Clarity is important. Not only in fight scenes as the picture accompanying this article implies, but throughout every story. Details are important for conveying ideas and images through text. But it can be easy to lose perspective at that granular level. Not seeing the forest for the trees.
Balancing the level of detail with the scope of the point of view is equally important. Noticing those details is only one part of the formula. Especially in scenes that set the tone for a narrative. Choosing which elements best convey what the characters notice happening around them is vital. Of these, sensory specific writing can bring a strange or fantastic scene to life. Through the readers immediate grasp of familiar sensory cues.
For example, there is a scene in my debut novel, Fantastic America, describing a sea monster attack on a fishing trawler. The monsters are an unknown for the readers, but fishing boats, cameras, and sound crew are not. The sights and sounds I used had to draw the reader in. From the first tentacle’s appearance to the last moment the camera captured.
Likewise, in any visceral writing, the details a writer chooses impact how the reader will react. This can be anything from uncertainty of vision, to the surety of a clear, sunny day. The details have to work not only with the scene, but with the action and setting. Clarity in these sensory driven scenes is paramount to their effectiveness.
Not every scene should be sensory driven. That level of detail and emotional connection should be limited to the most pivotal scenes in a story. Otherwise I risk sensory overload for my readers. Fight scenes are a natural location in the narrative for this kind of writing, but they aren’t the only place. Any conflict, where your POV character is in direct confrontation works to dive into their sense of the moment.