First, you need to have the reader care about your main character and what happens to him or her. A sympathetic, well-drawn, layered character will move a reader's heart every time.
You also need plenty of tension. Short sentences with strong action verbs cut deeper into a reader, leaving them breathless and already reading the next sentence. Not all sentences need to be short, though. Varying the sentence length will speed up and slow down the tempo.
Avoid going into too much detail. This goes hand in hand with longer sentences. Allow the reader to fill in the gaps with their imagination.
Focus on the fight, not dialogue. Now is not the time for lengthy monologues by the villain. That comes before. Or after, if the villain gets the upper hand. Villains sometimes do tend to talk too much, but not during the actual fight.
Do show emotion on the hero's part. Remember to ask yourself, is he or she sympathetic? To keep readers engaged while their life is hanging in the balance, make sure readers want them to succeed!
Have you written a fight scene before? What techniques did you find most effective?
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