Back in the ancient times of 2017, I wrote a blog about writing battles. Back then I said:
“There are a surplus of articles and blogs on how to write a great fight scene. I thought about doing one myself…
But then I remembered another kind a fight. …..
Battle. That’s the word.
A full blown battle between two ….opposing forces meeting on a field, fortress, jungle, beach etc. It’s a lot of people to manage. A LOT of people and a LOT of action.”
We covered three points: planning, your MC, and the end/aftermath.
Thought today we would cover a few more points/thoughts.
Battles, depending on the size and scope, can last a loooong time. Days. Weeks. Months if we are talking about a siege.
If you are writing a “loooooong” battle, here are some things you’ll want to think about:
Food, medical supplies, ammo: (obviously if you are doing a medieval battle, “ammo” is gonna be a little different). If armies are fighting each other for days, they are going to run out of the supplies that they brought there.
They have to bring supplies in.
Who is sending them? How are they being delivered? (boat, helicopter, giant birds).
And the next thing that happens – the armies try to cut off each other supplies.
Civilians. Unless your battle is taking place in a random open field (or some other abandoned area) There will be civilians.
Are they evacuated before the battle? Where are they going once evacuated? Are there places in the city/village/hamlet where they can go for safety (basements, subways etc)?
What are the rule of engagement for civilians? Some armies might try to get them to safety, some might kill them, some might capture them….
Words you would hear on the modern day battle field. But whether it’s today, ye olden days, or some strange alien planet, someone is taking care of the wounded.
Who? When? How?
Do the wounded get taken care of during the battle? After the battle?? What are the “medics” called??
“Who’s in charge here?”
Who is constructing this monstrosity of a battle??? Who is calling the shots????
Somebody is, or I can tell you it ain’t a battle, it’s a riot.
Every army has commanders. Are all the commanders in the field? Are some watching through drones back at base? Sitting on a nearby hill watching? How are orders communicated? Are there fancy flag signals??
Find out who is ordering things, and how.
It’s easy to get lost in the technical stuff and the wide scope of a battle, but the best way to draw the reader in is through the individual. Put the battle through an individual’s eyes, and it’s personal now.
The reader will be in it.