I've just been reading a bunch of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books. Although they were the most enjoyable read I'd had in ages I always found myself skimming long segments that described involved battles or fights.
I often find that when the swords are drawn in a story I tend to tune out. A good author always provides a summary of what the hero has lost or gained as the result of a battle after the fight anyway.
As soon as the story becomes paragraph after paragraph of description along the lines of:
Alonso dropped to his right knee swinging the dagger in his left hand up at Bardolph's ribs. He was dextrous but not quite fast enough Bardolph swung his right arm down deflecting the dagger with his grieves, a defiant snarl emerging from between his lips.
Bardolph stepped back, grounding himself with feet shoulder width apart, the left leg slightly back to aid stability. He swung his left hand in a vicious hook and connected with the side of Alonso's head. Pain exploded in the smaller man's ear drums at the crushing blow...
These things can go on for ten or twelve pages when they get really involved. They seem to say nothing of value and they're not even as inolving as the commentator's patter on wrestling shows.
So what makes a good fight scene? Other than brevity, of course? How does one write an epic battle that doesn't have people skipping to the post-match report?
EDIT: The first answer to this question I got from John Smithers makes it seem like you could all put it down to taste, which is fair enough as I first put the question. Let me be more specific on the Dresden thing.
Almost every fight in vols 1-7 of the series I skimmed through. I always start out trying to read them but then get bored and skip. In vols 8-9 something clicked and I read the fights, mostly, without even realising that I hadn't been jarred out of the narrative.It's not 100% but certainly something had changed. I just don't know exactly what.
This is what I'm looking to pin down. What makes a combat scene a compelling read? Some people like any combat scene sure but I'm talking about the kind of person who has no objection to a combat scene in principle but is choosy about which ones they commit to reading all the way through. What are the ingredients of that kind of scene?