Battle Scene Writing

If there is any battles/combats in some parts of the stories, how you'll write them? I'm trying to avoid writing it as if writing a battle scene in a turn-based RPG.


Read.


There are plenty of good (and not-so-good) books out there that feature conflict. See how other authors handle it. Think of what sort of conflict you want and research accordingly.


One important thing, though, is not to focus too much on the action. I've read some horrible stuff where the author describes in excruciating detail every over-exaggerated wuxai-influenced move and dramatic slow-motion weapon reload. Let the reader imagine that. Clever use of pacing/sentence structure will allow the reader to do that themselves.


And if there's a monstrous creature attacking someone or something, don't spend ages describing it in perfect detail unless your viewpoint character has a chance to actually stand there and make these observations (which is rarely going to happen). Remember pacing!


Be wary of getting influenced by RPGs. You've got to remember that their flashy magics and 25-blow-heaven-blessed-final-limit special attacks are there for the sake of gameplay and visual effect.


Keep it fast and furious -- i.e. don't get bogged down in descriptions, as Dary mentioned, and make it feel like the characters are in a certain amount of danger and tension. A one-sided battle is not interesting unless somebody that the reader cares about stands to lose a lot. Don't take too long to finish your battles, either. Overly long action scenes get quite dull to read because you lose tension.


Keep it straight for the reader, too. Don't shift subjects constantly. Ideally you should have no more than one subject per paragraph, depending on if you can keep it flowing well that way.


And so on, and so forth . . .


Regards,

Ryan


Keep it fast and furious -- i.e. don't get bogged down in descriptions, as Dary mentioned, and make it feel like the characters are in a certain amount of danger and tension. A one-sided battle is not interesting unless somebody that the reader cares about stands to lose a lot. Don't take too long to finish your battles, either. Overly long action scenes get quite dull to read because you lose tension.


Keep it straight for the reader, too. Don't shift subjects constantly. Ideally you should have no more than one subject per paragraph, depending on if you can keep it flowing well that way.


And so on, and so forth . . .


Regards,

Ryan


Writing a battle scene is like writing anything else.


You emphasize the interesting parts, gloss over the rest -- "interesting" meaning the parts that get an emotional reaction. I have some (not a massive amount of) training in the martial arts. I could go into considerable detail. Mostly, I don't.


Is the person fighting a bunch of people he/she can overpower at will? You can do that one in a line. An example of that: Roger Zelazny's main character Corwin is fighting his way up a stairway on the side of a cliff. After the setup, Zelazny handles an awful lot of the fighting with the line, "They died and they died and they died."


I may not have that exactly right, but it makes the point.


By contrast, Zelazny spent a lot of time on things in that fight that weren't fighting like:

--when the main character's brother falls off the cliff

--the main character's emotional reactions to what it's like to be fighting up a cliff, knowing that you're probably leading the people behind you to their deaths.


Also, fighting is more than just hitting people. It's strategy and tactics. You're constantly trying to figure out how the other person fights, how to anticipate their moves, and how to adjust your style of fighting to work best against theirs.


If you know a little about how to fight (either through experience or research), you can use this to create tension. Your main character can try to identify whether the other person's better or not or whether their fighting style is something the main character has experience against.


You can get a lot of tension out of the main character knowing that he or she is worse than their opponent. If they're better, of course, (as Ryan mentioned) the fight needs to end quickly or something unexpected needs to happen. Otherwise people will get bored.


It also helps if you do a martial art. I'm a fencer myself, and it's amazing to see the difference between fighters and non-fighters, and the progression from one to the other. For example, the way most people hesitate to hit or shoot at another human being when they haven't been trained or gained natural experience at fighting.


Regards,

Ryan