Reply To: Battle Scenes

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Noah Cochran


Thanks for the tips!

One caveat is that this works for me, but might not work for someone else. I like a lot of structure and plotting everything, and this technique is informed by that.

I should’ve done that as well. I outline the character actions and interactions quite heavily, but the combat sequences not so much. My current skirmish scene takes place in a courtyard in middle of London with several different, mutual opposing groups and municipal authorities. It became a mess of complications quickly. But I shall do my best.

Actually I really dislike drafting battles so… take my advice for what it is

Same here.


First, try acting it out. In person. With your body.

You’re not the first person to recommend this. I’d like sample footage of y’all’s reenactment skills. 😉

Second, make a goal. Why is this fight scene in the book? Does someone need to be injured? Die? Does it make logical sense?

Excellent advice. The skirmish I’m writing is the climax so I hope it’s needed. xD Anyways, yes, goals, reasons, and outcomes is the one thing I think I have down.

Third, keep your pacing even. A lot of people suggest using short sentences to structure the “heartbeat” of a fight scene and, while that makes sense, I kinda disagree. It could be because I’m a writer and notice these things, but when people have a lot of short, choppy sentences, it yanks me out of the story until all I can see is the tedious sentence structure. Try varying it a bit. Maybe even try the opposite – add some long run-on sentences with a lot of “and”s to imply the rapid-fire thoughts and actions of that kind of a scene. You don’t have time to stop for a period. (Tho probably don’t do that too much… heh… XD)

Interesting. I do try to use more shorter sentences, but due to my gravitation toward long sentences, I end up do about 50-50. I’ll go back over it in revision with that in mind though.

Also, (last one I promise XD,) anchor your fight scenes to one character. This can help keep readers engaged – like how in films, instead of getting too many aerial shots of the battle, we see specific people that we know in action and the emotions playing out on their faces – determination, disgust, complete numbness.

This is where some of my problems come in. I do focus on a few particular characters and how the battle affects them, but I’ve felt the need to tell the reader what is happening around them several times so as to make it clear what is happening. The fact that the battle is somewhat of a four-way fight exacerbates the problem quite a bit. Would you recommend cutting a lot of that introspective telling?

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Noah Cochran.

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