January 14, 2011

Fantasy Writing Tip: A Long, Epic Battle

In Truth, the first book of my fantasy trilogy, Makilien, a battle looms throughout the story. When it finally takes place, it only spans the length of one chapter. A long chapter, but still, just one chapter. That worked out perfectly fine with the flow of the book, but not so for book two. That book also involves a battle, but one of a much larger and dire scale. As I approached the time in which it needed to take place, I realized I had no idea how to write a long, drawn out battle. That was a problem because the battle spanned more than one day. You can't force your imagination to come up with action scene after action scene for your main character and not have it turn into some really bad writing.


I struggled for quite a long time trying to figure out how other authors wrote their battles. Finally, I found my answer in my second reading of Rise of the Wyrm Lord by Wayne Thomas Batson (my favorite author, of course). Multiple character viewpoints. In switching between characters and telling their side of the struggle, Mr. Batson's battles lasted several chapters. Luckily, I had already been putting emphasis on more than one character in Courage so switching between them was easy. The result? A massive three day, nine chapter siege. :)


So, if you're struggling to draw out your epic battles, try telling it through the eyes of multiple characters. The more characters, the longer it can be.