Brisbane author Aiki Flinthart is running a special workshop on writing fight scenes involving women at the State Library of Queensland next month.
The workshop, titled ‘Writing Fight Scenes Featuring Women’, is run in conjunction with the Queensland Writers Centre [QWC] and takes place on October 13.
Ms Flinthart, who has written eight fantasy novels, said participants could expect all kinds of fun from the class.
“The Writing Fights Scenes Featuring Women workshop is intended to help writers understand the physical, mental and emotional processes that women – and men – go through before, during and after an altercation,” she said.
“It is quite content heavy, as there is a lot of scientific information and detail for people to understand in how a fight begins and progresses.”
“Plus how people react in the aftermath.”
“So the majority will be lecture-style and demonstrations of weapons, but there will be question and answer opportunities, and student contributions requested.”
Ms Flinthart has practised martial arts for more than 15 years and is also experienced at knife-throwing and archery, which gives her a special insight into fighting as a woman.
Ms Flinthart ran a similar workshop in conjunction with the QWC in 2017, which was so successful that they decided to join forces again.
“I gave the Writing Fight Scenes for Women workshop at the GenreCon convention in late 2017 [which is run by QWC],” Ms Flinthart said.
“The course was so popular there we had 60 attendees and 10 more waiting outside hoping for a spare seat,” she said.
“So QWC was happy to put it on again for local Brisbane authors.”
“Now this one is sold out, too.”
“Apparently kick-arse women characters are popular, and so they should be.”
QWC marketing manager Christopher Currie said the Centre received positive feedback after last year’s workshop.
“We had great feedback from our participants, which encouraged us to run it again to a wider audience,” Mr Currie said.
“Aiki’s session booked out very quickly, and had people at the door trying to get in.”
Mr Currie said he believed learning how to write fight scenes effectively was a useful skill for aspiring writers to learn.
“With a long-deserved redress to character conventions in genre fiction, including better representation of female lead characters and the actions they undertake, it just makes sense as a writer to equip yourself with skills that will allow you to authentically and creatively write female characters who participate in fight scenes, both physically and psychologically,” he said.
“Moreover, Aiki’s experience with not only writing, but in martial arts and weapons training, give you a teacher who really understands what it’s like to fight.”
Ms Flinthart first became interested in teaching literary workshops following encouragement from other writers.
“So many fellow writers were asking me how to write fight scenes for women,” she said.
“It seemed like I was in a good position to help them.”
“I’ve had many years’ experience in martial arts and have also taught for many years, as well as, of course, writing kick-arse heroines and heroes in my novels.”
Ms Flinthart’s works include the 80AD series, the Kalima Chronicles and the Ruadhan Sudhe urban fantasy series.
She said her novels were comprised of action, humour and strong character development.
Meanwhile, she said her short stories were gloomier and more subdued in terms of action, with an emphasis on complex language.
“I do tend to write fast-paced novels with lots of fun action,” Ms Flinthart said.
“But I also try to slide in a little humour, a little lyrical description and a lot of character development and depth,” she said.
“My short stories tend to be more esoteric and darker, with more complex language and less action.”
When Ms Flinthart first started writing, she found the process to be a struggle.
“Stories have always been lurking in the depths of my mind,” she said.
“Sometimes I’d try putting words to paper, but it never seemed to work.”
“Then I decided to write a series of five books for my son.”
“He was dyslexic and struggling with big fat books like Harry Potter.”
“So I wrote the 80AD series – five action-packed adventure stories for a middle-school/young adult audience.”
“Then I was hooked and couldn’t stop writing.”
Ms Flinthart said the 80AD series dealt with themes around grief, learning self-confidence, and learning to depend on people.
The Ruadhan Sidhe trilogy, which came out this year, explored “issues around trusting people and trusting oneself”.
And the Kalima Chronicles, which is due to come out in 2019, “dives into themes of freedom and the importance of family”.
Ms Flinthart said good writers will attempt to incorporate themes into their work.
“Every good writer tries to weave a theme into their stories, not to preach – that’s just uncomfortable for everyone – but because it seems to give a more satisfying experience for the reader,” she said.
“Often we do it unconsciously.”
“In my case, I do it deliberately.”
Ms Flinthart said her readers made writing stories a worthwhile experience.
“There are always more stories and always awesome readers who get in touch and share how much they loved a story,” Ms Flinthart said.
“I had a 10-year-old boy send me a note the other day saying how much he loved the 80AD series because they’d helped him understand how he felt about a family member dying.”
“That makes it all worthwhile.”
Ms Flinthart is also set to publish a new book titled IRON, which will be launching at Bookface in Springfield on November 21 at 6.30pm.
The Writing Fight Scenes Featuring Women workshop is on October 13 from 2.30pm to 5.30pm.
Tickets cost $85 and can be purchased online.