Wednesday, March 7, 2012

03/07/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Welcome back! I see you've all survived half way through the week! I have as well and after a couple days of being (mostly) nice to my wrist, it seems to have calm itself down quite nicely. I've taken to reading my rough-rough draft of 'Daughter of the Shackled King' at work, and while I don't think it's nearly as terrible as I first thought, it has a lot of work that needs to be done, and not working on 'Feathers of the Dead' meant my wrist could heal.

I thought a lot about what to talk about for today, and I thought I would bring up something that I have a bit of a problem getting through myself. Today's topic will be combat! Most novels have it in some way shape or form. Whether it's two guys just punching the lights out of one another after a night at the bar, or a running gun battle, unless you're writing a super-romance novel you're likely to have it in there.

The way I handle it, and you may do it differently, or have some other advice, if you do please share it, is by what I call 'Initiative'. If you're a table-top gamer like me, you will likely recognize that term. It's basically the order people get to take actions in combat. In most games, people either roll, or something else will determine how they take their actions. Sometimes it's random, other times it's stat based, either way it makes handling combat in stories a bit easier.

Now, admittedly part of it is common sense with the characters. You've made them in your story, you know what they're able to do, and how they stack up against the competition you're putting them up against. For example, if you have someone who's a smaller, more agile character going up against something/one that's huge, muscle-y, and may or may not be made of rock, the more agile character is going to move faster than they will. However, in that same respect, if the opponent happens to get a hit on them, they are going to hit harder, do more damage, and possibly knock out the character fighting them a lot faster.

The idea of initiative is simply to help organize the fight. In general, fights tend to be incredibly chaotic situations, and if you can put any kind of order to them it will make writing them so much easier. Not to say it solves every problem, because all fights are going to have some level of ridiculous or (depending on your genre) preposterousness to them that's going to force you to suspend your own disbelief while writing it. I think this happens the most during high fantasy or science fiction writing the most, but it will likely be in some form, and you're just going to have to go with it. Honestly, that's what editing it for.

I appreciate you all stopping by this week again. I'll be back Friday with my weekly review. In the meantime, just a reminder that Smashwords is having their annual sale, and "The Light Rises" is 75% off all this week. That means it's $1! That's it! So please stop by and check it out and help out the indie authors out there!

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