I was thinking about fight scenes.
So I am pondering the physical aspects of violence in the back of my mind.
You got yer 'one guy attacks another guy' kinda scenes.
These do not tend to be fair fights because if you want to 'attack' somebody, you bring a gun and shoot them or you pick up a baseball bat and jump out and hit them over the head.
An attacker doesn't walk up bare-handed and say, "Ok. Let's fight,"
because you get hurt that way.
Despite the legends, most of the men killed in the Old West were shot in the back.
So when I have had my heroes confront attacking villain or villains in the past, I've had the villain armed to the teeth.
One could write a scene where the baddie approaches his prey unarmed and face-to-face, but we'd need a pretty good fictive reason he's doing this.
Like . . . You could have a huge disparity of strength. Fr'instance, if I were a vampire, I might expect to overpower a human with ease.
You have to be a superlative storyteller indeed, like Whedon, to make the reader forget that baddies do not actually walk up and fight fair.
So in my JUSTINE confrontation between the powers of good and the powers of evil, I'll arm the ebil. Guns, I think. Though frankly I wouldn't want to go carting around C18 firearms upon my person.
(I'd have the guns hidden in something I was carrying ....
The other thought about fight scenes is that real violent encounters probably happen very quickly.
Like those horrible candid shots of prisoners stabbing another prisoner in the exercise yard.
So what about writing that fight scene in JUSTINE? Can I make it go on for a bit, with dialog?
I'm pretty sure that in a genuine fight the first time somebody gets kicked in the head or the groin he goes down and that's the end of it. No getting up with a brave and blithe comment and running back into the fray, fists swinging.
The twenty-minute 'cage fight' wrestling or the 'kung fu match' that chases up and down three blocks of Hong Kong or the Errol Flynn sword fight that fills the whole castle are silver screen hokum, using hokum in the most complimentary sense.
The long fight scene, I think, partakes of a fictive convention. We step away from realism the minute we, like Rostand, insert dialog.
So when I consider and plot out and draft a significant violent episode, I'm not only asking -- "What would actually happen here now in this place with these people and these weapons?"
(i.e. a half dozen people would get shot.)
I'm also asking, "What can I get away with?" and "What's the best way to make the irrational and improbable slip past the reader's realism filters?"