Not that I actually want to learn how to be violent....
One of the biggest challenges I face as an author is never to stay in one place. I need to be growing, changing, to continue learning new things.
In the spirit of learning new skills, I spent a good portion of today focusing on violence. That sounds rather terrible, but it is what I did. I write a lot of action packed sequences and adventure stories. However, violence is one of my least favorite things in this world. Because of that, I tend to simply gloss over the fighting and do my best to ignore it in favor of emotional level character development. I have come to the realization, though, that if I am going to write the kind of stories that I write, then I need to know how to effectively write violence.
So, to that end, I spent several hours this afternoon doing research. I read about how to write fight scenes. I read about how to actually fight, not simply write about it. How to use a knife, a bow, a fist. It was violent. Some of it was pretty gruesome. But I learned a lot. About weapons, about techniques, about all sorts of things. I then put some of that new knowledge into practice and wrote some fight scenes. Not spectacular by any means, but I think it's better than it has been.
Obviously, I'd be able to write combat better if I participated in that sort of thing, but as that isn't likely to happen any time soon, doing extensive research seems like the next best option. And so far, I think it really is helping.
I won't stop with today though. I'll continue to research effective fighting techniques as well as reading up on how to write realistic and powerful scenes that involve violence. I want to better my skills as an author, and that is going to take time. But it is time that I am willing to dedicate to the cause, because the better I write, the better I can use my gifts to glorify the Lord :)