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Showing 1-10 of 26 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 31 reviews
on January 19, 2013
Im a huge fan of combat instruction and experience, but two stars must be given because this is a very very quick read being so because so much detail is left out. Nothing about violence escalation stages, reactions to these stages by those other stages, and the differentiation between mindsets of the murderous versus the basically aggressive. Missing too, is any notion of fighting those with altered perceptions (fiending addicts, the insane), and or group fight dynamics and psychology (handy if your character is a gang banger or victim of gang violence for example). It seems more geared to low level one on one sport fighting or basic survival methods. Very broadly brushed topics regarding some weapons, fight distances and strike options, and so forth but doesn't get into the viscera of the fight experience (it tries at times). Some physiological responses are touched on but so much detail and subject matter is left out that your fight scenes will start to sound eerily familiar if you just rely on this book to flesh them out. Very rudimentary. Too short by far and is a direct result of leaving whole swaths of pertinent info out.
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on March 24, 2016
I was going to pan this for being the wrong book, but then I read through the blurb (and even the subtitle) and realized that it was largely my fault that I got the wrong book. Furthermore, I recognized that the information contained in this tiny e-book is good and that it’s packaged in a concise form. I, thus, concluded that this is the right book for someone—just not me nor many of you. I’ll, therefore, devote the bulk of this review to differentiating for whom the book will be beneficial and for whom it won’t. Because of the dearth of books on the topic I was interested in, I can imagine others erroneously purchasing this book and having (the albeit tiny) $2.50 worth of buyer’s remorse.

I purchased this book (and another one that returned on the search for “writing fight scenes”) because I’m rewriting a chapter in my novel in which fight scenes are prominent. I realized that there is a fine art to writing a good fight scene, and that I could use some help in being more effective at it. One needs fight scenes to have fast pacing and to be visceral. At the same time, one must avoid getting bogged down in detail even in the face of multiple attackers or unfamiliar and complex weaponry. This book won’t help you one iota in this regard, and, to be fair, it says in the blurb that the book will not help with one’s writing.

The book is about what it’s like to be in a fight and how to separate Hollywood myth and misconception from reality. As a long-time martial artist with both military and law enforcement training as well as an avid reader, there was nothing new or interesting in this book—though there wasn’t much I would disagree with either.

Three criteria for readership:
1.) You haven’t witnessed or experienced a fight (outside the choreography of the silver screen) since middle school. This book describes the experience and effects of fighting and what skilled fighters try to do in close-quarters combat. It aims to help writers purge theatrical nonsense from their fight scenes and inject some verisimilitude.
2.) Your fight scene is a standard 20th/21st century brawl. What is discussed is one-on-one fighting--unarmed or with weapons that one might see wielded today. One won’t gain insight useful in historical fiction, or anything that doesn’t echo today’s form of fighting.
3.) You don’t want to put a lot of time or effort into reading and / or researching the subject. The author does advise the reader to take martial arts or self-defense classes as a superior way to learn what he is trying to teach. What this book has going for it is that it’s only a 43 page (and a couple dollar) investment. If one is interested in getting a much deeper understanding of the topics covered, I would recommend a combination of Lt. Col. David Grossman’s On Killing in conjunction with any number of full-length martial arts books (I’m reading Bruce Lee’s Tao of Jeet Kune Do presently, and it’s certainly an excellent candidate.)

To summarize: this book is useful to teach one about realism in fight scenes, and not about structuring such scenes. There are only three examples (2 short and one long) in the book—none from what would be considered exemplary works. If you’ve taken a martial art or had military or law enforcement experience, there’s unlikely to be anything new or intriguing in this book. Even if you just watch MMA regularly and / or read about fighting or combat, there’s a good chance you won’t learn much.

However, if watch Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Rumble in the Bronx and say, “So that’s what a fight looks like,” you should definitely give this book a read.
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on May 30, 2011
You're making great progress in writing your novel and then you come to the climactic fight scene. You know how it's supposed to go. You can see the whole thing in your head, blow for blow, until the bad guy is down on the ground, bruised, bloody and unconscious with the hero standing over him, fists clenched, barely breathing hard, not a hair out of place. The girl runs into the hero's arms, they kiss, end of story.

So you write it, and somehow, on paper, it's not as good as it was in your head. Or your critiquers put voice to your fear: "Sorry, it's just not realistic." So you rewrite and rewrite and you just can't get it. You need experience, you figure, but you've never been in a fight in your life. You've only watched them on television and in movies. How can you write what you don't know? Short of starting a barroom brawl, what do you do?

Start by reading this book.

Alan Baxter is a writer and martial arts instructor. He knows how to write and knows how to fight. He wrote this book to help you and me, the non-fighter, write our fight scenes with confidence and accuracy so no one can tell us, "Sorry, it's just not realistic."

The book is broken out into small chapters that cover the various techniques of fighting as well as reactions and outcomes. It also includes a cheat sheet checklist and a sample fight scene.

"This book won't teach you how to fight, but it will teach you some of the things you need to know to write convincingly about fighting."

As you read this how-to-write book, keep paper and pen handy because you will want to take notes. Some of the information seems obvious, like "nothing is more important in fighting that footwork," and "it's hard to hit a moving target." We know those things already (right?). But how about "when you fight, you will get hit." We may not want a single hair on our hero's head to be disturbed, but in a real fight, his opponent will land blows and he will get hit. He has to, if you want to keep it real. And getting hit hurts. It hurts everyone, even the most intrepid of heroes. He may even feel like crying after being hit, which is a natural reaction. Add these facts into your story, and the realism starts to come. Readers will start to believe your fight scenes.

(But of course, we'd never allow our hero to cry. Let the bad guy be the blubbering baby after the hero delivers a crushing right cross.)

"When two tigers fight, one limps away, terribly wounded. The other is dead." - old Chinese proverb.

You can't learn fighting from a book, but with this book and your fertile writer's imagination, you can factor in elements you may not ever have considered and make your fight scenes realistic, so readers will think you know what you're talking about. And they'll want to read more. That's the hallmark of a good story.
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Aspiring writers that hope to write realistic fight scenes in their works will do well to take Mr. Baxter's advice in this concise and insightful little book. His approach is well organized to various aspects of a fight and how best to describe those aspects for the realism and pace you need in your work. The final portion of the book is a sample of a fight scene from one of the author's other books. More good examples would be helpful but at the cost of brevity. Having studied martial arts, I can confirm Mr. Baxter makes the key points you will need to give your own work the feel and pace of a real fight. Mr. Baxter's approach is to the point making for a quick read so you can get back to putting his advice into practice in your own work.
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on January 3, 2016
Needing a quick guide to not embarrassing myself while writing fight scenes, I bought this particular book based on recollecting how detailed, precise, and effective the fight scenes were in Bound, Alan Baxter's first Alex Caine novel. It is very much a quick guide, but pretends to be nothing else. It gives solid instructions for using physical violence effectively in a work of fiction. That focus on applying the information in fiction - conveying the fight through reaction rather than description of technique, how a fight is likely to engage the five senses, or the consequences of fear and adrenaline and how to counter them, for example - struck me as perfectly useful for my purposes. My copy was covered with highlighting by the time I was done.
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on March 3, 2017
I found this book to be a big help, as it went into the emotions and feelings a person goes through when in a fight or just before.
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on July 2, 2016
This is an excellent introduction to some basic information about fighting. It's short, so if you expect it to be a comprehensive discussion on everything to do with fighting you will probably be disappointed. It also probably isn't going to provide any new information for someone who has a lot of experience with fighting. But if you are like me - a non-aggressive, non-violent person who has never been in a fight but wants to be able to more realistic fight scenes - this is a really helpful introduction to the subject.
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Sooner or later, most authors are faced with the necessity of having a character throw a few punches. A streetwise cop taking on thugs or a hunky gentleman saving his damsel--whatever your cuppa, the nature of conflict demanded by good fiction means characters often end up getting physical with each other. This is a good thing, since no conflict means no story. But what isn't so good is the fact that many of us are uninitiated in the cold hard facts of fighting. We take our cues from Hollywood's overblown, highly unrealistic action--and, as a result, we fail to present the necessary telling details to convince our readers that our fight scenes are the real deal.

Fortunately, we have Alan Baxter on our side. In this fast read (12,000 words) professional fighter and author Baxter shares his expertise in the friendly manner of two friends taking a morning coffee break. His down-to-earth voice and self-effacing wisdom is so darn likable, you might almost forget this guy is lethal--except for the fact that he's packed this book with an insane amount of useful details about how to recognize, initiate, survive, and win a fight.

He explains up front that no book, especially one of this size, is capable of teaching you how to fight or even how to nail all the details of your characters' fights. But this is the perfect place to start. He explains the basics of physical confrontations, the psychology behind the action, and the all-important "what not to dos." When I started the book, I wasn't sure what kind of information I was going to find; I was half-expecting a relatively un-useful list of kicks and punches. But Baxter goes far beyond that. Not only will your characters be better fighters by the time you've finished reading this book, but you'll have picked up a few good self-defense tips for yourself. In short, I highly recommend this book. Five out of five stars.
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on November 7, 2012
Alan is an author, and a fighter, so who better to refer to when you need some pointers on how to structure that brawl in your latest piece of fiction? Write The Fight Right is an easy read, short, sharp and to the point, rich in detail when it comes to both the nature and effects of a fight, both from a physiological standpoint as well as a psychological one, and short on unnecessary waffle and conjecture. If you're writing the kind of story where someone is about to start throwing punches, you need to read this book, to understand a little bit about what it is like and what the aftermath may well be. Depending on your protagonist, you may well find yourself rummaging in your bag of tricks for an alternative out if your guy isn't necessarily going to be able to go toe-to-toe with your antagonist's behemoth body guard. In addition to his basic instruction, Alan provides some examples of writing basic fight scenes, and wraps up the experience with a passage from his anthology of short stories regarding an intergalactic bounty hunter, proving his willingness to put his money right where his mouth is.

In short, this e-book was an illuminating read, and well worth the entry price for anyone considering unarmed combat in their own writing.
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on February 18, 2017
Clearly written, instructive. Nice examples of "verbose" fight scene versus tightly written fight scene.
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