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.
Scenes 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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