Writing the Fight: The Danger of the Weapon

One of the challenges of directing a sword fight is that modern audiences simply don’t perceive swords as weapons; they think of them as costume pieces or props. Too often, when the villain threatens our hero with a sword, no one fears for the hero—they’re excited for the upcoming sword fight. They’re thinking in terms […]

Writing the Fight: Analysis

Seventh in a series on writing fight scenes from the perspective of a fight director. In which I dissect one of my old fight scenes, and it does not fare well. Here’s a version of the Young Siward fight from Macbeth (Act V, Scene 7) that I wrote a few years ago as an exercise:  […]


Taking a break from the fight series to talk about process a bit—partly because process fascinates me, partly because I had a bit of an epiphany today, but mostly because I’m bogged down on my fight entry this week. Stephanie Kong and I have been exchanging “Mastermind” emails since January (her terminology, I’m not sure […]

Writing the Fight: Breaking Symmetry

This is the fifth entry in a series about writing fight scenes from the perspective of a fight director. Note: I’m trying to work down from very high level concerns—stakes and consequences—toward lower-level details—individual fight moves and language. This week’s topic cuts across levels.  Imagine a duel between two identical fighters, equipped with the same […]

Writing the Fight: Filling in the Structure

Let’s take another look at the final fight from Romeo and Juliet—Romeo versus Paris, which has no built-in story—and try to build it up from storytelling beats. Here’s the context: Paris spies Romeo in the tomb and is convinced he’s come to “do some villainous shame to the dead bodies.” He attempts to arrest him. […]