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Hey! I’ve been backreading your blog and I love it–I’ve gotten a ton of useful advice already! However, I’m curious about your “fight scenes should be a page or less” guideline, since I know you’re referring to prose. As it happens I’m writing a comic–what do you think is a good guideline for length in a fight scene that’s visual rather than written? Thanks so much.

Thanks for the ask!

Since this question is pretty general, we’ll give a few suggestions. If you’re looking for gritty realism with unpowered characters then try to keep it under 2 pages, but remember you’ve got to provide enough detail that show the fight is clearly choreographed. You’ll need to be able to convey the action to the reader so that they can follow along, while also being able to keep the narrative tension high. The longer the fight, the harder this is.

For most powered characters, superheroes, etc, you can double it to four pages. Though, I strongly encourage you to still look for a way to end it quickly. There’s nothing worse, from a narrative and reader perspective than a fight that goes: and then, and then, and then. It can be easy to get caught up in the flow of the action, both written and visual, and become excited over your creation. This is natural and understandable, after all, you created it! But I encourage restraint.

Also, it’s a good idea to check out artists in the genre that you admire and see what they do, not even in art style but just in planning and conservation of the action in the way they tell their story.

And remember, the action always serves the narrative, not the other way around.

Good luck!

Stupid Gun Mistakes Every Writer Makes

heyrph:

by Chuck Dixon

THE SILENCED REVOLVER

If you’re dumb enough to put a silencer on a revolver then you’ll discover that all the noise you hoped to suppress will escape from around the cylinder. See, an automatic is a sealed system allowing gas to vent only from the end of the barrel. So all your sound is coming from the barrel as well. A revolver is not sealed. There’s a gap twixt the cylinder and the barrel where they meet. This gap allows the cylinder to turn. It also allows gas and noise to escape.

THE “EMPTY” AUTOMATIC

We’ve all seen the scene where on adversary has the drop on another at the end of a gunfight. One guy holds out an automatic to the other guy’s head, says a take away line (“This is where the rubber meets the road, scumbag.) and then…click. The gun’s empty! Well, when an automatic has fired its last cartridge the slide atop the action locks back. They would both know the gun was empty. At the same time the firing mechanism locks back as well so no “click”. If you need to have a scene like this make sure your character’s armed with a revolver.

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