You may not know this about me, but I am not a warrior. The only combat I’ve ever seen involved piss ants and a vacuum cleaner. (They were more crafty an enemy than you might think.) So when I attempted to write battle scenes for my fantasy novel, I was at a loss.
I researched sword fighting on-line. Everything that popped up sounded very…effeminate and sexual. Thrust, parry– you get the idea. It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.
I watched The 300. The beefy guys without shirts were inspiring, but not in a way that was helpful to my writing unless I switched gears and went the erotica route. (Don’t worry, Mom – not going there).
I was blocked, so I focused on my strategy for the battles, ended up summarizing them. First this happened, then this…not very exciting to read. Thankfully, I had joined an on-line writer’s workshop, though, and was able to get some much needed inspiration from some fellow-writers.
One of them told me this: be one of those soldiers on the battlefield. What are they feeling, smelling, seeing, hearing? Is it cold? Are they thinking of home or are they in pure survivor mode?
And like a bulldozer to a brick wall, my writer’s block gave way. Just like any of the other scenes in my book, I needed to stop worrying about the specific sword fighting moves and battle strategies and put myself in my characters’ place and describe things from their point of view. It seems obvious now, but when you’re blocked, the obvious is sometimes obscured by your own insecurities and fears.
From that point on, my battle scenes took on new life. Once that insecurity was conquered, I feared those warrior scenes no longer. The best thing I ever did for my writing was get input from others. It can be confusing and terribly painful, but I think it’s absolutely necessary for growth as a writer. Not to mention, what better way to prepare yourself for brutal Amazon reviews? Better to hear it about your WIP than your published piece.