Writing Effective Combat Scenes The Stormtrooper Effect

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Writing Effective Combat Scenes

A combat scene that is well-written and well thought out adds excitement and tension to a story, whether it’s hand-to-hand combat between mortal enemies or an all-out four-army control-of-the-world skirmish of Tolkien magnitude. Writing a combat scene can be a complex process that may or may not work out, following a few simple rules can ease the headache a little by at least knowing which pitfalls to avoid.

The decision to insert a fight scene into your plot should not be taken lightly. Its purpose should not only be to liven the plot, but to move it forward. If it doesn’t add to the story arc, it shouldn’t be there. Unless, of course, your story is about frivolous violence. In that case, you may not have enough. But for the most part, it needs to propel your story, add tension, and move the plot forward.

Here are some tips on how to do just that.

The Stakes

What are the stakes of your battle? What are the possible consequences for your main character if he doesn’t win? Will he die? Or is it worse? Will his army/companions/country fall into the hands of the enemy? Will his entire race be obliterated? Or is it better? Will he win the hand of the princess and the day? Will he amass a fortune that he will use to take over the world? The higher the stakes, the more tension there is to build. Make the consequences high enough that something MASSIVE will be lost or gained. Put it all on the line. Make your readers clamor for the outcome!

Reloading Is for Wussies

One of the most abused tropes of gunplay is just how many shots characters have fired before stopping to reload. If people knew the actual numbers, I think most of them would be surprised. Keep count sometime. Most go...

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... I don’t pretend to be (except at parties after seven beers), so if there is anything you would like to add from the realm of your expertise, please feel free to leave a comment. The more information the better! So let’s hear it!

Additional Resources:

List of Martial Arts:

List of Weapons:

List of Military Tactics:

Insane (Yet Successful) Battle Tactics from History:

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