I wrote about chairs as weapons last week. That was fun.

But it raises a question: What actually counts as a weapon when you’re writing a fight scene?

The answer: Everything.

Anybody can write a fight scene of “Two guys have swords, and they block and attack until one of them makes a mistake and gets stabbed.” That’s boring. Everyone has read that fight scene a dozen times.

What if one guy has a sword, and the other guy has a lamp? Suddenly this fight scene is way cooler. What about an unarmed warrior who has to throw things from her environment at the bad guy, and takes him out with a well-tossed grapefruit? What about that scene from The Dark Knight where the Joker killed a guy with a pencil? Probably the most memorable moment in the movie.

The point (ha ha) is that unexpected weapons make fight scenes original. Let your characters venture outside the realm of “normal” weaponry. Consult someone with combat training to learn what your characters can do with their unexpected weapons of choice. With imagination and research, you can write a realistic, creative fight scene that stands out from the crowd.

Pop quiz! How many weapons are in the image below:

Answer: Yes.

This information is provided for assistance in writing fight scenes only, not for real-life application.

12 thoughts on “What Counts as a Weapon? (Avoiding Generic Fight Scenes)

  1. (I apologize for the length)

    1. Head
    2. Teeth
    3. Necktie – more likely to be used against him
    4. Jacket – same; throw on somebody to distract, or choke with a sleeve, or wrap around arm, like a cape to the sword.
    5. Shirt – same as jacket
    6. Eyeglasses
    6a. Break off an end piece and use as a shank
    6b. Break a lens and cut someone’s neck from behind
    7. Katana
    a. The blade
    b. The hilt – if, say, the blade breaks – can probably be used like a yawara
    c. The wrappings of the hilt, if they are strong enough (odd choice)
    8. Hands:
    a. to hit
    b. to grapple
    9. Shoulders, to shoulder-check or tackle.
    10. Elbows (not visible)

    Also, a scabbard (11) can be just out of the frame. It could have a small knife (12), a pair of chopsticks (13) and a length of a cord (14).

  2. So I counted 3 weapons in that picture: his sunglasses (he could poke someone in the eye, I guess), his necktie (he could choke someone), and of course, his sword. Were there more?

    1. Not bad! The tie was the big one I was thinking about. I’d also count his fists, his head, his jacket, and his shirt. There might be more if people get super creative.

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