To clear some things up, I define partner fighting as combat in which two people of the same side are fighting alongside one another as a pair against another person/other people. I haven't been able to find much on the internet about this, so I was wondering how one is supposed to write this? I'm less asking about POV switching and such, and more about what would make this sort of fighting reasonably successful and realistic. I don't want it to just be them fighting near each other either, I want the entire 'blocking attacks for one another and attacking the combatants who attempt to attack their partner', 'a whirlwind of blades' sort of thing.

So, the question; how does one write partner fighting in a realistic manner?

3 Answers 3


The Fight is Secondary to Story:

The nitty-gritty of fight scenes is quite complex, and writing a good one where it seems smooth is a challenge. Cartoon the details with intent and generality. Talk about fighting being smooth when together, how they effortlessly flow together, and how it becomes awkward when apart. Conversely, you could describe them jostling and tripping if they don't work well together. It depends on the emotional content you want to present in the scene. The fighting is secondary to the underlying plot development, so don't get bogged down in parry-and-riposte.

It depends a lot on the kind of relationship the people involved have. Are they in love? Long-time partners in battle? Old rivals now thrown together? Practitioners of the same or rival martial arts schools? Fighting side-by-side is a metaphor for people's relationships, so however you want their relationship to be, the fight scene will have elements of this playing out. Lovers might be more concerned for the other's safety than their own. Old rivals might clash until they work out their differences. For old partners, emphasize smooth integration and synergy.


The main thing you should focus on when writing partner fighting scenes is the flow of your writing.

What you don't want is this: (I apologize, my examples are poorly and hastily written)

The ogre hurled himself at Jack. Holly stepped in front of Jack and thrust her spear upwards. The ogre landed on the sharp obsidian point and let out a gurgle before slumping to the frosty ground. Jack stepped away to combat a lone goblin while Holly focused her attention on the slow-moving Golem.

It sounds a bit clunky and the flow is off. You can fix this by locating where the partners are in the scene and adding more detail to avoid going from Jack did this, then Holly did this, then that... etc. (Again my writing will seem dreadful but you should be able to get the gist of the quality change from example 1 to example 2.)

The ogre hurled himself at Jack. Thinking fast, Holly quickly stepped in front of Jack and thrust her spear upwards. The ogre landed on the sharp obsidian point and let out a chilling gurgle before slumping to the frosty ground. Jack hastily thanked Holly before stepping left of Holly to combat a lone goblin. Preparing for a retaliation from the enemy, Holly moved backward to focus her attention on the slow-moving Golem coming from the foothills.

This strategy could work, or you could try POV switching. This will help exaggerate the fighting and show internal thoughts depending on what type of POV you write.

Think of your characters. How would they fight? Picture the scene - would Jack cowardly hide or would he brazenly attack? Consider how the characters would work together. Stay true to your characters - if Jack had no fighting experience, he would probably fight with his fists or blunt weapons. Also, try and have some emotion and dialogue in your fight scene. No one likes just nitty-gritty fighting without character progression. This will help make your scene as dynamic as possible.

It is a difficult thing to do because the line between too little detail on character movement and cooperation and too much detail is thin.

I sometimes scan over drawn-out battle scenes where each character's role is too exaggerated or the details are unusually long, so I would opt for only describing major details and updates on the scene. This would move the story along but still give the drama of a battle scene.

Another thing you could do would be to use staccato sentences for effect. They are dramatic and you can reflect both character's actions in quick bits. This also makes a more exciting scene.

Good luck!


Have you ever played Dungeouns and Dragons? Think of the fight in terms of that. Figure out who has "inititive order" for all participants in the fight including the guy(s) that are the antagonists of the fight and progress through the fight describing the actions, with the two heroes actions connected when they are related to each other, and seperated where can be. You can shuffle the order a lot more than in D&D combat.

When they are blocking for the other, describe the action as if they were one actor in two bodies (Hero A blocked the blow for Hero B. B turned and stabbed a goon rushing to tackle A. A withdrew his shield and punched the goon in the face. B rolled around A and sliced a monster rushing for B.)

From there, flesh out the action for flavor effect. Remember, any written fight scene should use brief sentances to describe the most basic of the actions to create a more rapid paced read. Dialog is always seperate action, but can be paired with a more physical movement of actions.

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