How NOT to Write a Fight Scene

The warrior panted as he lifted his crimson-bathed blade of infinite destruction, the steel housing the power to topple mountains and cities alike, and eyed his opponent with utter disdain. “How did you find me?” he asked, poised and ready to strike.

“I searched from village to village, scouring the lands by horseback, until at last I discovered your hideout.” His opponent had but a simple blade, a flimsy-looking thing that would shatter under too many blows.

“You were lucky to find me. I did not leave clues to my whereabouts.” The warrior charged at the enemy and lashed out with a fluid strike.

“But alas, you left so many!” disagreed the other man, parrying the attack. “If not for your visit to that tavern in the last place you visited, I would not have found your identity. The barkeep was only too eager to reveal your face to the world after you left without paying!”

“Blast!” The warrior swore under his breath and swung out his sword once more. “I knew I forgot something!”

Notice how these two characters can keep up a fluid conversation while also trying to kill each other? Welcome to “how not to write a fight scene”. In many cartoons, animes, and books, fight scenes are treated like any other normal-paced scene. Unless there’s a specific reason to why characters pause to speak, they shouldn’t be composing sonnets to each other while exchanging life-threatening blows. They’re going to be out of breath, frightened, angry, or generally upset. There’s no time to be chitchatting! Rereading an old WIP of mine reminded me of how many mistakes I made in the past concerning fights.

Here are some examples of how not to write a fight scene:

  • Throwing in too many adverbs. It slows down the pace of the action. Everything should be fast and fluid
  • Discussing character backstories while sword fighting. Who really has time for that?
  • Having a character too wrapped up in their own thoughts. If they’re fighting for their life, they don’t really have much time to be pondering about breakfast or what they’ll be wearing to the next ball.
  • Giving a character a crazy, all powerful weapon that has zero chance of losing in a fight. Because we like to read about the challenge the character faced and how they deserved to win.
  • Straying the character’s attention from the fight. Hmm, I wonder what so-and-so is doing right now across yonder way? Is that a butterfly I see dancing along the horizon? Nope.
  • Insane fighting abilities that weren’t present all along. I’ve never been in a fight before, but hey, look at all these crazy magical spells I can cast! Cool, right? Not really.

What kind of stuff do you find irritating or eye-roll inducing while reading a book?



Hey guys! I’m jumping on the bandwagon with the free ebooks sale. My YA/urban fantasy series [The Secret World of Dragons] can be grabbed for free over on Amazon. It’s aimed towards younger readers, but older audiences may find the quick read enjoyable, too! The free deal ends tomorrow night, though (Saturday, November 29th).

Here’s a blurb for those interested:

“The world of Dragonis is facing an unspeakable evil. The land is dying and so are the dragons. Only by piecing together the Dragon’s Tear—a magical relic of the past—can the world be saved. The heroine of the story is high schooler Emmaline Reeve, the descendant of the old hero of Dragonis. Her ancestor failed in saving the world nearly a thousand years ago, and now it’s up to her to set things right once again. She is whisked away from her own world into the secret world of dragons by a strange, talking creature and is joined by a handful of mysterious allies to face the new dangers. To save the future, she must uncover the truth of the past, all while evading the deadly creatures and their master of the eastern land. Emma holds one piece of the Tear. Her enemy holds the other. It’s a race against time to save the dying world of dragons.”

Head over to Amazon to support an indie author on Black Friday (and Saturday)!

Happy reading–or shopping! ;)

Upcoming Novel Details – Steampunk/Fantasy

Steampunk-Background-PC-Free-Download-PictureI’ve recently wandered into the exciting and diverse genre known as “steampunk”, and wow is there a lot to learn. From the way airships run to the culture of the era, I’ve gained a lot of information. The world of steampunk is simply fascinating, and I’ve decided to write my newest book in that genre. I’ve quite a bit done on it already, though I still have much to do. I’ll let you in on a few fun facts.

– the protagonist is a female Sky Knight who patrols the skies, hunting down criminals

– the world is separated into two divisions: the Skylands and the Lowerlands

– floating islands inhabit the skys

– the Lowerlands are early steampunk, relying on steam for power, while the Skylands have harnassed a unique type of power akin to magic

– there be sky pirates

That’s all I’m sharing! This story will be far darker than my Secret World trilogy and aimed towards adults. There’s currently no release date but I’m hoping to publish by late 2014 or early 2015. Stay tuned! I’ll be updating more about this book as I work through it, either here or on my Facebook author page. Really excited about this one.

And — as always — happy reading!

~ Sandra

P.S. Here’s a sample of the cover:


Charlie and the… Beauty Pageant?

I’ll not get into all the details, but this is apparently the newest cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a beloved children’s classic written by Roald Dahl, now put into Penguin’s modern classics.

Charlie's new cover












I’m not really sure what they were thinking when they approved this one. Sure, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had some spoiled brats included, but should the cover really have one of them on it? And why does she look so much like a doll? And so frightened? It seems like such a strange cover. And why is this book included in the modern classics anyway? It’s a children’s book.

There’s been much controversy about this particular cover online these past few days. For my own opinion, I think if they absolutely had to include this book in their adult classics, they should’ve at least stuck to the theme of the book. Maybe at least made the cover with a boy on it? Since Charlie is in fact the main character of the story. But no. Not quite. It’s this strange image we’re given.

I like the idea of silhouettes–of simplistic covers–and I’ve noticed there have been some of those in Penguin’s past. I decided to make one, to counter the weirdness of this cover, just for fun. I would’ve liked to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at least have taken a turn towards the actual child aspects of the story and not this. Because you’re not just pushing it away from children–you’re pushing it away from the older audience who grew up reading this story. This cover doesn’t remind me of anything I loved about the story as a child, and that’s all there is to it.

~ Sandra


TV Show Spotlight–Once Upon A Time

Let’s just start this off by saying I am a huge Oncer. This is my favourite show on TV right now and this season’s finale was fan-tas-tic. I’ve probably watched it seven times already a few times by now and I still love it. Everything I expected from the show’s ending this season happened–even the arrival of the new “villain” at the end. Well, there was one thing that went wrong that I didn’t catch soon enough because I was so absorbed by the back-in-time adventure, but more on that later!



With less than two months left until the return of Once (two months is a long time, btw) I’ve decided to re-watch the entire series again, just to catch up on everything. It always surprises me how changed some characters are in season 3 when compared to season 1. The character arcs are probably my favourite part of the show; character development is my weakness, and I love how far the writers have brought these characters. And I expect the next season to be no different.

In the first season, Emma Swan (the hero and saviour of the story) was a guarded, cautious, don’t-get-involved kind of character, but by the end of season 3, we see all of that change. It’s the slow progression that makes it so good. And every major character has a complicated arc like this to get through. Every villain gets their own backstory. Every hero has to earn their title. The stories brought to life on Once Upon a Time are amazing and so well thought out, and they put such a spin on the original tales. For example, in Once, Peter Pan is the villain and Captain Hook the hero.

The writers really like bringing in “villains” that are misunderstood, as well. The end of the third season revealed that Elsa from Frozen would be part of the next season’s arc. I’m pretty sure Elsa isn’t going to be the villain, but there might be a misunderstanding before that becomes clear. My guess is that whoever Elizabeth Mitchell (from Lost; aren’t they all?) is playing–the original Snow Queen or Elsa and Anna’s mother–will be the real Big Bad this season. I feel like Elsa might get blamed for things going wrong that isn’t entirely her fault–but she might want revenge on Rumplestiltskin for locking her up in his vault. Who knows?

I’m curious to know what’s going to happen between Regina, Robin, and (spoiler, spoiler, spoiler, spoiler, spoiler, spoiler; if you look past this don’t say I didn’t warn you) Marion. This is the thing I was talking about earlier, the thing I missed because I wasn’t paying much attention to who she was (and probably because the last time I saw her she was with a completely different Robin because the actor was replaced). Regina and Robin are soul mates, but Marion is Robin’s wife. Complicated situation. But I’m sure the writers have it figured out–and hopefully won’t kill her off, because that’s the easy way out of it. (And you know Regina is going to end up with Robin, so you’re all just wondering how, right?)

But here’s the real mystery of the show: when is Hook getting real clothes? I mean I heard he is, but who knows when that’ll be. All I’ll be thinking is finally, because he’s the only character attached to his Enchanted Forest garb. But maybe that’s the point: he doesn’t want to let go of being a pirate just yet. Amongst the other spoilers was the hint that he may be getting his hand back, and I have a feeling–now that Henry will be working at Mr. Gold’s pawn shop–that the kid will be the one to find it. Maybe? Possibly? Yes?

And hopefully Emma is given more backstory episodes this season. I really want to see some of her bounty-hunting days, where she just catches bad guys, and explore that part of her life. We’ve seen the rough parts of her life (betrayed by Neal, giving up Henry, not having a home) but now I want to see her in action, doing her job, which we only saw a glimpse of in the first episode of the show. That scene is just awesome–and still is, no matter how many times you watch it.

Anyway, more than a little excited for next month to roll around. I’m hoping the writers throw out a promotional video for the new season soon, though that’s probably just going to make me more excited about it all.

On another note, the third Throne of Glass novel is out–Heir of Fire. Can’t wait to pick it up!!

Happy reading, guys!

~ Sandra

Quill Pens, My Newest Love

So I purchased a quill pen not long ago. I’ll post a picture of it.

quill pen

I just LOVE it! I’ve always wanted one. It has an owl feather, which is not what I originally had in mind. I was aiming for a black raven’s feather from London but they sold out. :( But I decided this one looked just as nice. I read online that it was difficult to use but I didn’t find it so bad. Now it just feels natural to write with, and I think I’ll use this pen as an excuse to write an entire book in my notebooks instead of on computer. I’m aiming for a stand-alone novel, but all of my ideas revolve around having multiple books. Trying to think up something new or to condense some of my other ideas but it’s difficult. :/

Does anyone have any great brainstorming techniques when it comes to creating new stories? I’d love to hear them!

~ Sandra