Episode 10: Write Fight Scenes

by Liz

July 2019 – A discussion of “Dojo to Page: How to Write Fight Scenes” with the book’s author, Utah native Christine Haggerty, author and black belt, who loves to create and share stories of strength and survival.

Key points from her book and our discussion:

  • Assess your audience
  • If you are including a fight/action scene, you are writing genre fiction, NOT literary fiction
  • Prewrite, this should probably also involve pictures and toys and maybe some movies or video games
  • Consider the amount of training and experience your character has, what is their relationship with violence?
  • “The point of the set-up is to create context for the fight so that the actual fight can be written as nothing but a nitty gritty sequence of action measure in heartbeats.”
  • Emotional fallout is the point of a fight scene in a story.  How does this situation affect your characters?

From the back cover of the book, “Christine Haggerty has a B.S. in Secondary Education and over fourteen years experience teaching both language arts and traditional karate. She is an expert in both writing and fighting and combines her expertise in these fields to bring you an effective guide on action scenes.

She is also an award-winning author of dystopian and dark fantasy fiction and loves to spin fire on the weekends.”

Visit her author page on Amazon, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


  • 10:00 AJ Scudiere and the Author’s Combat Academy
  • 15:03 customizing for the Young Adult and Romance novel genres
  • 17:27 fight scenes v. action scenes
  • 19:29 5 moves and John Wick and Ant Man and the Wasp
  • 21:39 write according to the laws of physics, then add magic
  • 24:19 accessibility and flare
  • 25:22 character blocking and measuring it out
  • 29:35 favorite fight scene that she’s ever written
  • 35:04 from one character’s point of view
  • 35:42 Adrenaline
  • 42:18 emotional fallout
  • 52:03 why readers like fight scenes so much
  • 53:27 primal and universal

Coming up in September 2019 – A discussion of The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall with The Legendarium Podcast panelist, Tabernacle Choir member, and theatre actor and director Todd Wente.

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