Monday, June 25, 2012

Battle Reportification Part 5 - Detailed Explanatory Scene

Writing this blog is already changing how I'm playing. Yesterday when I was playing I was looking at everything in an entirely new light. Normally I think that when something completely against the odds happens I just think its cool. But yesterday when a ton of fantastical crap went down I was thinking of how it would look in a story, how I would explain it and write the scene involved in a Battle Report. It wasn't just cool, I was forging a narrative during the game. Of course I normally play competitively in tournaments but this time I kind of went a little crazy and did stuff that was not very… strategic. Rushing towards the Space Wolves is NOT a good idea for Tau, though it was hilarious to watch as my army then imploded. But enough about that, moving on to what this post is about. Now that you've determined all of your supporting details involving purpose and location it is time to get working on your actual Battle Report. This post and the next one will go hand in hand, so stick with me as I make some leaps about characters that will be delved into further tomorrow. So why bother creating a scene designed specifically to explain things to your audience in the first place? Just like I already said in the location post part of this is for setting the mood for your readers to tap into and expect from the rest of your Battle Report. If you provide a scene for explanation then they will know how things work. The second part about the explanation scene is that it is when you get the opportunity to have your imagination run wild and you get to decide all the cool details and tidbits that you want to be a part of your story. This is one of the defining moments for your Battle Report, this is where you can make your battle not just another game of 40k or warmachine, now you are starting to add tension and weight to everything that happened. The fate of the continent may have rested upon this battle, but the audience can only know this if you tell it to them! Furthermore explaining what is going on will remove some of the confusion (I'm sorry, I know its obvious but it still needed to be said) that might have been infused into your story if you did not take a moment to sort everything out so that details regarding characters, motivations, location, everything is told so that your audience does not need to do any thinking but can just sit back and enjoy the narrative that you have created (or at the moment are creating). So how do you get around to writing this detailed scene? Look at everything that you've already sorted out (the purpose, the location, and what actually happened in the battle). Based on these factors what could you reasonably tie together? What is the specific story that you want to tell, what is it that was important to this battle and how is the world or important plot pieces being changed by specific parts of the fight? Not everything has to be, or even should be important to the plot. Just as I said some posts back, if everything was detailed and important, there would be no sense of scale or weight - you'd lose what was actually important with what was just a cool fight that had no real significance in your narration. But back to piecing things together: look at what parts fit together, what was the purpose of this battle, what led up to the gauntlet being thrown and the two sides dukeing it out in this particular location. Decide what was the situation before the actual war was declared, what led to the escalating tension, what caused the final eruption, and what has happened between that moment and the start of the battle. All of that is exactly what you will be describing (maybe not all at once, you can take your time and explain it all throughout a variety of Battle Reports if you want to continue this saga that you are working on) and so now you should be able to see why this scene is important. If you didn't explain some of this than a large part of what will make your Battle Report cool and unique, an actual story and not just a bunch of figures moving around on a tabletop would have been left out and no one would have seen your abilities as a story teller! The second part to the detailed explanatory scene is the detail: when you read a book you will notice that the successful ones make sure to do a very good job of portraying what the place is like. How it looks, the temperature, the taste of the air, the flavor of the wind or dust, the sounds in the background, the texture of the walls, clothing, the floor or dirt, etc. Everything is given detail, or at least enough such that the audience could feel like they are in the room. You don't actually have to describe every little nook and cranny, you just have to provide the feeling that you have done that - what I mean is that you should have a solid amount of description and anything that you plan on having your characters interact with should either have been described or it should be something that you specifically are waiting to mention until it become important. By providing such details as temperature you can make yourself look really good by providing such moments as a character shivering in the cold or even hunching their shoulders to combat the blistering gale that was crashing through the fur cloaks of the local Feudal lord. It doesn't change the plot, but it looks really good and for a small amount of work will improve your standing in the eyes of those that are looking at your Report. Even if you don't show it to anyone, it will look really cool to you and make you feel accomplished and that your battle is unlike any other that you've played out on the tabletop. (sorry about not posting this last night, it seems that Sundays I have a problem with my internet so whatever, I guess Monday's or Saturday's I'll just post twice to make up for it. Expect another post today as I am going to start working on that one now since I had this one done yesterday)

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