WorldCon 2013 Report: Day Three — Writing Combat

Saturday, August 31, 2013

combatPanel: Elizabeth Moon (M), Elizabeth Bear, Martha Wells, Jean Johnson, Lois McMaster Bujold

My Notes

This ship shoots ...

  • Two ways that combat can fall: being stodgy and divulging everything, or like a 70's psycho battle
  • Diane Duane and Joe Ambercrombie write good combat scenes
  • POV can solve everything
  • In a fight scene, it doesn't matter what everybody does
  • You need to know, but your character doesn't
  • Your POV dictates what you can and can't show
  • Show a little more by "backing up" a little
  • Does it further the plot?
  • Use the "fog of war"
  • Space combat is well done in Lois' books
  • Small-scale vs. military combat
  • You can "play act" the scene to see whether it works
  • In military, be aware of the chain of command and the responsibilities that each person will have
  • Someone in a fistfight is in the midst of chaos
  • In martial arts, you know what you did after you did it due to training
  • Use that moment when you get hit in the face
  • The medieval guy will probably win because he aims for the knees
  • When you're wearing a sword, you have a rudder
  • Learn all the mistakes you can make when carrying weapons so your characters can make them
  • Keep track of your ammunition
  • At some point your hero should run out if you want your story to be realistic
  • There's always ammunition and no one gets tired of carrying it
  • Another place to get information is historical museums
  • Chain mail is very fluid when it's all together
  • CJ Cherryh writes great space battles—they're submarine battles
  • They say start with the action, but then you need to put the reader in the character's head so readers have a reason to care about the character
  • Remember that space is three dimensional
  • Remember the side effects of injuries from battle during the rest of the story
  • Remember shock
  • Remember that muscles react to trauma and lock up
  • If you get an injury, think about it from a writer's experience
  • There is a mental impact to injury