Writing Combat in Fantasy Books
R.A. Salvatore has long been recognized for his ability to write good fighting scenes within fantasy literature. There are many concepts that have been visited and re-visited as advice for authors as they attempt to craft what Salvatore has mastered. I have written on this topic before on other blogs, and thought I review these once more here.
Keep It Quick
A fight scene is supposed to be fast paced and tense for the character. Do not take this time to flood your sentences with unneeded adjectives or adverbs, or to go on a tangent about some description in the environment. Combat is a time for action.
Take any great fantasy novel and recognize that you spend the first hundreds of pages preparing for a climatic end that may only last a few pages [or paragraphs] at the end. One of my readers for Melkorka shared with me that this was what kept him turning the pages. And, even at the end of the novel, he was yearning for more. Well-structured suspense is what makes that fight scene great and gives your story that epic feeling.
Your readers will lose interest if they cannot visualize the scene or the characters placement. It is not everything, but it is important to know your battleground. The author has to know what is going on in order to tell the reader what is happening. Fights have rules to follow, such as force and leverage. Conducting fight scenes requires the author to know the weight of a sword, the reloading rate of a crossbow, the distance a person can jump, and what impact a lance has on iron armor. Write the scene be clear, accurate, and realistic.
Some fight scenes in novels have nothing to do with the plot structure or character development. Many times you will find authors that will write fight scenes that do not advance the plot. It is filler and confuses readers because they are looking for a deeper connection and how this particular scene ties into the character’s motivations. There should always be a good reason for combat.
Joshua began crafting the world for his dark fantasy series, Thrice Nine Legends, in 1999. Melkorka, the first book of the series, was published in 2015. The sequel, Dyndaer, will be released in January 2016. He is also the author of the A Midwinter Sellsword and Gladiators and Thieves in the Hawkhurst Saga. His story, Grimsdalr, is inspired by the tale of Beowulf. Joshua currently lives in Alaska with his wife and children.
Anaerfell: Coming October 2015
Dyndaer: Coming January 2016