Monday, April 30, 2012

Getting published; Situation Normal

So, I got a call from my agent last Wednesday.  He called at 9pm, and we started talking.

At the moment, it looks a  lot like it's Situation Normal.   And, for those who do not know military acronyms, Situation Normal are the first two words of SNAFU.

On the one hand, my agent is having a grand old time selling projects. As long as they're nonfiction.

And, as you might recall, while A Pius Man has historical elements all over the darned place, it's contained within a framework of a thriller. Which puts me in a new acronym: SOL.

However, my agent suggested I try writing something in nonfiction. Maybe even Young Adult nonfiction.  Maybe something in Ethics, or Religion, or something like that. Something that parents would want their kids to read.  And, after all, I have been spending large parts of my time writing religion articles for

So ... any thoughts?

Seriously, you folks are the most non-partisan observers I know. Do you think I should write more articles on Catholicism, only make it into a non-fiction book? I can call it Snarky Theology, 101.

There's also the wonderful world of IRA songs. I had an entire thesis in graduate school around Irish rebel songs. Between the text and the appendix, that was almost 150 pages. I would only need about 90 more pages to have a full book ready.

And, there's philosophy. Yes, philosophy. I can literally rewrite philosophy for the basic consumption of the general population. I am snarky by nature, after all.

For those of you who think I should be writing a nonfiction book on Pius XII .... no. Because I'd rather write a novel that people would read than be lost in the shuffle of the two dozen books on the subject.

So, what do you think I should try? Irish rebel songs? Snarky theology? Philosophy? Ethics? Something else all together?  Give me a comment with your thoughts on the matter.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Writer's block

Most people perceive writer's block from the movies as kind of a mental constipation. Just nothing is coming out of the writer's brain, usually for no apparent reason at all.

To be honest, writer's block is more like writer's jamming signal.  Believe it or not, it's not so much a matter of we can't write, it's that we have too much else kicking around that needs to be addressed.

For example, I have a sequel to A Pius Man.  I have two, actually; it's a nice, solid trilogy. I haven't touched the lousy thing in months.

Now this is, in part, because I've had to rewrite several bits of the trilogy multiple times. I'm not entirely certain of who or what will survive, and should I be bothered to continue writing if I don't know what changes a future editor is going to make?

Not to mention that I have another book series I'm working on, called Honor At Stake .... at least, that's what book one is called. It's my little revenge on the entire vampire genre, plus a fairly good story, if I do say so myself.

Haven't written one word of that in a few months either. Why? Because it's actually one long rewrite.  I wrote a 440-page vampire novel once, where a government agent found himself in the middle of an anti-vampire army in the middle of Brooklyn. Then, I decided to backtrack a little, and made a novel to show the start of that said army; how the relationships developed, how the disparate elements came together....

So, book one is finished, book two is half finished. And I haven't touched that in months either.

Why? Because I keep thinking of books I want to write.  And the problem becomes that they're all books in the same universe. All of these characters have back stories in novels I don't know if they're going to get published. In fact, there's too much to be done.

Writer's block isn't a matter of having nothing to write. It's a matter of having too much, not knowing where to start, and knowing that, really, you should be trying a bunch of "books one"s, instead of writing the massive universe you want to.

In short, writer's block is a lot like a jamming signal. There's just too much interference.

In my case, not only do I have the issue of multiple novels, I also have the additional problem of working on a job that requires me to be social. This is a problem in and of itself.

In short, life is getting interesting.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Music Monday, with Lindsey Stirling and Skyrim

If you haven't heard of Skyrim, don't worry, it's just a video game.

On the other hand, you have heard of Lindsey Stirling (if you're new here, do a quick search, you'll find her a few places on the blog).

Bear with the first thirty seconds of the video. Trust me.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sorry about that

So, yesterday was sort of shot up.

Ie: I didn't get around to posting anything.

As mentioned last week, life has been a little hectic. I've gone from posting once a week, to once or twice a day, to only three times a week, and now I can't seem to keep that up.

If you all forgive me, it's been a rough year.

One of my best friends threw me under a bus (well, that's the short version), another one who I knew for a dozen years had a temper tantrum because I wasn't in lock step with her about what she does to herself, I've gotten a girlfriend, was dumped, and made up.

My agent won't get back to me, another publisher has me on hold until at least May, if not June, and I've got a new job that requires me to have easily 500% more contact with human beings on a regular basis than I used to.

While this may all sound like complaining, I assure you, it's not.  All I'm saying is that, if I miss a day here or there, between Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, there's more likely than not a good reason for it.

It's been a rough freaking year.

I hope to do better.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review: Live and Let Fly.

Karina Fabian has done some novels that could only be qualified as interesting. She's written theology, Catholic science fiction, rescue nuns, zombie exterminators, and those are just the ones that we'e taken a brief look at here.

And then there's Vern, the Dragon Private investigator.

Welcome to Los Lagos, Colorado, home of the Gap; in this case, the Gap is an inter-dimensional hole in time and space, and we can be grateful that this one isn't set in Cardiff.  The Gap has made Los Lagos home of plenty of interesting species from the Faerie dimension, a realm that is quite Catholic, and the original home to Vern, who was a dragon of some repute even before he had an encounter with a knight named George.

Now, banished to our world by the Duke of Pebbles-on-Tweed, Vern has made his living as a PI, along with his sidekick, the Vatican Mage Sister Grace.

Like every good PI story from Dashel Hammet to Jim Butcher, the story starts small, and spirals out of control quickly. What starts as the search for a missing ring after an assault, quickly turns into a murder mystery, with a kidnapping for a side dish, and it turns into race to stop the end of the world, dun dun dunnnnnnnn.....

But how do you stop a killer that leaves no trace? Not even a scent a dragon can follow?

Overall, the story is fun. There are some nice shots at Hollywood along the way(let's start with the chapter titles "Murky but Present Dangers," or "Gapraker").  And it includes the best take on Disney animatronics that I've seen since Peter David's Psi-Man series. The chapter titles were something else ("Seven Habits of Highly Defective Henchmen.")  In fact, the humor that works best is when Vern narrates events in term of cliche (see: excerpts here).  The satirical elements are possibly the funniest parts of the novel. I'm not sure if one of the villains was supposed to resemble Dilbert's Pointy-Haired-Boss, but it works.

Also along for the ride is the Bureau of Interdimensional Law Enforcement. ("BILE?" Vern thinks. "There's a name that must have been made in committee.")  With some entertaining parodies of James Bond thrown in, as well as one character who should be played by Marvel's Agent Coulson.

And, seriously, who can argue with a book where Shiva is a war correspondent?  Or where the Vatican has its own SpecOps team, giving a whole new meaning to the term "church militant"? It's right up there with John Ringo's Princess of Wands novel, that was based in the real world, with a little more strangeness attached.

There is also a wonderful sequence of negotiating with the kidnappers. It's only two pages long, but it's truly entertaining.

Live and Let Fly has some good solid action sequences. Like the attack of the killer animatronics, or a scene with an airship that was a cross between Final Fantasy VI and a John Nance novel.

And then, there's the line "I wanted the Holy Hand Grenades on standby in case all Hell did break loose."

Yeah, this was fun.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Interview with author Karina Fabian on "Live and Let Fly."

We've had a few interviews with Karina Fabian before.  She's appeared as a guest blogger once or twice. She's tolerated interviews from here for at least two of her books -- ISIG II, and Mind Over Mind.

And, now, we're on her novel Live and Let Fly.

What I'm going to do is simple.  This interview will not appear on the blog, but on my page.  Since the word count on the articles is supposed to cap at only about 500 words, it's been broken up into a four part article.

I asked how she came up with a dragon and a magic-wielding nun as a heroic duo.

I asked her about writing the novel, in part 2

World building was much of part three

And part four was on being Catholic and writing this book.

However, I'm not going to let you, loyal reader, and newcomer, leave here empty handed. No.  For coming here today, I'm giving you excerpts from the novel.

First, some background.
For a dragon detective with a magic-slinging nun as a partner, saving the worlds gets routine. So, when the US government hires Vern and Sister Grace to recover stolen secrets for creating a new Interdimensional Gap--secrets the US would like to keep to itself, thank you—Vern sees a chance to play Dragon-Oh-Seven.

No human spy, however, ever went up against a Norse goddess determined to exploit those secrets to rescue her husband. Sigyn will move heaven and earth to get Loki—and use the best and worst of our world against anyone who tries to stop her.

It's super-spy spoofing at its best with exotic locations (Idaho--exotic?), maniacal middle-managers, secret agent men, teen rock stars in trouble, man-eating animatronics, evil overlords and more!
And now, some snippets, and extra data.


Festival was Friday. We had two days to stop a Nordic demigod evil overlord—overlady, overbeing, whatever—from blowing up a nuclear power plant, possibly destroying half an island full of revelers in the process, and creating an Interdimensional Gap through which she can bring the rest of her giant relatives to set up housekeeping where the Faerie Catholic Church didn't have the power to control them. In other words, two days until Hel broke loose.

I've had worse deadlines. I could afford a long bath in our whirlpool tub and a good meal first.

Charlie started to close the door behind us, his other hand gripping the handle of his dagger so tightly I could hear the leather wrap on the handle strain, as we listened to the footsteps coming our way, slow, bored. My predator's instincts rose; then I had a great idea. I shook my head at Charlie and winked, and he shuffled out of my way, leaving the door ajar. I settled myself with my back to the door, just inside the shadows and let the script play itself out:

CLUELESS MINION enters Stage Left. He pauses, hearing a noise, but does not report it. Instead, he fondles the stars on his nametag and moves toward the empty hallway, his mind on adding another. (Probably saying, "I was proactive today!")
CLUELESS pauses at door, hesitating. He stands and, back to the door, reaches for his walkie-talkie.
Suddenly, a well-muscled and gorgeously scaled tail whips out from the crack in the door and wraps itself around his neck. He only has time to grab ineffectively at the tail before he's drawn into the darkness. The door shuts behind him.
Pan shot of the empty hallway.

I slammed my victim on the floor and pinned him with my forelegs, then I leaned my face in nice and slow, making sure he got a good look at my fangs before he saw my eyes. "Where's the girl?" I growled low and menacingly.
"Wh-What g-g-girl?"
Charlie crouched down by Stutterboy and glanced at his nametag. "Look, Philip, we're in a bit of a hurry. We know Rhoda Dakota's being held captive somewhere nearby. Now you can be a good survivor and tell us where…or you can be dinner."
"I-I don't—"
"Phil A. Minion." I mused and drooled a bit for effect. I live for these moments, I really do. I licked his cheek and asked Charlie, "Can I have fries with that?"
"Why not? This is Idaho."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Life gets strange: Mass Effect, Girlfriends, and a new business.

I've had some stuff happen in my life lately.  It's not necessarily good, or bad, but comes under the heading of "Stuff Happens."

I have a job.  I have a girlfriend. And I have an Xbox 360, and I don't know what's more destructive to my blog productivity. :)

My job is actually my new business. No, this blog isn't the only thing I'm doing right now. Waiting for the publishing industry to stop being beaten up by the economy is not my idea of productivity.  However, people always use, and need cheaper electricity, so, it should be fun.  Anyone who wants to know about my job, or start their own business from home, can click here.  Anyone who wants to look at the services provided, click here.

And, of course, I'm still writing two columns for -- self defense and Catholicism 101.  So, my life is busy.

Now that that's out of the way....

My Xbox 360 was a gift from someone who got his for free (something about a laptop purchase). I had been collecting Gamestop gift cards for a while, with the goal of buying a console. However, since the world landed a 360 in my lap, I went out and got a few games.

I started with the Mass Effect franchise. I may climb out of it in another two or three months, when I'm done with the various and sundry ways of saving / destroying the universe.

Mass Effect is a sprawling video game, where personalities impact the story more and more as you play along. The basic premise is standard for a Doctor Who episode: one character has to stop the all life in the entire universe from being killed.  It's even spawned a few novels.

Now, tell me that this trailer isn't more epic than the last three Star Wars films. Which, granted, isn't hard, but you get the idea.  It even has some good voice acting from "real" actors, like Keith DavidSeth Green, Martin Sheen, Lance Henriksen, Marina Sirtis  Dwight Schultz ..... I'm going to stop there

That's one corner of my life. On the other, I have a short-term relationship in progress ... yes, I went into a relationship with an expiration date. So sue me.  And, she needed to find a new place to live, closer to her place of business.  Her place of business is five minutes from my house. Her new place of residence is four doors down.

So, my life has gotten more interesting lately.  There may be some delay here and there because of that.

But, I'm hoping it won't be too bad.

Be well everyone. I'll see you next week, where we have the return of Karina Fabian

Monday, April 9, 2012

Music blog: Loreena McKennit

A long time ago, about five years, I had a friend. She went a little crazy in 2007, and I hadn't heard from her since.  However, there is one thing I thank her for.

She introduced me to a singer named Loreena McKennitt.

This song is Dante's Prayer ... and like Dante's Inferno, opens with someone lost in the woods, no way out, and no way back.  It's a nice, gentle song, good for writing when you just want background noise.

And, for this Easter Monday, it's quite good, I think, for when we're all lost in the woods.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fighting and writing workshop, day 5 and 6: military fight scenes

This is the online workshop in writing fight scenes that I did for the Catholic Writer's Conference.  Karina Fabian had managed to draft me ... or I volunteered, I'm not entirely certain.  Either way, it was an interesting little experience.

Since most of you folks have been with me for a while, I'm going to give it to you.

Don't worry, I wasn't paid for this, so giving this away for free will hurt no one. And, few to no people wanted to show up and play with my workshop, even though there were over 25 viewers for each post.  But, I've been told few people showed up anyway for the forums, something to do with schedule confusion.

So, here is day five and six.... Day five was merely an assignment. Day six was more interesting.

 Day Five: Putting It Together

At this point, you should have an idea of what you're doing. Take assignments three and four, and put them together. Whether you start from a weapon and go to hand-to-hand, or vice versa, is up to you. This is the assignment.

Like with most writing, practice makes perfect. So don't be discouraged if you're not writing full-scale battle choreography by now.

Day Six: Writing For Military Fights

Writing a military fight scene is no different from any other, when you get down to it. Do some research on terms, maneuvers, etc., but don't overstress that part. It's mostly just a matter of vocabulary.

But, seriously, there's little difference from warfare fighting.

Character: In describing filming for Lord of the Rings, and the Battle of Helm's Deep, director Peter Jackson discovered a basic law of fight scenes – Jackson had hours upon hours of stuntmen beating each other to a pulp, but the battle was boring when the camera was not on the primary characters.

The important thing you need to know is, no matter what, you need to focus on the individuals involved. The more modern your setting, the more things are done by groups of individuals, squads and fire teams, and not massive lines of fire, one against another.

However, no matter how many people you have fighting whatever enemy, you need to have individuals the audience can focus on and care about. Writing about a line of tanks is boring. Writing about someone the audience has met, and is invested in, is much, much better.

For great examples of this, read the Richard Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell – he has, on average, about six players in any battle that he focuses on, as well as a massive, historical battle taking place.

Setting: If you want to focus on a full-scale battle, in whatever age and setting, one thing you'll want to focus on is the field of battle. You're going to want to focus on the sounds, and the sights, perhaps even the smells. You want to recreate it as though the battlefield is a character. A loud, monstrous, messy, rampaging character, with lots of property damage.

The best I've ever seen of this type of recreation is John Keegan's The Face of Battle, where he recreated the battlefields of Agincourt, Waterloo, and Verdun.

Hand-to-hand combat and weapons: Depending on the scenario, military battles do not start with close combat, unless it's a type of covert infiltration, where getting in close and killing people silently is important. And, let's face it, the use of weapons will vary wildly depending on what time period and setting you're using. For the most part, it boils down to individuals.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Fighting and writing workshop, Day 4: Guns in Fighting.

This is the online workshop in writing fight scenes that I did for the Catholic Writer's Conference.  Karina Fabian had managed to draft me ... or I volunteered, I'm not entirely certain.  Either way, it was an interesting little experience.

Since most of you folks have been with me for a while, I'm going to give it to you.

Don't worry, I wasn't paid for this, so giving this away for free will hurt no one. And, few to no people wanted to show up and play with my workshop, even though there were over 25 viewers for each post.  But, I've been told few people showed up anyway for the forums, something to do with schedule confusion.

So, here is day four.


Day 4: Guns in Fighting.

There are more weapons in Heaven and Earth than there are in Thomistic philosophy. However, guns seem to be the magic weapon that everyone uses, and uses badly. With any weapon you decide to use, make certain that you have a basic knowledge of these weapons, even if it's merely researching them online. This day will also assume that you've never even seen a gun up close and personal – perhaps an erroneous presumption, but I'm not going to assume everyone knows guns. If you have do know things about guns, please bring it up.

Weapons are tools. Knives do more than stab people. Lead pipes do more than club people over the head. And guns do more than shoot people. Don't get me wrong, guns are great. But if you're writing for someplace like New York, guns are not readily available to the general populace.

Remember Day One, writing the rules for the culture on fighting? Now you know why we bothered.

Everything in a fight has to feel fast-paced, as we said before. But when you introduce a weapon into any scenario, the characters and the writing have to move fast. Or at least intelligently. What do I mean by this? I mean that no one is going to outrun a bullet – the best they can do is be faster than the trigger finger of the person targeting them – but finding cover, providing distractions, and shooting elements of the setting or other uses of the gun.

In actuality, gunfights are not like an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie – if someone is moving in a straight line, a smart gunman will lead the target. However, smart gunmen do not use fully-automatic fire in extended bursts. Firing a full magazine of ammunition on full automatic will not lead to a stream of bullets that come out in a straight line, but will cause the muzzle of the gun to jerk around like a spastic mime having an epileptic fit. In a gun battle, at a distance, even slight deviations of the gun's barrel will cause bullets to go wildly off course.

Then again, stupid things happen with guns. The average shootout with the police takes place at a distance of nine feet, but three out of every four bullets will miss, mainly because everyone is popping in and out of cover, snapping off shots and hoping they'll hit something.

Again, now is not the time for technical terms. If you're writing for a medieval setting, or a fantasy setting, if specific parts of specific weapons are going to come into play, you may want to introduce them before the fight even begins. And, if you're using a technical detail of a gun that only people who field-strip their own weapons would know, don't discuss it in the middle of a fight. A previous example has been the Lee Child model, where his character Jack Reacher describes how a fight will turn out and why, before the first punch was even thrown. You can have such discussion then, but when the bullets start flying, try not to dwell too much on the pieces and parts.

You can, however, have a technical analysis as the hero/ine is taking cover, and thinking about what to do next. If the pieces of the gun are important to the solution, and you can provide a “lull” in combat (if that's how one can describe taking cover while being shot at), then by all means, make it relevant. However, you do not want to give the vital statistics on a gun in mid-battle. In fact, you might not want to go into it at all.

The most anyone needs to know about most guns might include:

Ammunition capacity: Do not use Hollywood forever shooters. You will want to reload – if only because it's more thrilling to have a count of how many bullets your hero/ine doesn't have. (Would the end of Die Hard work at all if John McClane had had a full magazine left, instead of just two bullets?)

Type of ammunition: This only matters for level of impact, and penetration. If it's a .22-caliber from a handbag pistol, you can stop if with a pocket Bible. If it's a .45-caliber, you will stop someone if only from the shock value (no one takes an impact from a .45, rolls into a doorway, and returns fire. It's gonna suck to be that person). If it's a .50-caliber handgun, you can disable engine blocks and amputate limbs. If you're writing science fiction, ammunition type is doubly important.

Type of gun: Revolvers, pistols, assault weapons, submachine guns, hunting rifles, and machine guns all have different strengths, ranges, weaknesses, and abilities inherent in the type of gun. You will not put a bayonet on a pistol, and no one should try to rob someone with a sniper rifle.

Length of weapon (optional): many handguns make for great blunt-force weapons.

Appearance: I'm a very visual reader. There are some guns that are very visually distinct: a FAMAS assault rifle looks nothing like an M-16, which looks nothing like an Uzi, which looks nothing like an H&K G-11, which looks nothing like an AK-47. However, there are a lot of knockoffs that resemble M-16s, AK-47s, and Uzis. You don't need make, model, and serial number; just say “it looked like X, Y, or Z” gun, unless you want to go into more detail.

In essence, you can boil down someone's handgun to “short-barreled .22-caliber revolver,” or “a semi-automatic that looked more like a hand cannon” (for an example of this, look up the image of a “Desert Eagle” .50 caliber.)

Note: Please remember that Kevlar is not a magic shield. At best, it will take that small metal object going at hundreds of feet per second, and redistribute its force so that your character will essentially feel like s/he's being slapped with sheet metal at ten miles an hour.

Assignment #4: Choose Your Weapon.

Take your setting, hero/ine and the enemy from assignment #3. Pick a weapon and put it into a fight between the two. It does not have to be a gun (for thoughts on weapons, and improvised weapons, check the “How To” article link in the initial documents packet). It doesn't matter if your hero has the weapon, or your villain does. It doesn't matter if the weapon was found at the fight location, or if it was brought.

If your hero does not have a weapon to start with, they will need to disarm the bad guy and/or find their own weapon.

Youcan check the how-to article again to at least get the principles for gun and knife disarms, though the principle is mostly based in common sense – don't get in the way of the weapon.

Remember, you do not need to have anyone killed, even if you're using a gun in the scene. Guns can shoot the environment, make people flinch, duck, or buy the characters time.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fighting and writing workshop, day 3: Writing Fight Technique

This is my online workshop in writing fight scenes that I did for the Catholic Writer's Conference.  Karina Fabian had managed to draft me ... or I volunteered, I'm not entirely certain.  Either way, it was an interesting little experience.

Since most of you folks have been with me for a while, I'm going to give it to you.

Don't worry, I wasn't paid for this, so giving this away for free will hurt no one. And, few to no people wanted to show up and play with my workshop, even though there were over 25 viewers for each post.  But, I've been told few people showed up anyway for the forums, something to do with schedule confusion.

So, here is day three.


 Day Three: Now, Let's Talk About Writing Fight Technique.

There are a lot of basic moves that you don't need to describe too much. Most kicks and punches are like that, for example. You don't necessarily require a full description on a “forward vertical defensive kick” (as seen in the article on how to throw a stop kick) – you can just write “X kicked Y in the chest the way a fireman would kick down a door.” It's the same kick, just a less technical way of writing it.

Speed of attack: keep in mind that most fights don't even last for five seconds. A kick to the groin, a punch to the throat, and it's game over. Even a fight with a weapon can only last so long. Fighting over a knife will ensure that all sides get cut, and someone will be hurt in short order.

And, keep in mind, fighting is hard work. Even something as simple as punching is going to take a lot out of someone. If you don't believe me, go hit a punching bag for a minute. Punch it, kick it, headbutt it if you like, but do it at full speed, as hard as you can. You're going to find that it is very, very hard work. After the initial burst of energy, you're going to slow down after thirty seconds. Stamina should not be important in a fight, because most fights shouldn't last very long.

Another element to keep in mind: the enemy is also reacting. We don't need three-dimensional chess with hand-to-hand combat, but we also have to remember that (for example) kicking someone between the legs (even if they're feeling no pain), will still force the body to lean forward, and that opens up possibilities. If we punch someone, their head will go back. If we feint, they become defensive, preferably where we don't want them to be.

If you're going to have a long fight scene, it should be for a good reason. Either it's a war—in which case it's perfectly understandable—or there are multiple attackers, or both participants are very, very well-trained.

Yes, you can have a half-page of description for something that takes only a split second. You can have all of the technical details down cold, but you must at least convey to the audience the speed. And, even if you don't go into exacting, excruciating detail for your audience, you should at least know the mechanics, so you know what you're doing. Don't be insulted – trust me, I used to do that a lot.

If you like, look at the fights scenes of Lee Child's character Jack Reacher. He'll give a half-page dissertation on something like the tactical usefulness of a headbutt, or he will work out a fight, chess-like, before the first punch is thrown. He then does it, writes a few lines of the enemy's reaction, and keeps going.

Note: If you have formal training, or have practical experience in a self-defense system or martial art, realize that high kicks, spin kicks, or any kick that goes above the hip can pose a danger in a real fight. In a real close-combat situation, there are no rules, and there is no tapping out. This may sound patronizing, but trust me, there are plenty of people who try to use fancy moves they learn on a gym mat and try to use the same moves on concrete. It doesn't end well, sometimes.

Assignment #3: Writing Hand-to-Hand Technique

Look at the various articles assigned here: Choose at least one technique. Do not worry about plagiarizing; there are only so many ways to describe some moves. All that I require is that you use one element of one described technique over the course of your fight scene.

Step 1: Set up the fight, be it a mugging, or something with a minor villain, what have you. Write out a full technical description of what your character will do – not only with the technique, but most importantly with what comes next. (Continue to fight, to run, et al). How does the other combatant react/reply?

Step 2: Give reasons for their actions, and how it fits with your character.

Step 3. Repeat step one, only take the entire technique and condense it. Boil the technique into only a paragraph, at most. Now that you know what your character is doing, there's no reason to belabor the point for your audience. You can go into great detail, if it's an obscure method, or if you have a style similar to Lee Child, described above. You don't have to do one or the other in your writing, but you should at least be able to do both.

Please note: when writing your fight scene, be certain that you, and your readers, can keep track of what side everyone is on. Even professional writers of military fiction, like Bernard Cornwell, will occasionally leave out details like “Character Y is blocking with the sword and hitting with the empty hand, and kicking someone else …. what direction are all of these people coming from!!!