Read What You Know

This weekend I saw the new movie Warrior, what I think is the first sports movie about mixed martial arts. It was tense, brutal, and fun to watch with my fellow martial arts brother Matt.

Here’s the thing about sports movies. I’ve often wondered about how they manage to make me care about the outcome of a fictional sporting event. I have a hard enough time caring about the outcome of real sports if I don’t know the competitors personally.

In Warrior, what did it was the technical accuracy of the choreography. I know combat sports, and could feel the brutal realism of the fight scenes — except for the end where the ref didn’t stop a fight after on fighter’s shoulder got dislocated.

Put another way, I appreciated the fight scenes in a different way because I knew fighting.

Anybody who reads this blog knows writing, or at least wants to. When you read a book, you can do it for the story or the information in the writing — but you can appreciate the writing differently because you know writing.

Read good writing. Better yet, read bad writing and think about how you would make improve it. Consider the structure, word choice, dialogue, characterization. Keep a journal where you can track the phrases and techniques that really struck you, and try to work it in to your writing.

This probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard this writing advice. But it might be the first time you’ve heard it in the context of MMA.

Thanks for listening.

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