Tag Archives: Action Sequences

Writing Excuses 8.43: Realistic Melee Fighting with Wesley Chu

Wesley Chu joins Brandon, Mary, Howard, and a live audience at GenCon Indy for a discussion of writing realistic melee fights. Wes has lots of martial arts experience, he learned rope-dart fighting from Scorpion, he has worked as a stunt man, and his latest book, The Deaths of Tao, is out this week!

He talks to us about melee fighting. What sorts of things knock us out (ahem) of the story? How can we realistically portray combat without losing the heroic, incredible edge we want in our story?

Out of Order Episode Moment: Scott Lynch’s episode was mentioned, but has not aired yet. It’s okay. We’ll get to it.


Write a scene in any world where a pirate actually can beat a ninja.

The Lives of Tao, by Wesley Chu, narrated by Mikael Naramore

Writing Excuses 7.33: Authentic Emotion

Writers, like actors, have to animate the inanimate, and evoke emotions that we may not have ever felt, and in this episode we talk about the things that we do in order to accomplish that. We talk about making faces, remembering analogous events, playing thematic music, and running around the kitchen with a knife.


Describe a setting. Then, without using any emotion-words, describe that same setting again three more times from a happy, sad, and angry point of view.

All Men of Genius, by Lev AC Rosen, narrated by Emily Gray

Writing Excuses 5.30: Writing Action

Dan and Howard are joined by Larry Correia and Robison Wells (Rob is the younger of the Wells brothers), and with the enthusiastic support of a live audience at LTUE they discuss writing action.

Larry’s books are made of action (and no small amount of gunplay.) Howard’s comics feature mercenaries (and sometimes elephants.) Robison’s latest book, Variant, doesn’t have any experienced fighters in it, but the characters still manage to get into action-oriented trouble. Dan’s action scenes are personal, visceral, and confusing. And so we talk about how we do it.

We also talk about how we’ve seen others do it in books and in film. We discuss the scene/sequel format, blocking, and how “write what you know” need not be an obstacle to writing about sword fighting against dragon. Or Howard’s dog.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia, narrated by Oliver Wyman

Writing Prompt: Write an action sequence that you can appropriately title “Flaming Slapfight.”

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