~*~*~*~*~*~* This giveaway is now closed ~*~*~*~*~*~*I am very pleased to have Chloe Neill as my first guest here on Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings.
Chloe is author of the awesome Chicagoland Vampires series and the upcoming YA novel Firespell, which releases on January 5, 2010. The second book in the Chicagoland Vampires series, Friday Night Bites releases this coming Tuesday, October 6th.
Stay tuned to the end of this post for the giveaway details.
Welcome to Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings - Chloe, the floor is all yours!
You Fight Like a Girl!
This will come as a shock to no one who knows me.
I am not a fighter.
That's not to say I haven't enjoyed my fair share of kickboxing lessons, hours spent punching or kicking at heavy bags. My punches weren't that powerful, but I managed a pretty mean roundhouse.
So when I'm writing a fighting scene for Merit, I have virtually no expertise in figuring out what she should do, how she should do it, or what it's supposed to look like. Since I'm supposed to be writing scenes that help the reader visualize the fight (or training scene) as it's playing out, this can be quite a problem. Thus, I've compiled below some tips and tricks for writers with warriors...who haven't quite mastered the arts themselves.
1. The Interwebs
Wikipedia for an overview of the background and history of the fighting style you're interested in. And this is a crucial step--if you're writing a heroine who constantly picks fights, a primarily defensive form of martial arts may not be the best model for you to use. If you've got a heroine who uses a sword, you need to learn about fighting techniques that use weapons--not just kicks, blocks and punches. The kicks page on Wikipedia is one of my favorites; check the image of those butterfly kicks!
Second, once you've identified a form (or forms) that you're particularly interested in, do a little Googling to determine if they have a national organization. For example, the U.S. Judo Association has a fabulous Web site with tons of information about the history and techniques of the art.
Third, once you've done your background, the Web can be an invaluable tool for seeing the moves in action. From You Tube videos on roundhouse kicks to step-by-step tutorials on Jiu Jitsu moves, a little searching can produce great resources to help you visualize--and write--those tricky fight scenes.
2. The Big Screen
Enter the Dragon to a very bad-ass, sword-wielding Uma Thurman in Kill Bill 1 to the gorgeous scenery and ethereal fighting of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, movies can be great ways to break out of a fight-scene rut.
3. Be Your Own Expert...or Find Your Own Expert
Maybe due to the popularity of MMA/UFC fighting, classes for kickboxing, Muy Thay, Krav Maga and other marial arts forms are popping up all over my town, adding to more traditional offerings like Tae Kwon Do and Judo.
You've got a couple of options: You can take the plunge. Join a Tae Kwon Do class and work your way up the belt ladder. Join a fitness kickboxing class and get used to thinking about how your muscles move, how to incite an attack and defend one.
Or, you could use the resources out there to find your own local expert. Visit a class, talk to the instructor, and learn what they have to teach. Are they willing to critique fight scenes you've written? Let you take notes or make sketches during a class or two? Spar with you during class breaks?
Do keep in mind, of course, that the instructor is paid to teach. While he or she may be thrilled to help out a writer, don't take undue advantage of "freebies" or push your requests past the point of politeness. Offering to provide copies of your books, an acknowledgment for the instructor, or paying a by-the-class fee are compensation possibilities.
4. Got a DH? Use him.
Finally, don't be afraid to push the notebook or laptop back, get out of your chair, and test out the moves. Try a test kick and imagine how the opponent might respond, where an attack might come from, or how the heroine might fend off an attack.
If you've got a roommate, DH ("dear husband"), family member or friend available, have them help out. But remember--the goal is not to lay waste to your best friend. It's to think about fighting in a three-dimensional sense. :)
Thanks for reading, and thanks to Fantasy Dreamer, for having me today!
Chloe has graciously offered to give away to one lucky winner a $25 Gift Card to her Cafe Press store, where you'll find great items like this Team Ethan t-shirt and the super cute Cadogan pup t-shirt plus much more.
And I'm giving away one copy of Friday Night Bites or Some Girls Bite, winner's choice.
~Updated for clarification~ There will be two winners: One winner for the GC to Chloe's Cafe Press store and another winner with a choice of the Chicagoland Vampires books.
Answer this question: What is your favorite fight scene - book, movie, etc.? Plus be sure to mention which prize you'd like to win.
This contest is open to everyone and close at 8:00 a.m. CST on Monday, Oct. 5th.