I just finished writing a fight in which Janet takes on a man almost twice her size. The scene starts with Janet awakening from being drugged and held in a metal framed chair by a belt and her hands tied together in somewhat amateurish fashion. There are two men in the room, one in a white lab coat that suggests he is a doctor or a medical technician of some sort. She recognizes the other man as the bodyguard of an arms dealer she’s been sent to kill.

So, then what happens? How does it get started? To write the fight scene, I had to script the sequence in Janet’s mind. First, she had to come up with a plan that starts with getting her hands free. Second, she has to neutralize the bodyguard’s advantage because she assumes, rightly so, that he has a pistol. Third, she doesn’t want to take on two men at once.

That’s the outline of the passage. Now I have to write it from Janet’s perspective. This is kill or be killed, or fail to kill and be tortured. As the words flowed, I was getting excited. Several times, after a few sentences, I had to stop and pantomime the moves Janet made, the other men’s counters so that they were realistic. If you were watching, as my dogs do – they’re very astute observers of their human’s behavior – you’d have seen this septuagenarian walking through martial arts moves. Once I had it visualized, I could write the moves. Then, I went back and added the sensory part, what Janet sees, what she sees and hears, what the other two men do.

To write what probably amounts to about 750 words took well over an hour and when I was done, I was tired. It was almost as if I was in the fight. I took a dinner break to get away from the keyboard and then, I went back to work, with a clear mind, energy from food and added in the other stuff that fleshed out the fight. It was/is mentally draining and borders on the physical, but well worth it. It is what keeps you turning the pages.



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