Marie Brennan

Pen, Paper, Action! Choreography For Writing
February 8

February 8, 2020, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Phinney Ridge, Seattle

Even if you’ve never held a sword, taken a martial arts class, or punched another person, you can learn to write a good fight scene — one that not only presents the reader with an exciting spectacle, but serves the broader purpose of the story by revealing or changing character and theme. In this workshop, Marie Brennan (fantasy author, black belt in shorin-ryu karate, and former stage combat choreographer) will cover the ins and outs of fight scenes and other forms of action, such as chases, dances, or sex scenes. We will also discuss the role that violence plays in narrative, and when not to use combat to solve problems. Students are encouraged to bring a concept for a fight scene to use as an exercise in class, and also to review the duel atop the Cliffs of Insanity in the film The Princess Bride for discussion.

Marie Brennan is a former anthropologist and folklorist who shamelessly pillages her academic fields for material. She most recently misapplied her professors’ hard work to Turning Darkness Into Light, a sequel to the Hugo Award-nominated Victorian adventure series The Memoirs of Lady Trent; the first book of that series, A Natural History of Dragons, was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and won the Prix Imaginales for Best Translated Novel. Her collaborative novel Born to the Blade, written with Michael R. Underwood, Malka Older, and Cassandra Khaw, was recently published by Serial Box. She is also the author of the Doppelganger duology of Warrior and Witch, the urban fantasies Lies and Prophecy and Chains and Memory, the Onyx Court historical fantasy series, the Varekai novellas, and nearly sixty short stories. For more information, visit or her Patreon at