Touche Subjects--A workshop on how to write lightsaber duels--Finally! Some action!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by DarthIshtar, Dec 15, 2007.

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  1. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001

    Hello, all, and welcome to the second-half-of-December workshop. Thanks to Valairy_Scot for an awesome workshop on dialogue. I look forward to doing this and hope that you do as well.

    Obviously, my name is DarthIshtar. You can call me Ish. I've been fascinated with duels since my mother dragged me to a movie theater in Burlington, MA and made me watch three films I'd never heard of called Star Wars. It is no surprise to my family that the day that I went to see The Phantom Menace, I spent all of the time before my tae kwon do class in the locker room, admiring Ray Park, Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor.

    Lightsaber duels are as much an integral part of the saga as the famous efforts of Rogue Squadron or the Gungan victory. They comprise some of the most intense emotional conflicts in filmmaking, including the redemption of Anakin Skywalker, the revelation of Luke's lineage, the discovery of Dooku as Yoda's Padawan and other such things. We admire the forms of Yoda and Mace and are enthralled by the sheer emotional impact of Obi-Wan's faceoff against his former apprentice.

    I have previously done one treatise on the subject of lightsaber duels, which can be found [link=]here[/link]. Do not be deceived. It may be entitled "Duels for Dummies," but do not think that I regard anyone trying to write a lightsaber duel as a dummy. I believe that anyone can, with practice and a few basic principles, learn how to write an effective lightsaber duel.


    For anyone who is here to learn the in-depth methodology of writing in Form V or some such thing, we will not be taking that approach. All fiction is meant to be accessible and important to the people who will read it and we will be focusing on those aims.

    I do have a basic format planned on, but we will broach subjects that you guys bring up as they come along. The chief purpose of this workshop is to improve the participants' understanding of how to make a written lightsaber duel as alive and vibrant to the reader as if it were on film.

    Discussion #1

    1) What do you consider to be the greatest fight scene on film? This can be either Star Wars or any other fandom. What made it important to you?
    2) What do you hope to gain from this workshop?
    3) What is your greatest weakness in writing duels?
    4) What is your greatest strength?

    Exercise #1

    Give an example either in your own work or in a fellow author's story where they demonstrated skill in writing a duel. 500 word maximum. Please introduce the excerpt by pointing out what stands out to you most about the excerpt.
  2. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    I am in and a nice one

    1) What do you consider to be the greatest fight scene on film? This can be either Star Wars or any other fandom. What made it important to you?
    The fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin in ROTS. Obi-Wan was fighting defensive, trying not to kill and Anakin the opposite.
    2) What do you hope to gain from this workshop?
    A more fluent writing style for fights.
    3) What is your greatest weakness in writing duels?
    They are short and descriptive
    4) What is your greatest strength?
    the descriptions of the moves

    Exercise #1

    Give an example either in your own work or in a fellow author's story where they demonstrated skill in writing a duel. 500 word maximum. Please introduce the excerpt by pointing out what stands out to you most about the excerpt.

    This was my first attempt at some action in a lightsaber tournament and comes from [link=]The name is Bhik, Magin Bhik[/link]

    Anakin walked to the centre ring and mounted the stairs leading to it.

    Deke Hoi-Zhik entered from the opposite side and both padawans greeted the three masters who would judge them: Master Cin Drallig, Master Mace Windu and Master Plo Koon.

    A green blade ignited and Deke greeted Anakin who had ignited his blue blade.

    Deke moved like a whirlwind and executing a perfect Kata he scored the first strike on Anakin?s chest who was baffled by the performance.

    Anakin barely managed to put his saber in the defensive form before a second strike could catch him across the throat. He jumped and threw himself into a backroll that brought him to his feet and found Deke there already. He felt the gentle instructions through his bond with his master and sent ?no Master, this is my fight? and he erected some shielding.

    Anakin was becoming angry ?Soresu is for weak fighters. I have to do something else? and he remembered the ballet and his education by the dancers and took one step forwards. He threw up his shields and they became like durasteel and he immersed himself in the full unifying Force, coming close to the dark side.

    He met Deke?s saber and pushed it back. A right-handed flip and with each step he stroke a blow to Deke?s lightsaber forcing him to back, making it impossible for him to make another move.

    Obi-Wan saw Anakin being hit by the first two attacks of Deke and muttered through his bond ?Anakin full Soresu, not that. Remember our sparring. Hey, do it? He got a reply and felt some shielding through the bond. Seeing the moves and remembering Mace Windu?s fighting style he tried to warn Anakin again through the trainingbond but met an absolute block.

    Deke used his knowledge of the Korun fighting style taught by his master and tried another aggressive countermove.

    Anakin became fully immersed in the Force and using all his strength he could parry the strike and executed another series of strong blows to the saber of Deke. He finally managed to get a strike home and Deke gave a short yelp when Anakin?s saber connected to his right arm. Had it been a fully powered saber he would have lost his arm, now it only left a small burn.

    A second later his left arm met Anakin?s saber and Deke signalled his defeat when Anakin struck his neck.

  3. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    Early_bird_obi_wan, great to have you here. Hopefully, others will come, but for now, you have my undivided attention.

    I see what you mean in your assessment of your own writing. It is not necessarily a bad thing to have short and descriptive duel scenes--it depends on the tone you're trying to set and the pacing of the story. I was curious, so I went and looked at another one of the duel scenes from that fic and there are several times when you do well with the non-contextual fighting. This is what I call it when the sparring is not something that will have an extended effect on the surrounding storyline. The opening sparring with Ticalla and another Padawan is a good example of this.

    What I observed in the Anakin/Deke duel is that you definitely have the descriptions down, though there were a couple of places where I was unclear on what exactly was being done. For example:

    He met Deke?s saber and pushed it back. A right-handed flip and with each step he stroke a blow to Deke?s lightsaber forcing him to back, making it impossible for him to make another move.

    Finally, as I said before, there is no harm in having short and descriptive scenes, but something you will see mentioned a few times in this is that it needs to go beyond the physical movements. In this scene, we knew the end result and how it was achieved, but we did not know if either of them were getting out of breath or what the opponent's weakness was.

    Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed reading that.
  4. Ceillean

    Ceillean Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 13, 2001
    1) What do you consider to be the greatest fight scene on film? This can be either Star Wars or any other fandom. What made it important to you?

    There are so many. ^^ Various martial arts scenes, especially Jet Li, got stuck in my head. Fluent movements, extraordinarily fast and -- depending what movie -- lethal.

    Considerung sword/lightsaber fights, Anakin and Obi-Wan's final fight is the one fight I look back to whenever I consider writing a lightsaber fight.
    I can't really pinpoint what made it important, it's just an amazing fight scene. I was astounded at how fast the human body can actually move. :p

    2) What do you hope to gain from this workshop?

    Insights in better writing. Especially phrasing and correct descriptions.

    3) What is your greatest weakness in writing duels?

    I can't say, because I've honestly never gotten that far.

    4) What is your greatest strength?

    See above.

    Exercise #1

    Give an example either in your own work or in a fellow author's story where they demonstrated skill in writing a duel. 500 word maximum. Please introduce the excerpt by pointing out what stands out to you most about the excerpt.

    This excerpt it not mine. Jinn_Soresom wrote a while back and I could picture everything he described. There aren't as many tiny details, which I think is good, because I didn't get caught up wondering if whatever the characters did was even possible.

    ( [link=]VERSUS[/link] )

    The crashing and buzzing of the blades of light echoed throughout the empty chamber. Anakin Solo threw himself at his brother in a dazzling display of swordsmanship, feinting a high slash before twirling his blade in a vicious gut stab. Jacen dodged for his life, more on his heels than on his toes, the sheer ferocity of Anakin?s assault driving him back.

    The furious Jedi pounded away on the Sith Lord?s defenses, great double-handed blows forcing Caedus to devote himself entirely to defense, a posture entirely unsuited to a Dark Lord. Anakin?s blade dove in from impossible angles as Caedus jerked awkwardly, avoiding mortal blows by the narrowest of margins.

    The violet blade met the crimson one as the two combatants locked into a stalemate, their faces so close together that their breath mixed in the charged air between them.

    ?This is the end of you, my brother,? Anakin said.

    Jacen reared back to strike and Anakin lashed out with a Force-push that sent Caedus hurtling through the air. Jacen flew back almost ten meters before twisting in mid-air and skidding into a crouch. Slowly rising to his full height, Jacen replaced the lightsaber onto his belt and began to laugh.

    Anakin charged, lightsaber to the side in preparation for a killing stroke.

    ?My turn,? Jacen rasped. The darksider surged forward, both hands snapping out brutally. As the telekinetic blast erupted from Darth Caedus, the intense power of his Will spread out, blasting windows in succession, rending the walls and disintegrating multi-ton stone pillars into only so much dust. The Force-Wave from Hell struck Anakin with more power than a speeding snubfighter, and only a hastily erected shield prevented the Jedi from being reduced to a scrap of bone and a scream. As it was, Anakin was ejected from the Palace, crashing through the wall and bulleting almost a mile before driving into the wall of a nearby office complex.

    Darth Caedus looked upon His work, and it was good>
  5. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 10, 2005
    Awesome topic Ish!!! I'm rubbish at duels, so I would love to learn more about how to write them!!

    1) What do you consider to be the greatest fight scene on film? This can be either Star Wars or any other fandom. What made it important to you?

    I'm gonna have to go with Anakin and Obi-wan from RoTS! I thought it was exciting, and not over done. I have a problem with a lot of duels that they get boring to me after a minute or two, but I could have watched them duel all day long! (And not just because the way they looked! ;) )

    2) What do you hope to gain from this workshop?
    To learn how to write duel realistically!

    3) What is your greatest weakness in writing duels?

    4) What is your greatest strength?
    I've had a little bit of Kung Fu and stage fighting training so I know how to fight pretty well, but I just can't seem to get it into words!!

    Exercise 1
    This is actually from my fiance's only fic (and I'm not picking this just because he is my fiance) and I think it is a real crative way to show a fight scene. It leaves a lot to the imagination, but gives you enough that you know what is going on.

    [link=]Confrontation[/link] by jace84z

    Blue. Green. Blue. Green...[/b]

    As our dance resumes, I know that anger alone cannot save me. He is too sure, too full of hate for my emotion to overcome.

    The bitter end it may well be.

    [b]Green. Blue. Green. Green...[/b]

    A sharp pain in my thigh, followed by burning. The same to my bicep, my torso, my cheek.

    I can feel his overconfidence; he believes this to be a sure victory.

    He knows I'm not listening, that I will not join him, yet still he draws this out.

    A darkly humorous thought: He's running out of relatives to destroy.
    Blue. Green. Green. Green...[/b]

    "This is it." It's not my voice--and certainly not Caedus'--that I hear within my head. But I know exactly how I must win.
    Hiss. Grunt. Snap-hiss. Gurgle...[/b]

    I douse my blade, and immediately feel the fire as his green blade pierces my flesh, missing my spine by micrometers. I do not know what has been wounded, other than my kidney, but I do not care.

    I see the realization strike his face a moment too late as I place my hilt to his neck.

    I watch--with detached pleasure--the life leave the eyes of my cousin as my blade springs into existence, passing through flesh and bone.

  6. Alexis_Wingstar

    Alexis_Wingstar Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 16, 2006
    Discussion #1

    1) What do you consider to be the greatest fight scene on film? This can be either Star Wars or any other fandom. What made it important to you?

    Any Jackie Chan fight sequence. Not only does Jackie Chan's style put you on the edge of the seat, the fight scenes are enjoyable to watch... they make you laugh and give you an adrenaline rush at the same time.

    2) What do you hope to gain from this workshop?

    To be able to write a fight (in general) and duel scene more smoothly, and be able to flesh out the actual fight moves.

    3) What is your greatest weakness in writing duels?

    Description of both the actual fight and the reactions to being hit tends to be awkward.

    4) What is your greatest strength?[/quote]


    Exercise #1

    Give an example either in your own work or in a fellow author's story where they demonstrated skill in writing a duel. 500 word maximum. Please introduce the excerpt by pointing out what stands out to you most about the excerpt.

    Ok, this isn't exactly a duel, but it is a fight scene. It's the longest I've ever done, and I know it needs work, but I'm proud of the general execution... it is from a novel I'm writing and is in a universe of my own creation. The snide banter between the two and the pacing is good. I think the action itself isn't too bad, either. What makes it interesting is both combatants are "good guys":

    Captain Jarviah and Darsham stood facing each other, their eyes locked in challenge as Nuyai stood dwarfed between them. ?You may only use your bodies as weapons. The only way you shall use your mouths is by taunting each other. There shall be no biting! The fight shall go on until one admits defeat or is pinned for a count of ten.? The wisdom backed away several feet then announced, ?Begin!?

    The two men, clad only in cut off leather trousers, slowly circled each other, eyeing each other warily. They each feinted several times before the captain threw a punch in earnest at Darsham?s face.

    The younger man caught the fist in his hand and squeezed. At the same time, he threw a punch with his other hand toward Jarviah?s nose.

    Jarviah caught Darsham?s fist, and the two clasped each others hands, trying to push each other back. Each of them dug their feet in the ground as their opposite shoulders ground against each other.

    ?You are strong, Jarviah, but face it. You are old. You cannot possibly beat me strength for strength!? Darsham boasted.

    ?I don?t need to,? Jarviah grated between his teeth, ?you?ll make a mistake like you always do.? He quickly shifted down and back in a controlled fall, hoping to bring Darsham with him so he could flip and throw him.

    Darsham, however, quickly twisted to the side and managed to break the older man?s grip as they both fell. Just as they were about to hit the ground, Darsham threw his elbow out in an attempt to hit his opponent in the neck as they landed, but missed and hit Jarviah?s shoulder instead.

    Both men grunted in pain as they both rolled away from each other. They both quickly got back to their feet and faced each other once more. Instead of circling each other, both attacked each other head on. Fists and feet flew at lightening speed. Both men dodged and blocked each other?s blows so quickly, the spectators could only watch in awed silence. Only a few sympathetic moans or excited cheers could be heard every once in awhile when one or the other would score a hit on their opponent. Neither men seemed to have an strong advantage over the other.

    During a lull in the fighting as both men backed away to catch their breaths, Jarviah spotted a familiar face in the audience, and he smiled to himself. ?This is why your fiance left you, whelp, you can?t even overpower an old man.?

    ?At least I can attract a woman.? Darsham smirked. ?I don?t have to have a pinup over my bed to pretend with.?

    Jarviah?s eyes narrowed as h
  7. yodas_waiter

    yodas_waiter Jedi Youngling star 3

    Oct 31, 2006
    1) What do you consider to be the greatest fight scene on film? This can be either Star Wars or any other fandom. What made it important to you?

    My mind is stuck at the moment but usually when I think duel, my mind moves instantly to the opening duel of Hero, which takes place in the rain and is simply beautifully shot and choreographed. I also think of the duel in Robin Hood (the Errol Flynn version) for it's simplicity and it's fun too watch.

    More to say on Star Wars however. I actually compiled a [link=]list[/link] where I ranked all the duels and it has changed little. The final duel of the Saga will always be my number 1, for emotional content, scenery, music, the way it's filmed and so on.

    2) What do you hope to gain from this workshop?

    A better sense of how I want the duel to look like. When it comes to action, my mental image of it tends to be fuzzy at best.

    3) What is your greatest weakness in writing duels?

    Deciding what I actually want in a duel. Therefore, the depiction tends to get all muddled, with it being very descriptive in one sentence yet vague in the next

    4) What is your greatest strength?

    I think that I don't lose track of the character and that I at least manage to give the duel a somewhat human face.

    Exercise #1

    I've actually ever only written one duel but I've written many action scenes since and I think the same way of thinking tends to apply. The only duel I've written comes from my first story, [link=]Interrupted Celebration[/link], and I think it shows those problems I've just talked about. The duel is clear in some places but somewhat vague in others. I like it, but seeing as this is supposed to be a climax, it should probably be done much better. I also tend to repeat myself (in this case, the word dodge). However, I think I manage to keep the protagonist firmly in the centre of events and that he doesn't get lost in all the action.

    ?You,? the Chancellor spun around. ?You just don?t give up do you? Seize him!?

    The Chancellors guard advanced on Paska and unsheathed their cortosis vibroblades. The blades glittered in the setting sun as the three guards raised them and bore them down on Paska. Paska managed to dodge one and met the other two with his saber. From his right, the guard made a lunge and Paska managed to dodge it just in time. The two other guards fell back as they avoided their fellow guard and as Paska kicked the lunging guard in the back, he could advance on the two others. Sabers and vibroblades whirled as they clashed. The guards were very well-trained and even though Paska had aid from the Force, he still only had a marginal advantage over them.

    Occassionally, he would cast a glance at the Chancellor and see him standing someway off, near his ship. Chancellor Siom wanted to see how this ended. Paska kept on dodging the blows coming from the guards and dived to avoid the third guard coming up from behind. Paska was growing tired and had less and less control over where his saber landed. The guards did not seem fatigued at all, even though they were carrying the heavy ceremonial suits of the Senate guards. Saber and vibroblade clashed again and by drawing up massive amounts of strength, he called upon the Force and pushed the opposing guard into the wall.

    A guard came running from the side and jumped in the air, ready to impale Paska onto his vibroblade, but Paska twirled around and avoided the attack. He quickly let his saber fall to meet the vibroblade but they did not meet. Instead, Paska heard a quick hiss as his saber cut through something soft. The guard landed face first on the floor and the vibroblade with his sliced hand still holding it. The guard was rolling around in pain and holding the stump which had been his arm. Paska was paralysed. Not only was this his first duel, alone, but this was also the first time he caused a living being serious bodily harm. Paska stood l
  8. Katana_Geldar

    Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Mar 3, 2003
    Great topic, Ish, I'll be able to get some hints to make mine better.

    1) What do you consider to be the greatest fight scene on film? This can be either Star Wars or any other fandom. What made it important to you?

    Luke vs Vader in ROTJ. I think it's due to the emotion in the scene as Luke is fighting his father and doesn't want to kill him, neither does Vader want to kill Luke.

    2) What do you hope to gain from this workshop?

    See what other ficers do and make my own fights better.

    3) What is your greatest weakness in writing duels?

    Getting the character right. You really have to know your character before you can fight with them. Another problem I have is the verbs and adjectives of fighting, I tend to repeat myself.

    4) What is your greatest strength?

    Using the scenery, as you can see in the short excerpt in ROTS AU when I had Jedi Padme fighting Anakin.

    Exercise #1

    This leads on from a scene similar to Luke and Vader clashing 'sabers in ROTJ. Padme goes to attack Palpatine, Anakin stops her and they start fighting. What really stands out for me in this scene is that Padme and Anakin had fought vefore, about seven years previously before Anakin had declared his love for her. But now it's different as they're on completely different sides. Anakin wants to save Padme, but Padme wants to save EVERYONE, even if it does mean killing Anakin.

    In a curious way it was similar to when Padmé and Anakin first fought on Naboo. Their styles were almost unchanged. Anakin with his brash, powerful and almost arrogant way of manoeuvring against Padmé?s lighter, quicker and more agile form.

    Yet where Padmé was completely immersed in the living Force, Anakin used his anger as fuel for his attacks. So in a way the fight was different. Before it had been intense, but not deadly, almost playful. There was nothing light-hearted about the way they clashed now or about their intent.
    Several times their blades intermingled, neither one gaining an advantage. But it was not long before they were both at it again.

    Anakin used brute force to augment his attacks, spinning his lightsaber close to his body before making a single, strong lunge at Padmé. She twisted out of his range, her lightsaber moving with are as she turned and then attacked him from behind.

    But Anakin was quick to intercept her attack, blocking her quickly. Left, then right, then left again, pressing the blue blade hard against Padmé?s green one.

    Padmé span out away from him, her blade in a trail behind her as she moved. Anakin moved with her, his movements mimicking hers. She stepped back again, then span her lightsaber around and thrust the blade forward with a thrusting motion. It took a moment for Anakin to move out of the path of her blade, and another one for him to bring his lightsaber blade up to lock with hers.

    They stared at each other, not speaking, yet within seconds they were at it again.

    With her lightsaber low beside her leg, Padmé turned further away, giving ground and forcing him away from where Sidious continued to sit. Anakin rounded on her, trying to gain the upper hand and lead the fight where he wanted it to go, but she didn?t let him. And when he turned around to block her way, Padmé brought up her lightsaber against his and then flipped over his left shoulder.

    Furious, Anakin span after her but Padmé was on the offensive, her lightsaber everywhere at once and all he could do was deflect it. She then withdrew again, coming to a stop a short distance away from Anakin with her lightsaber in a low guard position.

    Anakin attacked, making his lunged as wide as he could to trap Padmé and force her to move the fight his way, but she didn?t. She simply fell back again, and Anakin could see she was running out of ground as behind her was a large flat table. Eventually she would have to take the offensive, eventually she would have to force him back and he would somehow gain the upper hand.

    The blue lightsaber blade snaked dangerously close to Padmé?s b
  9. Alexis_Wingstar

    Alexis_Wingstar Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 16, 2006
    Is it allowed for us to give constructive criticism as well as praises to other writers participating in this workshop?
  10. mrjop2

    mrjop2 Jedi Knight star 4

    Jun 6, 2007
    I'm not sure If I sure do this workshop, because I feel that the fight scenes are one of my strong suits, but I figure...You can never be strong enough in this field!

    Discussion #1

    1) What do you consider to be the greatest fight scene on film? This can be either Star Wars or any other fandom. What made it important to you?

    I would have to say...Lord of the Rings. Lame, I know.

    2) What do you hope to gain from this workshop?

    I am currently finishing a trilogy and I am in the middle of writting one of the longest and biggest saber duels in most of the Star Wars universe. I figure I can find ways to perfect it.

    3) What is your greatest weakness in writing duels?

    I would have to say repetitivness. I keep saying lines like: ...Using the Force.... or ...swinging her lightsaber...

    4) What is your greatest strength?

    My saber duels are very descriptive, and very well choreographed. I must make a confession, I actually act out the duels when I am alone in my room to make sure that what I am writting is at all feasble. Granted, I am not as agile and capable of fighting like a true Jedi, but it gives me the basic idea of how the human body reacts to certain moves.
    I also add some very fun physical attacks instead of relying on just swinging the saber until one hits it target. It makes the fights seem more realistic and gives you the feel that someone is not playing fair.

    Exercise #1

    Give an example either in your own work or in a fellow author's story where they demonstrated skill in writing a duel. 500 word maximum. Please introduce the excerpt by pointing out what stands out to you most about the excerpt.

    Well, there is another fight scene I would rather put here, but it has not be written yet. This scene, is where the main character, who has been very strong in fighting two dark lords, and has killed one of them already. The last remaining dark lord, the main badguy, steps up the fight and here we see the main character struggling to keep up with the new pace. I like this scene, because although the light sabers are used, they are used in a very unconventional way as the two adds a physical element to the fight.

    When reading this scene, also keep in mind: Jacina (the main character) is fighting a Sith spirit that is currently possessing her husband, so she is fighting more or less to try to find a way to save her husband but at the same time has gone into the battle realizing that she might just as well have to kill the man she loves to save the galaxy.

    Sithious was not kidding when he said that he had not been fighting very hard. Since the fight had gone up a level, she has been finding herself getting battered and bruised as she found herself on the defensive more than being on the offense.

    Sithious came leaping at her wildly, bringing down his blade on top of her. She quickly brought her blade in front of her, blocking the attack. When he began to press down on her, it became a battle of physical strength. With careful planning and timing, she grabbed Sithious by the wrist and used her right foot to pound on his ankle, causing him to loose his footing. Instead of falling on top of her, she used the Force to give her enough strength to throw him over herself allowing her the time to roll onto her gut and push herself up onto the feet.

    Jacina?s clothes, as soaked as they were, were starting to show the signs of war. Having dodged a few very close calls, her attire had some rips and tears. The biggest tear was that at the bottom of her shirt, where she had been almost sliced in half. Now a green cloth strip dangled as her belly revealed a few singed strikes from the close calls.

    The two of them charged at each other, swinging their blades at full strength. The two blades collided between them with such impact, her wrists felt the sting. Despite the sourness of her wrist from the impact, she pushed his blade to the side and stepped in towards him. Twisting her ankle, she rammed into him with her right shoulder blade
  11. OmonD'Narde

    OmonD'Narde Jedi Youngling

    Oct 31, 1999
    1) What do you consider to be the greatest fight scene on film? This can be either Star Wars or any other fandom. What made it important to you?
    Either the duel in Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi, because of the emotions behind the duels, and the operatic nature of their purpose within the films.
    2) What do you hope to gain from this workshop?
    Different insights of how to write action and fight scenes.
    3) What is your greatest weakness in writing duels?
    Probably the technical side of it; creating an easily followable action sequence.
    4) What is your greatest strength?
    Getting into the minds of the duelists and (hopefully) conveying the emotional content of their actions.

    Exercise #1
    I like the excerpt because I'm focusing more on what Vader is thinking rather than fleshing out a series of actions. Seems like a duel must be won in one's mind before winning physically.
    Taken from my Heirs of the Force story:


    Vader sat in his personal training and sparring room, the lights dimmed to almost darkness and the atmospheric controls adjusted to near lethal levels. The air was thin, the pressure nearing deep space levels, and strewn about the Dark Lord were the remains of the first two dueling droids he had decimated. His suit was almost running at full capacity, maintaining breathing functions, and increasing power to the servomotors to his limb?s joints. With each new combatant the environmental conditions grew worse and worse. Exactly as he had programmed it.
    Soon, he would practically be fighting in the void of space.
    From across the room, a fresh dueling droid entered; spindly and nimble, these droids were specifically made for close melee combat. Clutched in it?s metal hand was a green bladed lightsaber. Vader felt his suit adjust to the sudden drop in pressure; the air growing colder and the gravity lessen. He could feel his mechanical suit strain against the conditions, but the darkness building up within the Dark Lord fueled his actions.
    The droid lunged forward at its target with almost deadly accuracy, slashing the ground that Vader had been meditating on. The Sith Lord was in the air, his own saber coming to bear, like a crimson arc against the danger room?s walls. Vader landed softly on the ground and found the attacking droid continuing its ferocious attack, powerful yet calculating.
    He brought his saber up to defend and could feel his suit almost pleading with him to stop, that the conditions were to great to continue this intense work out. But he could not stop, not now. He was now fighting what seemed like three opponents: the droid, the environment, and his blasted suit.
    The droid?s attacks were strong and sure, well placed and very clean. Vader had programmed his antagonist well, leaving very little opportunities to strike. Yet the droid?s weakness was also its downfall. For in every battle and every duel, technique and power played a great role, yet without emotional content, it was nothing.
    The Dark Lord of the Sith could feel the anger boiling within him, allowing the thrill and violence of the battle consume his every action. His experience with the renegade Jedi on the space platform made him realize how desperate they had become to ensure the survival of the Order. And if the Emperor?s own Apprentice were to champion the utter annihilation of the Jedi Order, then the Sith Lord would need to be ready for any contingency, no matter how extreme.
    Such situations would be of little concern to a warrior with a complete connection to the Force, but the bulky and at times sluggish (at least compared to his original speed) mechanical suit that encased his ruined body was like a duracrete wall that needed to be circumvented at times. But, Vader mused as he deflected another blow from the droid contender, the best way around a wall is to crash right through it.
    Vader spun away from the droid, fueling his actions with the darkside, and struck out with his blade. Saber?s clashed in a tremendous explosion of light and ozo
  12. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    Ceillean--I'm glad that you brought up the importance of fluent/fluid movements in fight scenes. We'll be talking about that later. Correct phrasing will also be brought up. I look forward to seeing what you do with this. :) Great excerpt--it uses a lot of very metaphorical physicality that reminds me of James Kahn's Return of the Jedi novelization.

    mavjade--Welcome and thanks for coming. I seriously doubt you're "rubbish," but I hope this will help you. We seem to have a ocnsensus about the greatest fight scene. :) What do you feel is holding you back from writing "realistically"? I'll be interested in seeing the stage fighting and kung fu coming into play. You've probably got some very valuable assets right there that we just need to work on exploring. I like that excerpt because it was based almost completely on sensation rather than formal thought.

    Alexis_Wingstar--I love a lot of the Jackie Chan fights. They have a great deal of the fluent nature that was mentioned earlier. We'll be sure to work on fleshing out the actual moves. You've got an edge on me for pacing. :) I liked your excerpt because you had a good balance between the emotional involvement and the physical motions.

    yodas_waiter--Ah, I love that one! The final duel of the Saga is basically the pinnacle of what I consider to be an effective duel for the reasons you listed. As for the "mental image," I'm going to admit that I don't leave it to visualization. I have the habit of acting out things in great detail in my living room or kitchen. My roommate is amused by it. We'll definitely be working on the issue that you mentioned about deciding how it will proceed. Human face is a great asset. Something that I observed in your excerpt was that you took mind of the physical effect of things like being impeded by heavy ceremonial suits. That is something that a lot of people do not remember.

    Katana_Geldar--Hi there! :) The conflict in that duel is awesome in so many ways. Very good point about knowing your character. That will actually be dealt with next. You seem to have a good grasp of the need for a multi-perspective duel.

    Alexis_Wingstar--Can all people involved here mention whether they would like constructive criticism? I am in favor of it, but do not want it given out immediately. This needs to be a friendly environment.

    mrjop2--We'll see. Maybe you'll get some tips on enhancing what you already excel at. :) Which part of Lord of the Rings? Good luck with your saber scene in that. We'll definitely work on expanding the situational vocabulary that you said you repeat.
    Interesting use of the description of the clothes. It added a certain tension to the scene.

    OmonD'Narde--Interesting observation. What do you mean by the "operatic nature"? I admired your excerpt because of the emotional frankness of it as well as the originality of the circumstance.
  13. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    It's only fair that I share as well, so here's my answers:

    Discussion #1

    1) What do you consider to be the greatest fight scene on film? This can be either Star Wars or any other fandom. What made it important to you?

    I would have to name the Return of the Jedi final duel because there were so many battles going on, both on a physical and psychological level. It was the first battle I had seen with real suspense, where the absolute righteousness and power of the protagonist weren't set in stone.

    2) What do you hope to gain from this workshop?

    An understanding from other writers on effective ways to write.

    3) What is your greatest weakness in writing duels?

    Pacing--I usually get it right in the end, but it frequently takes me a few tries to get the rhythm of it right.

    4) What is your greatest strength?

    Vividness and intensity of the duel.

    Exercise #1

    I began "To Cast Away Stones" knowing that one particular character would be killed by Anakin Skywalker by the end. It was not until I got to the actual writing of the scene that I realized that I fully intended it to be from the point-of-view of Luke Skywalker, who would not be able to safely observe it. Instead of changing perspectives, I decided to maintain the integrity of the intended emotional level and wrote my first and only 'off-screen' lightsaber duel. Not a single line of this scene is based on visual stimulus.
    The man in the corridor was shrouded in a robe that was such a dark shade of brown that it might have been black. He was of a smaller build and he was breathing quietly as if he didn't want to be overheard. Just by looking at him, Luke would have never associated him with the Emperor's right hand man.

    If Luke had dared to look into the man's eyes, though, he would have recognized part of himself. Anakin Skywalker's body was here, but he had chosen to come here without bringing the Skywalker spirit with him.

    There was no doubt that, somehow, Darth Vader had been involved in the Purges from the very beginning.

    It was the way Anakin carried himself, the air of intense concentration that reminded Luke of Vader. He seemed to be completely aware of his surroundings, but still searching for something.

    For him.

    The self-preservation that he didn't usually have screamed immediately for him to run, for all the good it would do him. After all, he'd seen Vader deflect blaster bolts without a second thought and Luke had nothing else to fight with.

    Except the Force.

    He had no idea where that thought came from, but it probably was his suicidal side. He couldn't use the Force, since he had a few days of training and three years of trial and error. It would never be enough to fight against the man who could kill without lifting a finger.

    As it turned out, the argument was pointless because Vader found a new prey.

    "I didn't think you'd be here," Anakin said quietly.

    His quarry said nothing in response, but the sound of her breathing suggested that she was trying very hard not to cry and not really succeeding. She was a strong woman and it took a lot for her to feel this much, but maybe she thought that confronting Vader with something that should have shamed him would keep him from doing the unthinkable again.

    Luke wanted to dart out from behind the pillar, to put himself between the two of them, where he should have been in the first place, but this was not his battle. Not yet.

    If he does anything to her...

    "You shouldn't be here," Anakin pressed on, his voice strained.

    "I'm here because I am loyal to the Jedi," Ti snapped. "I thought that was why you came here."

    "You know where my loyalties lie," Vader snapped, "and I thought I knew where yours did."

    "I'm not a fool," she hissed. "My allegiance is not to one person or one cause. That's something that only the blind or the stupid would do. Maybe you qualify as both."

    "No," Anakin said, his voice deadly quiet, "I feel like I'm seeing clearly for the first time in my life."

    And then Vader attacked.

    The first clash of ligh
  14. OmonD'Narde

    OmonD'Narde Jedi Youngling

    Oct 31, 1999
    Ishtar -

    I like how you portrayed the duel from another's point of view, a Star War's staple. Not only do we get a sense of what the duelists are thinking and doing, but another angle on the action.

    As for my comment regarding "the operatic nature" of the duels in Empire and ROTJ, I meant the classic struggle of good and evil and the father/son and coming of age archetypes found in many legends and literature. It's these intimate relationships between characters that really amp up the drama and angst. There is a lot more at stake in these duels than kill or be killed.
  15. yodas_waiter

    yodas_waiter Jedi Youngling star 3

    Oct 31, 2006
    Can all people involved here mention whether they would like constructive criticism? I am in favor of it, but do not want it given out immediately. This needs to be a friendly environment.

    I would very much like constructive criticism on what I've written and will write in this workshop. :)

    I'm going to read through these excerpts and offer my thoughts on them when I've got time which is sometime later this evening.
  16. Brandon Rhea

    Brandon Rhea Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 26, 2004
    Discussion Answers
    1) The duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace. There was just an air of uncertainty about it, and it was nice for me because Episode I was the first Star Wars movie that I ever saw and I knew nothing about the others. Because of that, I wasn?t able to sit there and say ?oh, Obi-Wan will live?. As a matter of fact, I specifically remember thinking that Obi-Wan would die, because I assumed Qui-Gon would go on to train Anakin. So when Qui-Gon was killed and then Maul was killed, I was really surprised. All in all, it was just epic.

    2) I feel I?m already proficient in lightsaber duels, since I?ve had practice in role-plays and reworking duels from role-plays into the form of a novel, but there?s always something new to be learned from someone and I?m hoping that this someone is here.

    3) I can visualize pretty awesome (if I may say so myself) duels in my head, but I?ve never been the best at describing the movements and attacks/defenses of the fighters.

    4) The emotional dynamic of a duel. While my weakness is not being able to describe the fight itself as much as I would like, I feel that I?m very good at writing the emotion of them and coming up with the actual events of the duel. There?s this one I?m working on now where it?s on the bridge of a Sith flagship 30 years after KOTOR where a Jedi Knight (Ussej Padric Bac) and a Sith Lord (Darth Brenos) are fighting one another during a space battle and the ship is rocking all over the place and they?re moving out into the halls and there?s explosions all over the place ? it?s just epic, in my clearly biased opinion.

    Exercise Example
    NOTE: PM me with any constructive critiscim.
    This is from my novel, Shadows of the Jedi: The Legend of Ussej Padric Bac, and it?s the duel that I mentioned above between Ussej Padric Bac and Darth Brenos. While I hate the duel in its current incarnation, it is being rewritten and it?s coming along a lot better but it is the only example of a lightsaber duel I have in my current novel. This excerpt is from the very end of the duel because of the 500 word maximum (this goes about 20 words over, but we?ll live :p) and serves as a warning to the hero. When you see Ussej mention someone named ?Lara?, then that?s the name of the woman of that Brenos was in love with. This is also incredibly powerful and emotional in terms of the overall story because it will haunt Ussej later, and it was two formerly good friends fighting to the death, as Brenos was once a Jedi Master named Dexon Kyjar. Anyway, this is it:


    From Shadows of the Jedi: The Legend of Ussej Padric Bac ?
    Chapter Four: Downfall

    Ussej suddenly realized that he was wrong and that it was not Brenos? fear he felt. It was his own, rising to the surface. He did not know what would happen if he succeed in killing Brenos, nor what would happen if he failed. Either way frightened him, though he had no time to dwell on it. As the Sith Lord stabbed forward, Ussej let out a small chuckle. It was precisely what he wanted the dark one to do. Ussej brought his blade up with one hand to turn the attack slightly, pivoting sideways to further allow the green blade to pass. Still, a line of energy scored across his chest. He bit through the pain, as allowing it to overcome him would not only kill his mind, but fuel the Sith Lord.

    Ussej changed the grip on his lightsaber, quickly changing to the deadly form of lightsaber combat that Damien had crafted and perfected before teaching it to Remer and Ussej. Rizen began its graceful dance of death as Ussej twirled his blade with the utmost precision and speed. The movement of the blade was visible only for a moment when Ussej released his restraint on the masterpiece his friend had perfected.

    Ussej slid his left foot out, catching the Sith Lord off guard and knocking him to the ground. Before Brenos could stand once again, Ussej?s blade disappeared and turned into what the Human eye would see as a t
  17. lazykbys_left

    lazykbys_left Jedi Padawan star 4

    Feb 17, 2005
    1) What do you consider to be the greatest fight scene on film? What made it important to you?

    At the moment, I think the greatest fight scene on film is the one between Harry and Peter in Spiderman 3 in Harry's house. What makes it so special to me is not the fight itself but Peter's parting line, saying Norman (Harry's father) despised Harry. This is the equivalent of kicking a man in the teeth when he's down.

    However, my favorite fight scene of all time is from the episode False Profits in the TV series Star Trek: Voyager. There is a scene where two Ferengi try to kill Neelix using a sword and, frankly, all three of them suck at fighting, resulting in what I consider the funniest fight sequence ever. There are several reasons why I love this scene: a) their swordfighting skills (or lack thereof) are completely true to their characters, b) while the fight is played for laughs, the characters are totally serious (because being hit by a sword is no fun even if it doesn't chop bits off), and c) daring to show bad swordsmanship on screen.

    2) What do you hope to gain from this workshop?

    Hopefully, I will learn to imply movements without actually writing a blow-by-blow account.

    3) What is your greatest weakness in writing duels?
    4) What is your greatest strength?

    I'm not sure, actually. Since I haven't posted any duels yet, I only have a vague subjective notion of what I do right and wrong.

    Exercise #1

    The following is an excerpt from a fic I've had on the back burner for quite a long time. Basically, it's a no-plot fic about eight Force users in a lightsaber tournament. I wanted to see how much characterization I could write within the duels.

    This duel is between Darth Maul (pre-TPM?) and Luke Skywalker (during ESB?). I wanted to write Luke being completely out of his depth and not realizing it until it was too late to back out.

    Constructive criticism is always welcome. But until Ish says otherwise, PM me, please. :)

    The first blow was nearly the last.

    Even though Luke had been expecting it, Maul's transition from cool and somewhat indifferent to a whirlwind of fury caught him off guard. A sharp rising sword stroke coupled with the Sith Lord's forward momentum struck with such force that Luke almost dropped his lighsaber. A quick succession of killing strokes aimed at his chest, neck, and head drove Luke backwards before he could regain his balance.

    Then without warning Maul disappeared from Luke's sight, and only a chilling sense of danger like an icicle thrust into his spine made him leap above a swipe to his knees. In the split second he was trapped in mid-jump, Maul's crimson blade came rising like the jaws of a krayt dragon to deliver the final death blow. Luke brought his weapon down as fast as his panic allowed. The two blades came together in what sounded like a deafening crash to Luke's ears, and in that moment he could swear Maul's fury lifted him higher into the air.

    Then the illusion broke and he fell to the duracrete floor. Luke rolled away, not trusting his legs to carry himself to safety.

    A muscle twitched by Darth Maul's eye as he watched Skywalker get up. It was all too evident that this human was no match for him - perhaps he was not even a Jedi Knight.

    [i]This is not what I trained for,[/i] Maul thought angrily. [i]This is not what I spent my entire life preparing for. A thug with a blaster could kill him without even trying. My skills are wasted on him.[/i]

    His eyes narrowed in resentment. He would not kill Skywalker - at least, not right away. First, the human must come to regret presuming to stand up against him.

    Maul held his lightsaber out, level with the floor and forming an L with his arm. When he was sure he had Skywalker's full attention, he thumbed the [i]other[/i] activation button.

    Luke stared dumbstruck as a second blade emerged from the opposite end of Darth Maul's hilt. The hum of the twin s>
  18. Quigonjecca

    Quigonjecca Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jul 2, 2007
    1) What do you consider to be the greatest fight scene on film? This can be either Star Wars or any other fandom. What made it important to you?

    The duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan in Epi: III was pretty wicked. Not only was it on Mustafar (which was perfect!), in a tense setting, and not only was it Light against Dark, but you had the Chosen One against a Council Member, Master against Apprentice, Brother against Brother and Friend against Friend. They knew each other's strengths and weaknesses; they anticipated each other, and that, for me at least, made it probably the most memorable duel in the Star Wars saga.

    2) What do you hope to gain from this workshop?

    Quite honestly, I stink at writing lightsaber duels. I'm more of a 'still life' writer, I guess you could say. I suppose all I really want to learn is how to make a realistic, moving, lightsaber battle.

    3) What is your greatest weakness in writing duels?

    I can describe my character's eyes, the way they smile, the history of the pattern on their clothes. I can describe their facial expressions and the outlay of their bedroom so that you can see it, but I fail to make a moving picture. That is essential to a lightsaber duel, imo. My lightsaber duels always end up choppy, like many still pictures stuck together in a vain attempt to create something moving. Therefore, I don?t write many duel scenes! ;)

    4) What is your greatest strength?

    I have no strength in lightsaber battling! I'm more of a blaster gal. I'm okay at hand-to-hand stuff, but lightsabers? let's just forget it. My *only* 'strength' in writing a duel would be perhaps that I can describe a setting, or the character's thoughts.

    Here's an exerpt from what I consider to be my best/least hated lightsaber duel I've written. It's from my current WIP, "Dark Child"...

    Slowly, we began to circle each other. Xanatos? face gleamed strangely in the green glow of his lightsaber; Master Jinn?s own weapon hummed blue in mine.

    Always the first to move, Xanatos struck left, and I parried. He struck low at legs, this time to the right, and I blocked again.

    ?Not bad?? he snickered.

    I smirked back at him. Suddenly, I feigned left at his feet, only to bring my saber up in a sharp arc to hit his shoulder. He barely blocked in time.

    I thought we were only dueling, but apparently Xanatos thought Force powers were fair game. So, he tripped me with the Force, and I fell.

    Instantly, I rolled on my side onto my back and in to a crouching position. He stepped back, waiting for me. I almost sighed with relief; at least he wasn?t still slashing. Standing, I looked straight at him, my black eyes penetrating his green ones.

    ?Oh Krishna,? he said, still holding my gaze. ?Nice footwork? but I think you can do better!? Suddenly, rushing at me head on, Xanatos flipped, and landed behind me. I twisted, and barely avoided a slash that would have inevitably taken off my shoulder.

    ?I thought you said we were only going to do some blocks and strikes!? I exclaimed, retreating towards the wall.

    ?Okay, I?ll settle down? a little.? A malice-filled smile played on his lips. ?I?m so sorry Krishna, am I scaring you??

    ?No, but I wouldn?t want to accidentally kill you.?

    ?Right,? He rolled his eyes, voice dripping with sarcasm. ?Let?s go again then,? And he struck.

    Xanatos was a competitive young man?even more so when in battle. I tried my best to keep him at bay, but he was clearly stronger. I kept retreating.

    ?What?s the matter Krishna?? He taunted for the hundredth time. ?Are you scared??

    My fury took control, I twisted in the air and came crashing down next to Xanatos with all my might. What was this power, this freedom that I was experiencing? It was something deep, and dark?and forbidden. I touched it again.

    ?I knew you could do better,? Xanatos said, when I landed. I didn?t pay him any mind, I just fought.

    Attack, block, slash, flip, we continued to battle. No longer was a scared. My emotions ran wild; I smil
  19. mrjop2

    mrjop2 Jedi Knight star 4

    Jun 6, 2007
    About my comment my answer to my favorite battle scene, I would say the final battle in the Two Towers.
  20. SithGirl132

    SithGirl132 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 6, 2005
    1) What do you consider to be the greatest fight scene on film? This can be either Star Wars or any other fandom. What made it important to you?
    The best I think was from ROTS- Anakin vs. Obi-Wan. Well done, emotionally powerful, and looked like a real fight!

    2) What do you hope to gain from this workshop?
    How to really write a duel well without making it too technical, but still keeping the excitement.

    3) What is your greatest weakness in writing duels?
    Being technical. I am a sabre and foil fencer, have been for four years, and always try to write fights to make them seem real and workable, keeping in mind the target areas and how to win, and also keeping it aesthetically pleasing. Not always easy.

    4) What is your greatest strength?

    Being technical, once again! I know some about how moves fit together, what does and doesn't work in terms of attack and defence, and how an opponent can throw you off or do something totally unexpected. I take notes in my fencing practices for good moves and strategies, and I always try to be realistic in my writing of duels.

    I hadn't planned to use my work as an example, but I will. This is from my NaNoWriMo fic, "Lightsaber and Amphistaff," and is a later scene in the fic not yet posted. I picked this scene since it was a bit of an unconventional duel, and I tried to put in a lot of emotion as well as action. When this chapter is finally posted it will be quite a bit of a longer duel.

    Jaina stepped into the ring, noting how Jacen?s actions mirrored her own. He saluted her, and out of years of Jedi training, she returned the salute. She ignited the lightsaber she had just constructed, savouring the snap-hiss and the smell of ozone. It cast an eerie red glow upon them.

    Jacen kept the amphistaff twined around his hand. For a moment, it relaxed, preparing for his next orders. Jacen pulled out the lightsaber, and ignited it, adding a deep sapphire light into the arena.

    Jaina laughed coolly. Of course Jacen had a lightsaber. She had expected that. Fine, Jaina thought. Do you want to play? We can play.

    She reached to a pocket in her jumpsuit, and pulled out the lightwhip. It ignited into strands of pulsing energy and Mandalorian iron, glowing evilly.

    The whip?s strands coiled around the amphistaff, almost strangling the creature. Jaina attacked again, aiming for the weak spot in the vonduun crab armor. Surprised, Jacen did not parry in time?

    Jaina?s strike landed, burning a smoking hole in the armor as the amphistaff broke free of the lightwhip?s strands. It spat venom at Jaina before she could react.

    Jacen stumbled for a moment, shocked at the pain. It had just barely penetrated, and could have been far worse if the amphistaff hadn?t distracted Jaina with venom. Jacen pushed aside the pain and sent a handful of thud bugs at his opponent.

    The thud bugs were rapidly intercepted by the lightsaber. Jaina drew on the Force to neutralize the venom; she had no intention of dying here. On a furious whim, Jaina threw a handful of Force lightning at Jacen, testing his defences?

    Jacen had gotten his act together and was now attacking. Simple attack, parry-riposte, counterattack, change of timing, feint? It was all second nature by now.

    Another wave of thud bugs distracted Jaina long enough that Jacen saw an opening in her defences. He struck at her left arm, and almost hit?

    With a furious scream, Jaina pulled back and parried hard enough that Jacen nearly lost his grip on the lightsaber. He tripped over the fallen amphistaff, which bit straight into his armor. The armor absorbed the worst of it, but then Jaina?s lightwhip came down?

    The amphistaff was cleanly sliced apart by the whip. Several of the pieces were thrashing, half-alive, when Jaina sent the lightwhip?s strands towards Jacen?

    He caught it with a combination of telekinesis and his lightsaber, which strained under the power of the lightwhip. Jacen spun away from Jaina, but still could not escape long enough to set up his own attack. She laughed and pressed on. One good twist of>
  21. Lilith Demodae

    Lilith Demodae Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 1, 1999
    Discussion #1

    1) What do you consider to be the greatest fight scene on film? This can be either Star Wars or any other fandom. What made it important to you?

    There's so many great ones, but I'm going to not mention any of the SW ones because they've been so well represented already. The fight/concert scene in the 5th Element is so wonderfully paced and intertwined. The Duel at the end of the Anthony Andrews version of the Scarlet Pimpernel is another favorite. And last, but definitely not least, the duel in the Princess Bride between Wesley and Inigo.

    2) What do you hope to gain from this workshop?

    Feedback? Maybe a polishing of my style.

    3) What is your greatest weakness in writing duels?

    I think it's getting overtechnical. I often have to go back and removed 'official' names of moves with something more descriptive that the reader will be better able to understand.

    4) What is your greatest strength?


    Exercise #1

    This isn't a 'duel' per se, but I think it's one of my better fight scenes. I'm taking this from [link=]Crash Course[/link]. I think I managed successfully to keep the move designations away from the technical and in the understandable.


    Shael rebounded from the ropes and shot toward Mason with his right arm extended. Mason ducked the clothesline and spun rapidly to deliver an elbow to Shael's ribs as he rocketed past. My man grunted in response and stuck a foot in the middle of the Jedi's footwork, tripping him up and throwing him off balance. Shael launched a loose backfist that finished off Mason's vertical hold. Mason fell into a roll, trying to come up on his feet, but he was too close to the ropes and tangled a foot, messing up his timing.

    Shael took the opportunity to step back and take stock. A lump was rising on his cheek and his lower lip was split. He had a couple reddish spots on his shoulders and ribs that were going to become spectacular bruises in a few hours. He still looked like he had plenty of energy, though. I watched Mason make a similar check as he regained his feet. A little blood was smeared across his cheek and lips from his broken nose and he was going to be just as black and blue as Shael. Both men were breathing a little hard, but other than that, they looked like they could keep it up for the next hour or more.

    Coming back toward each other, they circled again. Shael stutter-stepped and Mason hopped back. A few jabs were tossed in both directions, but nothing that really landed. Shael stutter-stepped and Mason hopped back again. A third time, Shael stutter-stepped at Mason, and a third time the Jedi hopped back. This time, though he came back forward almost immediately. I waited for Shael's lunge and that finishing right cross and sure enough, Shael jumped forward. Mason, half way through his own forward motion, paused for a split second, obviously expecting the punch, but it didn't come and whatever Mason had been planning was short circuited. Instead, Shael stepped across Mason's body in the merest opening the Jedi's pause had revealed. Coming around in a circle, Shael cupped his left fist in his right hand and powered his elbow right into Mason's gut. Mason seemed to realize what was happening just before the blow landed and sucked in his stomach, bending over the strike and moving with the force to lessen it. A backward roll to a standing position brought him out of the immediate danger area before Shael could take advantage of his sudden upper hand.

    Shael didn't wait to let him get set again, though, and took the Jedi in a tackle dive. Both men bumped up against the ropes in a tangle of arms and legs. They didn't stay there long. The furious ball of sweat and muscles and testosterone rolled across the ring as leverage shifted and fists and elbows rose and fell. I shifted on my shoulder-seat trying to see over the heads of the folks who had rushed to the side of the ri
  22. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    OmonD'Narde--Yes, that is definitely a Star Wars staple. The entire fic centered on the skewed perspectives of the Skywalker twins, so using that POV was very appropriate to the scene. Your comment on the operatic nature definitely makes sense now. The element of "kill or be killed" is more what the duel against Darth Maul was. There was really no personal dynamic other than the fact that it was Sith vs. Jedi. It might as well have been complete strangers fighting across a battlefield simply because the person across from them was wearing the enemy uniform.

    yodas_waiter--All right, I will put a list in the first post in bold of people who would like this.

    jedimasterbac--Interesting that TPM was your first run-in with Star Wars. I'd like to hear your perspective on the original films' duels based on that history. RPG can be very good practice. We'll be working on some terminology, so I hope that will be of benefit to you. Great that you have proficiency at emotional dynamics. Your descriptions are very poetic and there was good tension in this excerpt. I also liked the sheer physical reality that you incorporated, such as the jerking from having a saber pulled from his chest. I'd like to see the rest of this story, so may hunt it down.

    lazykbys_left--Oh, yes, that was wonderful. LOL, I remember that episode. Keeping true to the characters is very important and a great segue into our next section. Interesting aim in this workshop. I hope we can help you with that. You have no weakness? ;) Oh, okay, now I understand. Good luck with this. I love the opening line of that excerpt. You definitely are capturing Luke's struggle with concisely alarming sentences and descriptions. Some of the imagery is a bit muddy, but that can be worked on. I particularly like the difference of narrative styles between Luke's and Maul's thoughts.

    Quigonjecca--You brought up how multi-dynamic that duel was and I think that it is one of the most crucial things that can be integrated into a lightsaber duel. Thank you for your honesty, though it takes a lot of stink for me to actually cast that judgment on peoples' writing. :) I look forward to seeing what you will accomplish. I see what you're saying with what you feel is your struggle. Lightsaber duels on screen are easy to follow because there is visual fluidity, but creating a similar effect in a written medium without using stream of consciousness requires a lot of patient work with segues. Setting and characters' thoughts are VITAL. Don't knock them. :) Besides, in your excerpt, you use the emotional dynamic very well. The last line is physically improbable, since the effect of plunging a saber into a neck would probably interfere with the airway that provides the vibrations in the vocal chords that let a person scream. Other than that, my main suggestion is that we tighten up both your vocabulary and the pacing. But you are far from stinking.

    mrjop2--Amen, that's a great one.

    SithGirl132--I am a person who enjoys the technical aspects, but hates confusing the readers. We'll definitely be covering what you'd like to learn. :) I'll be PMing you about something soon in regards to your fencing work. That can be a great asset, but also muddle. The main effort is to not let terms get in the way of the tension. The thing that struck me about your excerpt was that, while you did use a lot of terms in certain sections, you neglected to focus on the physical in others. For example, Jaina throws thud bugs at Jacen. Does she do an overhand throw? Is it backhand flinging? What is he doing at this point that she is able to do that without being worried about her weakness? It was a very unconventional and interesting duel. Well done on that aspect.

    Lilith Demodae--Ah, that's my girl. Thanks for breaking the mold as usual, Lil. :) I've never seen the Scarlet Pimpernel, but the 5th Element is very well-paced. I'll definitely give feedback and hope to contribute something useful. I have struggled with that same technical is
  23. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    When 800 Years You Reach, Duel as Well You Will Not

    I believe that the most crucial first step in writing a lightsaber duel effectively is the consideration of the combatants. The first thing you need to consider is the relative ages of the people engaged in the duel. After all, a duel between a Padawan and a Master would be vastly different than one between two Padawans. The Padawan could use the exact same moves and tricks, but the cause and effect would be and should be completely dissimilar.

    Also consider the physical health. Take note of anything that might hinder or help one or the other. You can often use for information on various stages of life and their respective challenges. Think about the height and weight advantages especially.

    The main purpose of this first step leads to the second but is also a part of it. You are trying to establish the exact parameters of the duel. You undoubtedly know who is meant to win in the end, but you need to know from the beginning if there are any things that you will have to write around. For example, if the Master beats the Padawan, is it because he is more experienced or stronger physically and in the Force? Is it because the Padawan has an overconfidence issue? Conversely, if the Padawan wins, is it because the Master is over the hill and has the GFFA equivalent of an old football injury or is it because of a particular move that the Padawan slipped past his guard?

    Exercise 2

    Consider Luke's final duel against Darth Vader. Write out 3 advantages that he had over his opponent. Next, write out three challenges that he might have faced if he were 20 years older at the time.

    This is a short exercise just to get things going. Thanks to all of you for coming! Please list if you are interested in constructive criticism.
  24. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006

    Luke had the advantage of knowing his opponent; his father, Darth Vader.

    This led to his next advantage which he states openly to the Emperor, "Your overconfidence is your weakness." Luke realizes that Palpatine has too much confidence in his plans.

    He also had the advantage of knowing that he could turn his father back to the good side of the Force. Granted, this was probably the hardest thing that he had to do, but I believe that he had to hurt his father (by slicing off his hand and then realizing that he was hurting him like his father hurt him) to get him to realize that his father was the one hurting on the inside. His father puts up his arm to halt Luke's strikes and this is where Luke realizes that he has won. He has turned his father back to the good side. He now knows that he has a two to one advantage over the Emperor.

    Now, if he was 20 years older, than three main challenges have to be considered; one, is his father also 20 years older and still alive serving the Emperor still? I would say no. The Emperor has to have Luke in his prime or else forgo having Luke at all.

    So two, if he is 20 years older, and his father is dead due to being replaced by someone else, then Luke is at a disadvantage due to not knowing his opponent, plus being 20 years older and probably not facing any opponents in that time would lead him to being a little rusty as well.

    And three, the Emperor has probably now grown even more deeper into his evil doings; he will obviously have trained a more sinister apprentice who could even be his eventual replacement, so again, Luke faces an opponent who is not only eager to kill Luke, but probably the Emperor as well.
  25. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    LOL, okay, time for a clarification. I didn't mean 20 years post-ROTJ. I meant, what if Luke at that time had been around 40? Proceed, but good points, RX_Sith.
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