Monthly Archives: January 2019

Guest Post: How to Write an Effective Fight Scene by Doug Lewars

Guest Post: How to Write an Effective Fight Scene by Doug Lewars

Thank you to Doug Lewars and to A Writer’s Path for this excellent article about crafting a breathtaking fight sequence.

Fight scenes are somewhat similar to chase scenes. I wrote about the latter last month. Use action verbs and use terse sentences. Real fights tend to be sloppy affairs and they frequently end quickly. In addition to punching and kicking there is frequently a lot of shoving. Staged fights are much better as reference material. YouTube is a good source of both so have a look at a few before writing them.

Although you’re probably going to be writing about a fight and not a boxing match, it is a good idea to learn some boxing terms. Things like hook, cross, uppercut and jab can be worked into the scene. Of course your actual fight will more likely be a brawl in which pretty much anything goes. So head butting, biting, elbowing, scratching, kneeing, kicking and the use of weapons are also permitted.

man doing boxing

Photo by Pixabay on

Mind you, the fight scene will be pretty short if both opponents are using shotguns at point blank range so the nature of the weapon will probably dictate the amount of space needed for the fight. Don’t hesitate to make use of judo and jujitsu techniques as well. It’s easy to look them up online but stay away from the terminology unless you’re creating a fight between two practitioners of a specific discipline.

For example, Harai Goshi is a sweeping hip throw. Even the term ‘sweeping hip throw’ is probably too technical. It would be better to describe some – but not all – of the technique. The reason you don’t want to describe every last step is that your story will slow. Rapid pacing is critical in a fight seen.

Therefore, for the example above, you might write something like, ‘As Frank rushed at him, Jerry pivoted left, shoved his right thigh in front of Frank, twisted forward and slammed him to the ground.’ If you look up the actual judo move you’ll see that I’ve left out at least 80% of the technique but the sentence flows and that’s all your reader is looking for at this point.

Make use of sensations in the fight. ‘Frank grunted’, ‘Harald groaned’, ‘Tony yelled’, ‘Marty felt a stab of pain in his …’, ‘Something warm ran down the side of his face’, ‘He smelled the scent of roses as he lay panting for breath’, ‘The club seemed to grow as he tried to dodge’, ‘Bile filled his mouth’.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Video of the Week #186: Hobbiton Revisited


Wordless Wednesday/Flower of the Day: Bloomin’ Barrel Cactus



Check out Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge.

#DC383: Ratoon


This week’s Diva Challenge is to try a new design by Molly Hollibaugh, Ratoon. I like the over-and-under woven look of it.


Guido Reni, Sacred Painter

Guido Reni, Sacred Painter

Since childhood I have loved Christian art, no doubt due to my Roman Catholic upbringing. One of my favorite artists is Guido Reni (November 4, 1575—August 18, 1642), an Italian painter of the baroque period, who painted primarily religious themes.

When I was a girl, everyone brought a missal with them to church on Sunday. This missal was a Mass book, and contained the liturgy, plus all the gospel and Old and New Testament readings for every day of the year. It had ribbon markers for holding your places, but many people also collected holy cards as additional markers.

A holy card was a rectangular bookmark that had a religious image on one side and a prayer on the other. I believe some of my holy cards had works by Guido Reni on them.

st. michael archangel-guido_reni_031

St. Michael Archangel

Reni’s life was marked with drama that gave rise to legends about him. For example, in the painting St. Michael Archangel, Satan reportedly bears a resemblance to a cardinal (church official) whom Reni held a grudge against.


St. Joseph and the Christ Child

Reni received some important commissions in Rome to paint frescos in the Chapel of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Vatican. He was also given an assignment to paint the papal Chapel of the Annunciation, but because of a dispute about payment he left Rome and the job defaulted to another artist.

390px-david with the head of goliath,_reni_(louvre_inv_519)_02

David with the Head of Goliath

In 1618, Reni traveled to Naples to paint a ceiling in a chapel of the cathedral of San Gennaro. However, the prominent local painters loathed competitors, and supposedly conspired to poison or otherwise harm him. Reni abandoned Naples as soon as he could.


St. Cecilia

I’ve always had a special affinity for St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music. Cecilia was my mother-in-law’s middle name, and we passed it on to our youngest daughter as her middle name.

jesus christ with the cross 369px-guido_reni_-_cristo_resucitado_abrazado_a_la_cruz_-_google_art_project

Jesus Christ with the Cross


The Baptism of Christ


St. Matthew and the Angel

St. Matthew is the author of the gospel that bears his name, inspired by God. Perhaps God sent him an angel to tell him what to record.


Saint James the Greater

St. James the Greater was one of the sons of Zebedee; his brother’s name was John. He is commonly called “the Greater” to distinguish him from two other Jameses in the Bible.



Monday Morning Wisdom #191

Monday Morning Wisdom #191

“Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. An artists is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does. Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.”― Seth Godin

From the Creator’s Heart #187


Image 10-19-18 at 2.30 PM

#DC382: Stripe String


I’m actually combining two Diva challenges, this week‘s and last week‘s, because I wanted to do both and didn’t get around to it. I’m using brand new gelly roll pens that I bought with the money my dear brother Bill sent me for Christmas (Thank you, Bill!) and I used some designs that were featured on Tangle All Around in the last couple of weeks: Heartrope, Heart N Half (with Luv-a), Stribations, and Heart Offset, with varied levels of success. I really like Heartrope and the Heart N Half/Luv-a combo.

How to Attend a Writers Conference; Part II: Before, During, and After 


On Tuesday, ARHtistic License posted suggestions on how to choose a writers conference to attend.

Now that you’ve registered for the conference of your dreams, what’s next?

people gathering inside white building

Photo by Christina Morillo on


  • Research the presenters. Some may have written books about the craft of writing, and/or some may be excellent speakers. Find out about the people running critique sessions. Are they published authors? Social media influencers? Are the agents and editors interested in the kinds of things you write? Who is the organizer of the event? Note the people you would like to meet.
  • Plan which presentations and events to attend. Often, there are many more you’re interested in than you could possibly work into your schedule. It’s alright to have a backup choice for each time slot just in case you know after five minutes that a class or workshop is not what you anticipated.
  • If you’re pitching a book, first of all, finish the manuscript. At least have a coherent, well-edited draft done, even if you suspect it needs more work.
  • Memorize your pitch. Know what comparable titles exist. (For example, one of my children’s books is similar to The Lion King—if Simba were his own worst enemy, no evil uncles involved.)


What to bring with you.

  • It used to be that you needed to bring copies of your manuscript. Now, most agents and editors don’t want to carry all that paper, so they’ll ask you to email it to them.
  • A way to snap pictures: either your phone or your camera. You may want to post on social media and have illustrations for a blog post about the conference. (Selfies with your favorite authors!)
  • Pens and notebook. You’ll want to take lots of notes, and especially write down contact info of agents and editors who are interested in your work and other writers who are interested in being a critique partner or a collaborator. Ideas flow like crazy at conferences—story ideas, marketing strategies, ways to improve—don’t think you’ll remember them all. Write down everything you hear and every epiphany you have.
  • Laptop and/or flash drive containing your manuscripts (optional). Some people prefer to take notes on their computers or on their phones. Or maybe someone asks you for an old-school hard copy and you don’t have one—you can run to an office-supply store and get one printed out.
  • Your prescription meds, plus any emergency meds you might need, like OTC painkillers, antidiarrheals, sleep meds, throat lozenges, or allergy pills.
  • Nutritious snacks, like apples or nuts. A water bottle you can refill as needed.
  • Clothes, mostly comfortable, “professional casual,” but maybe one or two nice things for meeting with important personages. Sometimes dinners or parties have a dress code.Books 2
  • A pre-determined sum of money or a credit card with your own spending limit, so you can buy a few well-chosen souvenirs, and books by some of your new favorite authors.
  • Your business card. You can print these out yourself, on blank perforated business card forms you can buy at the office supply store and separate after printing. Your card should reflect your brand with a logo or a photo of you, and include your preferred method of contact (email or phone number or snail mail address), the kind of writing you do, titles of published books, awards won, and the web addresses of your website, blog, and social media pages. (All that needs to fit on a 3.5 x 2 inch card. If it won’t, prioritize.)

Getting the most out of the conference.

  • Introduce yourself to other people you meet, and make intelligent conversation. Be kind to everyone. That’s a good policy in general, but at a writers conference even more so—you never know if the awkward woman you’re sitting next to is the beloved auntie of the agent you want to impress.
  • Ask questions. Of presenters, of agents, of other attendees. You’re there to learn.
  • Plan in advance which activities you want to take part in, but make room for serendipity. A chance conversation with another attendee can put you on a path you didn’t anticipate.
  • Go with the flow. If the person you came to see is a no-show, pick someone else. If things don’t go as you’d planned, look for those proverbial lemons and squeeze them.
  • Follow your body cues. If you’re exhausted, it might be a good idea to go back to your room for a quick nap.
  • If you have a 15 minute meeting, watch the clock. At 15 minutes, stand up, smile, thank the agent for her time and tell her you look forward to speaking with her again soon. She will appreciate your respect for her schedule and put your name in the maybe column instead of the not-in-a-million-years column.
writing notes idea class

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on

After the conference.

  • Follow up. If an agent or editor asked to see your first three chapters, send them. As unbelievable as it seems, many writers neglect to take this step. You can’t get your baby published if you don’t send it in! The money you spent going to the conference is a significant investment in your career. You wouldn’t take out a mortgage and never move into your new house, would you? (By the way, if you didn’t follow up on a conference request in the past, I’m giving you an assignment: Locate that agent or editor and send in that manuscript this week. I’ll be checking.)
  • Reread your notes. Share what you learned with your writing friends. Write a blog post or a guest post or a magazine article about the conference.
  • Rewrite something in your files, improving it based on what you know now. Then submit it.
  • Write something new based on a brainstorm from the conference, and send it out.

A writers conference is a valuable experience for the growing writer. It’s an investment in your career, your professional development, and especially important if you don’t have a college degree in creative writing. Try to attend at least one small conference a year, and save up for some big ones every few years. Then put into practice what you’ve learned.

Now it’s your turn. Share some of your conference experiences in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this article, make my day by hitting the “Like” button and sharing on all your social media.

Creative Juice #125

Creative Juice #125

Stuff to make, thoughts to ponder.