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Sender: Open discussions on the writer's craft <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Combat!
From: "Charli.M.Weir-1" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2004 10:17:21 -0600
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Reply-To: Open discussions on the writer's craft <[log in to unmask]>
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How do i get off of the PWA-L Mailing list????

----- Original Message -----
From: "deborah a. chester" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Monday, February 16, 2004 9:46 am
Subject: Re: [PWA-L] Combat!

> The amount of detail depends on the stakes in the combat scene.  If
> everything is on the line for the viewpoint character, then naturally
> more detail is expected, because instinctively readers understand that
> length can/should indicate the degree of importance.  On the other
> hand,if it's just another slog in the gladiator arena, skim over
> the thing.
> As for the fight scene in Hamlet, the emotion and sacrifice were the
> thing, not every en quarte, parry, and riposte.
> Another factor is taste.  Just how gruesome do you want to be?  I
> landedThe Alien Chronicles book deal because I can write exciting
> actionwithout spilling entrails all over the page.  Brutality and
> gore, just
> for the sake of it, is gratuitous and unnecessary.
> DC
> Kent Graham wrote:
> > A member of the historical fiction mail list posed this question
> -- in
> > part -- yesterday.  I can think of several responses, ranging from
> > philosophical to technical
> >
> > "If there is anything in our [human] history, that is always
> > present, is combat. Wars, fights, quarrels are
> > something never gone. But how do you describe this
> > kind of violence?"
> >
> > <snip, in which he complains about how few pages Tolkien uses to
> > describe combat, as opposed to how many he uses to describe walking
> > around and climbing mountains>
> >
> > " I think readers want to read about details when it
> > comes to fighting. If I were to write something
> > similar to The last Samurai (which is a movie, I
> > know), I would describe every move, every gesture,
> > every thrust of the sword. I wouldn't do something
> > like Shakespeare in Hamlet: "Hamlet and Laertes
> > fought."
> >
> > What do you think?   How much is needed?    Is it desirable to
> > describe "...every move, every gesture,
> > every thrust of the sword"?  And if so, how do we describe it?
> >
> > Scribite!
> > kent