Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Battle Reportification Part 7 - Significant Events

I'm not so sure about all of you, but sometimes it can be really difficult to tell what the turning point in the battle was. Was it one shooting phase that did it, or did one unit's heroic charge deal the death blow to the important character on the opposing side? How far can you narrow the critical moment down to? This post will try and show you how to narrow it down and also how to make multiple parts of the fight interesting and narratively important. I'm going to have to be very arbitrary because it is impossible to provide a concrete set of guidelines for determining the shift in the balance of the war, but I will do my best given the resources I have at my disposal. Let us examine what movies, books, and other mediums generally use to portray moments of intense import for the plot or character development. When do they have you cheering the victory or crying from depression? When the hero is incapacitated or the big bad has been knocked off his high seat, this generally signals the end. Of course it is not quite the same as the death of the villain is almost always at the end whereas the hero is taken down somewhere in the middle (only to rise again. Of course the hero could also be knocked out at the end and then in a few minutes be back on his feet but that is neither here nor there). Look at your battle and see when it was that your or the opponent's general died. It is entirely possible that both ended up dying, that just changes how you want to tell your story. With the death of the general comes the type of tale you can tell. If the general died in the beginning the story is one of the army fighting on without him, demoralized but grim in their resolution, digging in to fight to the end even as their comrades die around them (victory or defeat does not matter, the story could be the same). If they died in the middle of the battle, that is when the force starts falling apart or is driven to greater things to avenge the heroic death of their commander. If it was the end it could be a tragic death, something gut wrenching because of all that they had given to bring victory and yet they would never live to see it. On the other hand if their force had fallen apart earlier they could have died because they could not stand the shame of their defeat and leading their friends to their deaths or could have perished as a coward, cut down despite trying to use his friends as bullet bait. This is all determined - again - by the style of story and characters you want involved in your Battle Report. Where else could you look for significant events in your battle? At what point did the most models perish? When were your forces gunned down en-masse or did you cut through several units of troops with your valiant cavalry? Were you able to take out the majority of the enemy forces when you stormed their base of operations, or were you forced back by disciplined volleys? These are instances in time that you can go to town as a narrator, plucking at the heart strings of your audience as you try and capture the emotions that the characters must be feeling as everyone they have known and loved for 20+ years are gone in the blink of an eye or they liberate that town from the occupation of the heretical chaos influence, knowing that the people who had cowered in their homes for years would finally be able to see the light and live under the freedom given to them by the Emperor. Perhaps what you want most to look for when you seek out those significant events in your Battle Report to illustrate is try and figure out where can you convey the most life and detail, what will make an excellent scene and piece of writing that you would love to show your friends or the internet at large. I'm not sure if I mentioned this anywhere else but in my mind Battle Reportification should not be just a passing attempt, it is a serious effort to craft something that isn't seen anywhere else. Not quite as long as a short story, but with plenty of depth, plot, and character development that could be as good as many short stories. This isn't just about saying what happened in your battle, this is going the whole hog (I think that's the saying but I'm not sure) and putting in place all the elements that would make this Battle Report a piece of literature, not just fluff. This is the difference that I see in fluff and lore. Fluff is filler garbage that is eye candy, does not really satisfy, it just fills the time until we come across something better. Black library on the other hand is often lore because of the character development, serious themes and powerful character development. There are examples that are simply fluff because they aren't really works that aren't seen elsewhere and aren't really unique, but most of it does add something to how you view the 41st millenium and the Imperium or the other races. Giving someone something new to think about, that is what I think is one of the greatest achievements of doing good writing. That’s also how I look at blogs, if you have nothing different to say from other people or if you are just whining and not contributing then you don't need to have a blog. But I'm digressing and I apologize for that. I hope you enjoyed this post, always glad to write for you guys!

1 comment:

  1. I think this post is a good one for any of us to read, lots of deep thought and good ideas. This series is a pretty good follow up to your creating a planet series, and I hope that you're able to keep this great a quality going.