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How do you go about battle scenes?


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  • Administrator

As some of you probably know I'm working on a middle ages fantasy story and that is obviously going to include battle scenes.

How do you go about them?

Do you keep scenes brief but action filled?

Or do you draw out battles with lots of vivid details?

Do you dedicate entire chapters to battles or divide them over several chapters?

 

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I do lots and lots of details, and divide them over several chapters. Although sometimes a battle may take a single chapter, it's usually a shorter one with a clear victor. I also tend to focus on only one or a few characters point of view, in order to make things less confusing while still giving readers a good idea of what's going on. My story, Holly rising, and has a huge battle in it exemplifies all of this. It's near the end of what's currently posted, in the Safari Zone arc, if you're interested. The current accompanying RP also has a huge battle that span several chapters, although that battle is rather one-sided, and its more focused on character reactions to the battle becoming one-sided. That one's in the Saffron arc, although it's later on and may take a while to find.

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It really depends of the importance of the battle; if the action takes place nowhere near the main characters, just describe the general feel of the battle and carnage and the result, (a secondary or passing character could explain hoe the battle went if they fought in there themselves)

If the battle takes place as a key event of the story, I'd suggest to try and make it from the POV of one or several of the characters, giving the feeling of morale being up or down in accordance to the main events that happens during the battle (I. e. side A has the upper hand = soldiers roaring victory cries as they charge towards the enemy lines // Side B pull a dragon from the skies = soldiers flee in terror as the beast reduce a fraction of the army to ashes)

Also, if you want to keep the omniscient narrator, I tend to describe the initial situation (some formations if there are any, description of the general terrain, maybe a feel of how the weather is)

Then as the battle begins and chaos is set free (just the way I like it lol), you can focus on the main characters' actions during the massacre. I try to keep the gory details of battles to a minimum, but if that's where the reader should look for a key point or whatever go for it!

Finally, after the action and the winning side is clear (or even a draw) finish up with a recount by the protagonists as the surviviors regroup.

I also recommend instrumental music during battles to keep the mood. (Nox Arcana - Blood of the Dragon is one I personally recommend lol That or Soulsborne soundtrack)

This is what I usually do for battles

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  • Administrator

I've got some major battles planned >

  • Clearing out a bandit camp in the forest
  • Castle takeover
  • Castle siege defense
  • Spell casting battle duel

I have written massive battle chapters before, but I don't enjoy writing them lol. That's the issue. I know it needs to be done but I hate them because I find them so dull and repetitive.

I'm thinking of having a single chapter for the actual battle divided into separate scenes as to not overload the reader (or bore them to death) with information (and keep myself from getting bored). Finding the motivation to write them is the tough part. 

 

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My tip? Have things happen during the battle not always related to the main character, e.g. massive explosion destroys crucial building. Thus, because of this main characters has to go help at crucial building...bla bla bla. 

I usually just find things to occupy the main character until I need to get down to the nitty gritty of the fight, such as one on one battles. 

Another thing I do is use the battle as an excuse to explore the character's mind, their process of thinking. For example, they might call their enemies scum. Or they may be thinking about their fallen friends. There are several possibilities when it comes to fights.

In one on one fights, I try to focus on the pain both characters are suffering. If the fight is one sided, then you can pretty much ignore that, but it's important for the reader to understand how the main characters feels. That's really all I have to say on the topic.

 

On 12/15/2018 at 9:50 AM, AquilaTempestas said:

I've got some major battles planned >

  • Clearing out a bandit camp in the forest
  • Castle takeover
  • Castle siege defense
  • Spell casting battle duel

I have written massive battle chapters before, but I don't enjoy writing them lol. That's the issue. I know it needs to be done but I hate them because I find them so dull and repetitive.

I'm thinking of having a single chapter for the actual battle divided into separate scenes as to not overload the reader (or bore them to death) with information (and keep myself from getting bored). Finding the motivation to write them is the tough part. 

 

Something else I forgot to add in my other post: Character death. Flipping abuse it. Especially if you're going to have a victory with losses (particularly if you're going ahead with your castle takeover).

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  • 4 weeks later...

I don't know if this'll be any relevant but I'll try! Lol, I'm not one to write these scenes but I'll try nonetheless.

  • Describing tension: What do the character(s) feel? Do they feel their heart beat rapidly? Does their mind race with thoughts of victory or defeat? Is this war needed? Would they come out changed after they did this?
  • Describing the environment: I think it's a good way to set the scene where you describe, but not in detail, about their environments and the people. Soldiers might fidget in anticipation. Others pray in a corner and hope to return to their families. Others are excited to die, etc. What are the sounds of weapons being sharpened? 
  • Spells: How devastating are the spells cast? Does it cause damage to the user every time he/she uses it? Does it make their fingers tingle or charred? Do they experience a rush of blood and adrenaline course through their veins in excitement? And what about if the spell misses the targets, does it cause environment to collapse and banners set ablaze? 
  • Hostage: Will there be a hostage situation? If there isn't any, maybe you can write a bit about those trapped in a castle as its being invaded.
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24 minutes ago, AquilaTempestas said:

I think my big problem is actually finding the motivation to write them lol.

I find them incredibly boring to write.

I find them oddly fun and satisfying to write. Hey man, it should be fun when there's magic involved!

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  • Administrator
15 minutes ago, Nirianne said:

I find them oddly fun and satisfying to write. Hey man, it should be fun when there's magic involved!

Eh, I've been put off battle scenes since writing my epic fantasy trilogy lol. TOO. MANY. POKEMON. BATTLES. TOO BLOODY MANY.

Hard part was trying to make each fight separate from the rest... I think I must've written at least 50 pokemon battles. Maybe even more.

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1 minute ago, AquilaTempestas said:

Eh, I've been put off battle scenes since writing my epic fantasy trilogy lol. TOO. MANY. POKEMON. BATTLES. TOO BLOODY MANY.

Hard part was trying to make each fight separate from the rest... I think I must've written at least 50 pokemon battles. Maybe even more.

Is it necessary to focus on Pokemon and not the humans themselves for the fight?

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  • Administrator
Just now, Nirianne said:

Is it necessary to focus on Pokemon and not the humans themselves for the fight?

Very important. These stories were my novelizations of the games so they had to be done in a similar manner.

I dunno. I just find them boring and repetitive. It's like in a middle ages story, it's the same thing over and over again. Doing the first fight is fun. But the next few... Blegh. So I'm trying to do the battles in different ways. One is more like a castle siege. The other is a duel with magic. 

I'd rather work with dialogue to be honest.

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1 minute ago, AquilaTempestas said:

Very important. These stories were my novelizations of the games so they had to be done in a similar manner.

I dunno. I just find them boring and repetitive. It's like in a middle ages story, it's the same thing over and over again. Doing the first fight is fun. But the next few... Blegh. So I'm trying to do the battles in different ways. One is more like a castle siege. The other is a duel with magic. 

I'd rather work with dialogue to be honest.

I see where you're coming from and how boredom can stem out of it. I think you can focus on the castle siege if you've never done that. 

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1 minute ago, AquilaTempestas said:

I've done it before : (

Hmm... That's a toughie. I don't know but what about Geodudes strapped with explosives and uses as catapults? I just saw the image in my mind.

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  • Administrator
3 minutes ago, Nirianne said:

Hmm... That's a toughie. I don't know but what about Geodudes strapped with explosives and uses as catapults? I just saw the image in my mind.

Lol.

No the current story I'm working on is a bit different. It's more like Lord of the Rings-Game of Thrones type battles.

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Just now, AquilaTempestas said:

Lol.

No the current story I'm working on is a bit different. It's more like Lord of the Rings-Game of Thrones type battles.

Do you have Charizards and burning stuff? :p 

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Ok, as a writer who loves writing action, I can offer some insights here.

I differentiate between battles and fights. Battles being much larger. The basic idea of action writing is the same though.

Keep the action itself short and kinetic. Don't over describe the blow by blow action. Leave some detail to the reader’s imagination. 

Personally in my battle sequences, I like to have these sweeping sections of two armies slamming together before zooming in to focus on the key actions or events. 

For one on one fights I zoom in on the emotions and thoughts of the characters as they battle, leaving the actual blow by blow to the reader. 

Battles are usually treated as big fancy set pieces for key character developments.

Fights can be used to get much more up close and personal with your characters.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/9/2019 at 4:27 AM, Jon Snow said:

Pokemon don't exist in this current story. They're more like unseen gods and references to stuff.

Right there, you lost me. People in the Pokémon fandom aren’t reading to read LOTR/GOT battles. If they are, then they want Pokémon as a part of those battles. 

You really handcuffed yourself by removing Pokémon from the Pokémon story. 

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  • Administrator
44 minutes ago, JoshtheWriter said:

Right there, you lost me. People in the Pokémon fandom aren’t reading to read LOTR/GOT battles. If they are, then they want Pokémon as a part of those battles. 

You really handcuffed yourself by removing Pokémon from the Pokémon story. 

I don't care about my number of readers. If no one reads the story, that's fine. I'm not writing for them. I'm writing what I want to read.

I've written enough Pokemon battles to last a life time, lol.

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Just now, Jon Snow said:

I don't care about my number of readers. If no one reads the story, that's fine. I'm not writing for them. I'm writing what I want to read.

I've written enough Pokemon battles to last a life time, lol.

That’s fine if that’s what your prerogative it. Just know that I probably won’t be the only person to say that to you. 

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  • Administrator
1 minute ago, JoshtheWriter said:

That’s fine if that’s what your prerogative it. Just know that I probably won’t be the only person to say that to you. 

Nah, totally understandable. People rarely read fantasy stuff anyway haha. If people don't like it, they can write their own or find another story.

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3 minutes ago, Jon Snow said:

Nah, totally understandable. People rarely read fantasy stuff anyway haha. If people don't like it, they can write their own or find another story.

Oh I know, I feel the struggle when trying to attract readers to my story sometimes

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