There's a Snoopy cartoon I like that I can't find online - describing cartoons tends to suck the humour out of them, but let me try.
Lucy shows up while Snoopy is writing and suggests he makes his main character tougher (then fecks off, as is her wont). Snoopy ponders this for a moment and types 'He hit him again!'
That is exactly how I tend to go about writing fight scenes. I'm working on something at the moment that is likely to have a few of them. I can't manage with less than three - and one of them has to be climactically kick-ass-y, just to add to the fun - and I feel that to jack up the tension, a few others might prove necessary. And swords are involved in some of them. I have never, as far as I can remember, held a sword.
My current fight scene reads something like this:
F thrust his sword at G, who quickly parried. F struck again, veering to the right this time, but again G had anticipated this and deflected his blow easily.
This happened about twenty or thirty more times. Trust me, though, the tension mounted quite a bit throughout, as G was clearly losing his grip on the slick handle and his movements grew jerkier, less graceful, more frenzied.
Finally, F slashed wildly at G, catching him off-guard. F's sword was changing direction so fast that it looked like a streak of light. G tried to block him but was too late - his sword clattered from his grasp and fell to the ground.
It's that bit in the middle I have the most trouble with. How on earth do you describe what is essentially a very similar set of actions, repeatedly, without it getting boring? Imagine trying to describe every part of a good meal - 'I speared another prawn, and it was even more delicious than the last. And look! Seven more prawns on my plate! Maybe it was time to mix it up a little with some yellow peppers. I had the prawns to spare, after all.' Fun to eat. Tedious as all hell to read about.
Fights are extremely tense and interesting to watch, but writing about them is just so - blah. I've been trying to get deeply into the mind of my protagonist and show exactly what he feels during the fight, and that is working OK - there is a lot more of what he notices, which allows me to draw back from the actual mechanics of the fight while he observes that the opponent is tiring, or growing stronger, or whatever. But that's difficult too - you can't zone out too much because in a fight, a person will be pretty focused. They don't stop to essay upon the quality of light on the leaves overhead.
Can anyone recommend books with well-written, tense, interesting fight scenes that don't flag in the middle? All help appreciated on this one!