more thing about adrenaline working against you in a fight, I am going to loose my flipping mind (which if you ask anyone right now, they’ll probably say I already had).
Adrenaline may work against you. It might make you shaky, and it will wear you out once it leaves your body. BUT our bodies have adrenaline for a reason.
Let’s say you’re really tired. Like, exhausted. You’re lying on your bed, finally resting. Then you look over and notice a big black spider by you on the bed.
That tiredness is gone, and you just leapt off the bed and halfway across the room.
That energy that just came out of nowhere? ADRENALINE BABY.
I think feeling shaky probably has more to do with panic or the flight/fight/freeze response to be honest. Though I’m not a doctor and biology wasn’t my best subject so what do I know.
I also just want to leave a little note here: injuries.
Injuries are weird during a fight. How your character responds, what the injuries feels like depends depend and SO many things:
- What the injury is
- How high is their adrenaline (a lot of times in a fight you might notice a feeling of wetness before realizing later that you got shot/stabbed)
- Personality/how focused the character is on the fight/veteran fighter
- And if the injury itself just sort of fried the nerves (like actual nerves. For instance, you don’t always feel really bad burns because like…you’re nerves are gone).
Example of someone totally not feeling like they were injured:
(this is from 13 Hours by Mitchell Zuckoff about the attacks on the Benghazi embassy)
“Oz clenched the assault rifle’s pistol grip with his right hand. But as he lifted his left arm to grab the black metal barrel, nothing happened. He tried again, but his left hand refused to answer his command. Oz looked down and saw his left forearm blown open about four inches from his wrist. He felt no pain, but as Oz held up his arm to inspect the damage, his hand and wrist hung at a gruesome forty-degree angle from the rest of his arm.”
He goes on to keep trying to fire, feeling no pain and ignoring the enormous amount of blood. Until the next mortar comes.
Now, someone else might have flipped out and started screaming. Someone else might have felt pain. Someone else might have just plain fainted.
So anyone. General rule on fight related injuries?
A shot in the head will kill you.
A shot in the head will also not kill you.
The human body is weird and strangely resilient but also fragile like paper and yet strangely indestructible.
And if you want some good tips in fight scenes, read Carla Hoch’s book Fight Write. She also has a lot of good stuff on her website. I also wrote a review about it some time ago, you can read it here. I have feeling I may have just repeated everything I said there but whatever.
AND that’s all for now folks.