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'fight' scene/story intro desirous of some comments and feedback about this scene

#1 User is offline   Mason of High House Death 

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 10:53 PM

The following is a short scene which I plan to be the intro to a new fantasy novel I'm currently working on. If anyone's inclined, I would appreciate some feedback on it.

Specifically;

How coherent is it? can you understand what's happening, what I am attempting to describe?

and

does the in-depth description of the technical 'moves' take away from the enjoyment of the scene? Does the energy of the fight get lost in the details?

The reason I'm asking is because we've probably all read fight scenes (often by martial artists, which I happen to be) that get bogged down in details, so the fight becomes boring and hard to follow.

Thanks, any feedback is appreciated.

Here is the scene:



The strike, hands then body then feet moving in progression, the latter accelerating to catch up to the former so that the blow was delivered in one smooth sequence born forward by the weight of the attacker's entire body. The cover, as the opponent cut forward into the attack with his own blade,intercepting it, and the clash of steel on steel, and the swift rotation as the attacking blade spun, launched by the pivoting of its wielder's wrists and forearms, and came round the other side. Even as this follow-up blow was launched, its deliverer was stepping deeply forward and to one side, moving off his opponent's line and inside the arc of his blade. The sword snapped down, caught his opponent high on the right arm, and sliced downward and out in a long, drawing cut.



Had the blade been edged, it would have opened the opponent's arm to the bone, possibly gone deeper.



As it was, the many layers of linen that formed the sleeve of the opponents gambeson absorbed much of the impact, and Qilik Marpadian followed up the blow with a short thrust into the steel wire of his opponents mask, then danced backwards, moving out of distance, or 'measure,' as it was referred to in fencing circles. The opponent's blade flailed after him, one-handed, but the blow was half-hearted and already he was out of range, dropping back into a solid waiting posta.



"Well struck." His opponent's voice came to him slightly muffled through the mask, and Qilik acknowledged the compliment with a brief salute.



The two figures, both clad similarly in leather and steel fencing masks, linen gambesons, and bulky hardened-leather training gauntlets, squared off. Vestor Trabias was the shorter of the two, thick of chest and thick of waist, but fast for all of that and strong as a bull, a wickedly tricksome and powerful grappler. Qilik was slightly taller, a compact, well-muscled man who moved with an authoritative grace across the training hall's wooden floor, leather shoes scuffing softly on the worn boards, longsword held easily in both hands.



The two men circled, shifting smoothly between different stances, the blades of their longswords high, then low, then trailing in the "long tail." Neither was willing to close with authority. Twice they clashed, but these were indecisive engagements performed at wide distance. At the termination of the second of these short bouts, the short, hard, muscular man watching from the perimeter growled and jabbed at them with a scarred wooden baton.



"Are you two dancingor trying to kill one another?"



The maestro's gravelly rebuke drove Qilik into action. No sooner had the words been sounded then he launched another attack, a downward strike roughly following the line that ran between Vestor's left jaw and right knee. Vestor covered strongly, blunt edge meeting squarely with blunt edge. This time they ended up closer to one another, with the blades higher. Instead of cutting around to the other side, Qilik shot his pommel forwards,hooking round Vestor's blade. His let go of his own hilt with his left hand and seized Vestor's thick forearm, trapping it while he hooked the shorter man's sword out of his hand with his pommel.



Vestor's blade clattered to the ground, but the man was far from finished. The very force of disarming him had spun Qilik slightly about, so that he was side-on to Vestor,and the stocky man exploited this mistake with lightning speed. His right arm shot up to curl around Qilik's neck, pinching him in the crook of his arm with brutal force, even as his left flailed out to block Qilik's attempts to bring his own sword around and strike. Before Qilik could begin to formulate a counter, Vestor stepped in and threw him over his hip.



Qilik landed hard, the breath expulsed violently from his lungs, barely stopping his helmeted head from slamming back against the hardwood, and Vestor was on him, one ham-sized fist around his throat, the other balled, raised, ready to strike. For an instant the two men stared at each other, eyes half-veiled by the wire cages of their masks.



Then, from thefloor, "salute, my friend. Well done indeed."



Vestor's cocked fist dissolved into a flutter of fingertips as he executed a mock bow, and then he was reaching out, helping Qilik to his feet. The two opponent's clasped forearms in acknowledgment of mutual respect, then turned away to collect their fallen blades. They trouped towards the plain benches lining the walls of the training hall, where a smattering of other students awaited their turns in the list. The clash of steel on steel persisted from other quadrants of the hall, as several additional pairs of fighters continued to spar.



Qilik set his sword down and stripped off mask and skull cap, then gauntlets. He slung sweat from his forehead and ran a hand through his short dark hair, which was just beginning to show touches of grey at the temples.



"That was apretty throw, Trabias," he commented to Vestor, de-armouring at his side. "Very pretty indeed."



"A nicedisarm as well."



"Ha. For all the good it did me."



The maestro,Iberoc Hyll, spoke over his shoulder, voice lifting to carry over the sounds of combat. "Tell me why, Marpadian. What went wrong?"



Qilik jerked his head in a short bow. "I didn't wrap the arms, Maestro."



"Ah,"the maestro spread his own arms as if struck with the revelation of some infinite truth. "You didn't wrap the arms. What will you do next time, then?"



"Wrap the arms, maestro."



The maestro nodded in satisfaction and turned back to the ongoing fights, tapping his baton against one leg while his gimlet eyes watched every move and countermove.


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#2 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 02:55 AM

Overall, I would say its a good scene. But you might want to consider the following:

1. Stop using the former and latter stuff. It sounds cumbersome in a fight scene.
2. Instead of saying 'he' and 'opponent' in the first para, go straight to the names, but don't use their full names in the middle of the fight. Just Qiliq and Vestor might do. You can give full names later if necessary, in a bit of exposition. I think this will improve compactness and flow, which are very important in a fight scene.
3. For some reason I found the hand-to-hand part more coherent than the blade to blade part.
4. Are you using omniscient narrator style, or PoV style? If using PoV , you might consider giving internal thoughts and manuevrings of the character.
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#3 User is offline   Mason of High House Death 

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 03:02 AM

View PostAndorion, on 19 November 2014 - 02:55 AM, said:

Overall, I would say its a good scene. But you might want to consider the following:

1. Stop using the former and latter stuff. It sounds cumbersome in a fight scene.
2. Instead of saying 'he' and 'opponent' in the first para, go straight to the names, but don't use their full names in the middle of the fight. Just Qiliq and Vestor might do. You can give full names later if necessary, in a bit of exposition. I think this will improve compactness and flow, which are very important in a fight scene.
3. For some reason I found the hand-to-hand part more coherent than the blade to blade part.
4. Are you using omniscient narrator style, or PoV style? If using PoV , you might consider giving internal thoughts and manuevrings of the character.


Thanks, those are all good tips. Will try to rework the scene at some point, don't know when, and repost it with some of those suggestions worked in. I knew there were a couple of things off about the scene, but sometimes it takes a third person to really see what they are.
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