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Block, Parry, Strike! - the lightsaber index and discussion thread. New topic 10/12

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Jennifer_Lyn, Oct 4, 2005.

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  1. Jennifer_Lyn

    Jennifer_Lyn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2005
    [hl=seagreen]The lightsaber.[/hl]

    Weapon of choice for Jedi the galaxy over. They?re pretty, they make really wicked noises, but how the heck do you write about them?

    I ran into just this question recently and began my usual research process. I found quite a bit of information, some on writing, some on combat styles, some on how character?s personalities are intensified during a duel.

    With such a vast amount of thoughtful insight and information out there for the taking, it begs the question, why don?t most lightsaber duels and battles go beyond ?he blocked, she parried??

    So here we are. A place to ask those questions and hopefully find some answers!

    This thread will function as a comprehensive index and discussion on lightsabers in general and in detail. This will include their use, construction, fighting styles, training methods, etc. with the obvious caveat that it pertains to how to write about them. Here you?ll find a place to discuss how to transfer those marvelous fights to paper (or in this case pixel) and find the balance between the technical analysis of each move and the powerful emotion and Force control that occurs simultaneously throughout each duel.

    Usual thread rules apply here, no spamming, trolling, or advertising. Quoting your own work is acceptable only when using it as an example or explanation.

    *J_L thanks the mods for their blessing and bows in a traditional show of respect before the assembled crowd*

    The training salle is now open!



    PM me links and the usual info for the index, please.

    I'll take anything where the lightsaber plays a major role. A duel, a big combat scene (saber vs. blaster), a training focused fic or where the saber is constructed or utilized as a major plot device.

    An ideal example of duel/combat would be an AU of the Mustafar duel where we get lots of description of action, not just focusing completely on all the angst and emotion. I'll take just about anything where the construction of a lightsaber is the focus of the tale and gimme anything where a non-Jedi uses a lightsaber!

    If you're not sure if your fic makes the cut, pm me a description and I'll let ya know.

    Author: (with profile link pasted--not hyperlinked)
    Co-author: (with profile link pasted--hyperlink optional)
    Title: (with link pasted--not hyperlinked)
    Era:
    Keywords:
    Genre:
    Summary:
    Status:
    Notes:


    [hr]


    [hl=seagreen][color=white]To start us off, here are some links for your research:[/color][/hl]

    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=10860874&replies=18]The original The Amazing Lightsaber thread[/link]

    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Fan_Fiction_Resource/b10304/16165506/?26]Writing a Compelling Lightsaber Duel[/link]

    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/The_Star_Wars_Saga/b10456/12655678/p1] The huge ?Personality characteristics in lightsaber styles? thread on the Saga forum[/link]

    [link=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightsabers]The wikipedia entry on lightsabers[/link]

    [link=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightsaber_combat]The wikipedia entry on combat forms[/link]

    [link=http://www.thelightsaber.com/IndexFolder/index2.htm]Great looking site dedicated to this elegant weapon[/link] - Thanks oqidaun!

    [link=http://blogs.starwars.com/taiald/6]Our own DarthIshtar's article on saber duels[/link]

    [link=http://www.howstuffworks.com/lightsaber.htm]A fun little article on how lightsabers work[/link]


    [hr]


    [hl=seagreen][color=white]Current topic:[/color][/hl]

    Lightsaber. Okay, that's one word for the elegant weapon for a more civilized age. When writing a duel, you can only say lightsaber so many times before sounding redundant. What else do we call it? Gimme some other words you use to describe a lightsaber.


    >
     
  2. Jennifer_Lyn

    Jennifer_Lyn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2005
    [hl=seagreen]Training, Duel and Combat Stories[/hl]

    Author: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/user.asp?usr=911592]RK_Striker_JK_5 [/link]
    Title: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Beyond_the_Saga/b10477/17300335/?1]Tenel Ka vs. Darth Maul[/link]
    Era: Not applicable
    Keywords: Tenel Ka, lightsaber duel. Action.
    Genre: Action.
    Summary: Tenel Ka finds herself in some arena and must fight Darth Maul-or die trying.
    Status: Complete
    Notes: Just a bunny I got at the YJK Fan Club.

    *****

    Author: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/user.asp?usr=911592]RK_Striker_JK_5 [/link]
    Title: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Beyond_the_Saga/b10477/18595459/?0]Tsavong Lah vs. Darth Vader [/link]
    Era: NJO
    Keywords: Vader, Vong, action.
    Genre: Action
    Summary: Tsavong Lah confronts the Chosen One-and pays the price for his lack of vision.
    Status: Complete.
    Notes: Actually the climax for a larger fic I wrote a while back. I edited it and rewrote it a bit.

    *****

    Author: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/user.asp?usr=911592]RK_Striker_JK_5 [/link]
    Title: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=13736038&page=1]Three New Sailor Senshi[/link]
    Era: 25,500 years before Yavin to 1,000 years after.
    Keywords: Crossover, Sailor Moon, Young Jedi Knights.
    Genre: Crossover, action, adventure, romance, drama, comedy.
    Summary: The Rock Dragon lands in Tokyo.
    Status: Complete.
    Notes: Has a lot of lightsaber fights, actually. And a lightsaber contruction scene.

    *****

    Author: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/user.asp?usr=1197348]Souderwan[/link]
    Title: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/The_Saga/b10476/20073250/p1]Fall of the Sith[/link]
    Era: Saga
    Keywords: AU, Mace Windu, A/P, and more...
    Genre: Action/Drama
    Summary: Mace Windu makes a critical decision that changes the outcome of the entire SW saga.
    Status: Complete
    Notes: The action is interspersed throughout but the major lightsaber battles happen towards the end. You have a major fight between Yoda and Mace followed by Mace and Anakin. The fights are long and complicated and cover lots of phyiscal territory.
     
  3. Jennifer_Lyn

    Jennifer_Lyn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2005
    [hl=seagreen]Saber Construction, Alternate Uses for a Lightsaber and *gasp* Non-Jedi User Stories:[/hl]

    Author: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/user.asp?usr=1199020]Jennifer_Lyn[/link]
    Title: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Before_the_Saga/b10475/20916855]Becoming As One[/link]
    Era: Before TPM
    Keywords: Qui-Gon, Padawan
    Genre: Introspective Drama
    Summary: Qui-Gon has constructed his new lightsaber.
    Status: Completed
    Notes: A lightsaber construction and "bonding" vignette

    *****

    Title: [link=http://boards.theforce.net/The_Saga/b10476/21040431/p5] Burn! Burn! Burn! Chapter Twenty Five [/link]
    Author: oqidaun
    Era: 5 Years before AOTC
    Genre: Horror
    Characters: Obi-Wan, Anakin, Yoda, Master Poof, Mace Windu, OCs
    Summary (General): A harbinger of the dark times ahead, in the form of a nine year old girl, appears in the AgriCorps and blazes a murderous path straight to the Sith Lord's door.
    Summary (Chapter Specific): Badour spars with Amil the Zabrek.
    Status: WIP
     
  4. Jennifer_Lyn

    Jennifer_Lyn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Hale and welcome! Jump on in with your thoughts!

    [hl=seagreen]Here's our topic:[/hl]

    How do you begin writing lightsaber combat? Do you sketch it out on paper, recruit siblings and friends and make them run around the yard, waving broomsticks at each other? Tell us about how you start writing combat and duel scenes!
     
  5. Killik_Twilight

    Killik_Twilight Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 6, 2005
    If I want to write lightsaber combat, I get out my LEGO Jedi figures, put lightsabers in their hands, and use them to choreograph a lightsaber fight.

    KT
     
  6. RK_Striker_JK_5

    RK_Striker_JK_5 Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Registered:
    Jul 2, 2003
    I do it in my head, almost all of it. I might act out a bit in front of my PC, but for the most part, it's internal.

    And what type of fics are you looking for, JL? I'm not sure of the criteria.
     
  7. oqidaun

    oqidaun Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2005
    Cool idea for a thread!
    I must admit that I really suck at writing duel sequences. I need to get off my lazy bum and take a fencing class, which I think would help me. Until then, I block my limited scenes (so limited I've not posted any yet, but one is coming up in Burn!) with my action figures. It gets intense as I managed to break poor Kit Fisto's saber the other day.

    Here's a website I like...
    [link=http://www.thelightsaber.com/IndexFolder/index2.htm]Lightsaber.com[/link]
     
  8. Jennifer_Lyn

    Jennifer_Lyn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Ooh, Jon, I'll go clarify that. I'll take anything where the lightsaber plays a major role. A duel, a big combat scene (saber vs. blaster), a training focused fic or where the saber is constructed or utilized as a major plot device.

    An ideal example would be an AU of the Mustafar duel where we get lots of description of action, not just focusing completely on all the angst and emotion.

    Let me know if I can clarify this any further for you.
     
  9. VaderLVR64

    VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 5, 2004
    The thread looks great, oh former Padawan mine! You do a Master proud! [:D]
     
  10. Jennifer_Lyn

    Jennifer_Lyn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Thanks for stopping by everybody!

    I just updated the guidelines for the index.

    I found a lot of people who posted in the old threads had a good knowledge of how to write these scenes, but a lot of it went beyond newbie level. I'm hoping to focus on basics and help those of us just starting to write these things *points to self* learn to make them compelling and action packed.

    That and I just think lightsabers are darn cool!

    EDIT: oqi, thanks! That link looks awesome!
     
  11. JadeSolo

    JadeSolo Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Legos, KT? [face_laugh] I should remember that one! I have a lot of Lego Jedi men.

    I think a lot of people don't go beyond "block parry slash thrash swipe" because it's hard to picture the action in their heads. And it's hard to make it realistic when you're not sure of the logistics. Yes, I'm talking about myself. :p Maybe it's also laziness, that you don't want to go researching fencing methods and fighting styles for a quick duel.

    Also depends on the story, whether the point of the duel is to point out more the character's lightsaber form or the emotions he's feeling. And since I've only ever done the latter, I've been content with "block parry slash thrash swipe." [face_blush]

    I did once, however, try to act out a move I'd written. Discovered the move was pretty damn hard to do without pulling something. [face_laugh]
     
  12. Killik_Twilight

    Killik_Twilight Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Yes, Jade, LEGOs.

    I am an engineering student, after all. :p

    They come in very handy for all sorts of fic stuff?

    KT
     
  13. RK_Striker_JK_5

    RK_Striker_JK_5 Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Registered:
    Jul 2, 2003
    I never have it just saber on saber action. The fighters are usually also trying kicks, punches, elbow strikes and other stuff. It can get really physical. And of course trash-talking is a must.
     
  14. Stella_Ripple

    Stella_Ripple Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Hey, at least LEGOs are fairly harmless!
    Once while I was babysitting my little cousins, I had the bright idea that I should suggest they have a mock sword fight, and of course the little dears took me up on it!
    Thank heavens I had the foresight to take them outside!!
    While it was a nightmare, bordering on a premature heart attack! In hindsight, I think there was definately some elements that could be fic worthy. Oh, maybe not the super duels of Kenobi/Skywalker, but for a little scene of an initiate's first lesson....damn, I think I've given myself yet another plot bunny!
     
  15. Jennifer_Lyn

    Jennifer_Lyn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2005
    I'm just getting started in writing these things myself and I'm in quite the pickle.

    I don't like the idea of just doing block, parry stuff. How do you decide what a cool or appropriate move is when you're using those Lego men, KT?
     
  16. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    For those who need a basic lesson, here's a little article I wrote after having a group lecture on how to write duels. [link=http://blogs.starwars.com/taiald/6]Dueling for Dummies[/link]
     
  17. Idrelle_Miocovani

    Idrelle_Miocovani Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Ish's article is very good. I highly recommend it. :)

    ---

    I find it very amusing how this pops up and reminds me how my goal in fan fic writing is lightsaber duels! :D

    How do you begin writing lightsaber combat? Do you sketch it out on paper, recruit siblings and friends and make them run around the yard, waving broomsticks at each other? Tell us about how you start writing combat and duel scenes!

    I've redone the way I do lightsaber duels. I usually do a few sketches and get the entire thing planned out in my head. Then I either go watch a few scenes of a movie where there are battles (at the moment, I've watching Gladiator quite a bit for that) or I read the closest book at hand if it has a duel or a battle scene in it, just to get me in the right mindset for writing battle sequences. Then, once I get settled down and start to right, I usually start jumping up and down and acting it out, sometimes in front of my mirror and occasionally making lightsaber-esk sounds just for the sake of it. It's somewhat embarrasing when someone bursts into my room when I'm trying to write a battle scene. :p
     
  18. Ace_Venom

    Ace_Venom Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 22, 2002
    I generally ask myself what sort of intensity I'm looking for in a lightsaber duel. If I want a short fight, I go with a single location where one character may be more than a match for the other. If it's a moderate fight, I might change locations a few times. If it's long and ferocious, I will cut it between scenes. But those aren't always the guidelines I follow.

    I also try to keep style in mind. The lightsaber form will most likely reflect the characterization. A young Obi-Wan was full of fire, so Ataru fit him well. But as he got older, Soresu was more fitting. But again, this isn't always the case.

    I say just go with it.
     
  19. Jennifer_Lyn

    Jennifer_Lyn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Ah, but here's the problem, Ace. What if you can't wrap your head around how to write what Soresu would look like? How do you break it down into new combinations of moves and movement around the environment?

    Beginners like me go, okay, I know Obi-Wan is the king of defensive moves, but what the heck is a defensive move? See what I mean? That's why we end up defaulting on "he blocked and she parried" stuff with no other details.
     
  20. Ace_Venom

    Ace_Venom Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 22, 2002
    I've always pictured Soresu as graceful. Soresu is a defensive technique because it was designed specifically to deflect blaster bolts. I watched Obi-Wan's fight scenes and I noticed he keeps a somewhat close defense until the appropriate time. I also think of one of Luke's quotes from DA that mentioned striking quickly and decisively.

    Obi-Wan struck quickly and decisively, but there was an almost graceful form to Soresu, was there not?
     
  21. Souderwan

    Souderwan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2005
    I love this thread, JL!! :D

    Ok...I'll toss in my two cents. If you want to write a fight well, it helps to have been in a fight or two. Yes, I know you've never been in a lightsaber fight (if you have, please let me know), but the principles are fundamentally the same. A fight is all about jockying for position to establish dominance and ulitmately achieve victory. If you've never been into a fight, you should maybe try talking to someone who'd done a lot of fighting. you really need to learn about fighting if you hope to graduate between "block, parry" (and so many people have no idea what those terms really mean).

    The last hope to write a good action-filled lightsaber battle is something I've done more than not (I'm not sure how effective they were, but I liked 'em). I gloss over the details and only throw them in to advance the fight. This is actually easier than you might think. All you do is focus on the emotional content of the fight and talk about the fight only as necessary to move the characters from one point to the next. Here's an example of what I'm talking about from a fic of mine:


     
  22. MirandaFair

    MirandaFair Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 13, 2005
    Just the thread I was looking for!

    I'm new to the SW ff universe, although not new to SW, in general. [face_blush] Reading all the hints truly does help. I've found in planning out some fights scenes for my fic, that my knowledge with my karate and self-defense has helped to give me a better understanding of how the body moves when fighting. Thus helping me to find better descriptors.

    None of my friends would ever want to spar away. ;) Probably afraid I'd hurt them. LOL (I promise, I wouldn't [face_batting] ) However, my imagination seems to run off on it's on when I listen to music. I don't let it dictate where the scene should go, but the rhythm helps in choreographing the struggle of the characters. Anything from the SW soundtracks to classical to any instrumental pieces gets the gears moving. I try to avoid music with lyrics, since I don't want the lyrics to somehow make their way into the fic.

    Great threat, again.
     
  23. Jennifer_Lyn

    Jennifer_Lyn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Welcome to the new visitors!

    Souderwan, that's a great scene and some really good advice, too.

    *racks brain trying to think if anyone she's know has ever been in a fight*

    I've updated the links and I'm on the hunt for fics for the index!

    Souderwan, if you send me the info for that fic, I'll gladly post it. It's got great saber scene!
     
  24. Ob-wan-shawa

    Ob-wan-shawa Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 10, 2005
    I always have this problem. In my mind it's this awsome duel with amazing cool moves and so cool. Then I try to write it and it comes out.
    He stabbed, he blocked, he slashed, he blocked. And so on and so forth.
    It's a very annoying thing. Also trying to figure out a way that a guy won, how was his winning move, did he slash just go fast. No it has to be cooler.
     
  25. Souderwan

    Souderwan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2005
    I'll PM you in a moment. Thanks for the invite and I'm glad you liked the scene. As for struggling with the whole RL fighting thing, a good substitute is to go at it with a friend. The very act of wrestling with someone and trying to gain dominance can help you flesh out the feelings you need to achieve in your writing.


    Obi-Wan struck quickly and decisively, but there was an almost graceful form to Soresu, was there not?

    Soresu, in and of itself is no more graceful than say Kung Fu is graceful. The 'art' in martial arts is expressed in the artist. You watch some martial artists and every movement is like a well-coreographed dance of utter beauty. You watch others, and their movements, while technically correct and crisp, seem almost mechanical. Obi-Wan is graceful because he completely surrenders himself to the Force when he fights (Stover has a beautiful description of this in his RoTS novelization). He submerges himself in the Force and lets its currents guide his movements. When you look at someone like Mace fight, however, his movements are harsh and jerky. There's nothing graceful about his fighting style. That's because Mace controls the Force as much as he allows it to guide him. He makes demands on the Force to push him to victory. That's the essence of his fighting style, Vapaad--one must desire to win. Notice that one style is not necessarily superior to the other. It's all in the warrior who employs the style.

     
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