How the Written Universe Works: Choreographing Violence #amwriting

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

In most genres, whether it’s mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, thrillers, or horror, the characters are forced to do a certain amount of fighting. However, scenes involving physical action can become a wall of mindless mayhem.

toolsScenes of conflict are crucial to the advancement of the story. They should be inserted into the novel as if one were staging a pivotal scene in a film.

For my own planning purposes, I have four levels of conflict, ranked by the escalation of action and the broadness of the conflict.

Level 1 – Quarrel – interpersonal disagreements, disputes, angry words, shouting, everyone walks away.

Level 2 – Skirmish – 1 to 5 combatants total, with one-on-one physical violence. Minor wounds, everyone walks away.

Level 3 – Melee – small gangs or squads clash, some combatants are seriously wounded, and someone may die.

Level 4 – War – full-on battle, many combatants, each side attempting…

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