Nicole Peeler Talks About Stomping… I Think
Guys, I’m not going to lie.
Y’all have me batting for the wrong team.
Let’s face it. Jane (and her author) are definitely more rompers than stompers. I’ve never stomped anyone in my life, but I have definitely done my fair share of the rompings.
Don’t tell my mom.
But I write urban fantasy, not romance! So I inevitably have to write the stompings. Annnnnnd it’s inevitably a disaster, leaving me dependent upon good friends and a great editor to get me through. Oh, and the internets.
That said, I was asked to write about writing about stomp, so here’s my patented method of Writing The Stomps:
First, assiduously avoid it. Look back at Jane’s fight scenes from the first few books. She almost never does anything remotely stompy. She just describes other people doing stuff, and describes them badly at that. But it’s okay! Cuz she’s not an expert, right? So it makes sense that she’s like, “And then he stuck the something with his something.”*
*My sex scenes are much better than that, FYI.
Anyway, the second thing is to realize that your character is supposed to be progressing in EVERYTHING over the course of the series, including fighting. Which means you have to actually write some fight scenes.
When you’re finished panicking, watch a bunch of YouTube videos on self-defense and fighting. Do the same thing with your favorite movie’s fight scenes. Analyze what happens. Pick a balance between reality and Hollywood.
The thing is that, in reality, fighting is short and nasty and ugly. Have you watched ultimate fighting? It’s two often disturbingly sexy men sort of leaning on each other, their elbows jostling and occasionally they get a knee into the other’s groin.
Then there’s Hollywood: all pirouettes and flying through the air and flashing swords. No, it’s not real fighting, but it’s cinematic and beautiful. For a book, I find you need a balance between the two. A fight scene from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon would sound absurd, written, but is gorgeous played out on the screen. I’ve found the best fight scenes are a combination of that cinematic artistry (which people are so used to, by the way, that they take it for granted when they see it without challenging its veracity) and the real, nitty gritty fighting that gives a scene a realistic edge.
Your next step is to write a bunch of crap, then fix it. Play it out in your head. Pretend you’re fighting shadow people. I know some writers who use their kids castoff toys to mimic the actions, to see if they’re at all anatomically possible. Me, I try to keep all my action simple. I know I’m not great at this stuff and that, while my character has gotten better, she still ain’t no ninja.
To get help fixing your fight scenes, send them out to other people. Other people are wonderful at saying, “wait, he seems to have kicked that other guy with a third leg. Does this character have a third leg?”
If the answer is “not that kind of third leg,” you know you have to fix something. So fix it!
Voila! That’s my down and dirty style of stomping. It’s not perfect, I admit. But I think a lot of writers are like me and intimidated by penning action scenes. Especially if we don’t feel like we can adequately channel our inner ninja, as we were born with more of an inner dilettante than anything else.
But we gotta try! And depend on good editing. Meanwhile, remember you’re in good company: very few of us writers are any kind of ninja. Am I there yet? Definitely not. But I’m trying.
Although I’d much rather be romping!
Tempest Reborn (Jane True #6)
by Nicole Peeler
Anyan may be trapped in an evil dragon and Blondie may be gone, but Jane knows one thing: she’s not about to give up. She’s ready to tear down heaven and earth to save her lover, despite those who believe he’s lost.Luckily for Jane, those who’ve given up on Anyan do not include those closest to her. Defying The Powers That Be, Jane and Company form their own crack squad of misfits, in whose hands the fate of the world may well rest.With a little help from her friends, the Universe, and lots of snacks, Jane embarks on her greatest adventure yet, confident that with great sacrifice comes great reward. The question is, who will be that sacrifice?
Nicole D. Peeler received an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Boston University, and a PhD in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. She’s lived abroad in both Spain and the UK, and all over the USA. Currently, she resides outside Pittsburgh, to teach in Seton Hill’s MFA in Popular Fiction. When she’s not in the classroom infecting young minds with her madness, she’s writing Urban Fantasy forOrbit Books and taking pleasure in what means most to her: family, friends, food, and travel.
She’s also a proud member of the League of Reluctant Adults.
You can find her blogging here, and she’d love for you to add her on Facebook (Nicole Peeler), and on Twitter (NicolePeeler). If you’d like to send Nicole a message, the best way to do so is through email, at IHeartSelkies(at)gmail(dot)com. The worst way is through Facebook Messages, as they tend to get eaten, and Nicole loves hearing from all of you.
I’m giving away two Jane True books from my bookcase to one US winner.