Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Battle Reportification Part 8 - Gritty Details
I'm going to dive right into this article without any pretext. How is it that you give the proper amount of detail for your Battle Report? And how do you know where to put in the most effort? Well hopefully you will have a great amount of detail throughout it, but obviously you want to know where you should really put in the elbow grease and make it sparkle like the sunlight gleaming off of a vampire's pale white skin… oh wait we don't want to write anything ridiculous and absolutely idiotic, sorry about that. First we'll go into the where: what kind of story are you going to tell? I'm going to go into themes for your Battle Report next post, but for now lets work with what we have. Once you've decided on the themes that you want to be associated with your story and you've chosen the characters to narrate it and the setting you need to figure out what really pushes those ideas. What parts of the Battle or narrative that you had going on in your head lead you to that final decision? Which shoot outs or desperate dog fights brought out the best in your ideas? Those moments that brought you to your theme are the big ones that you want vividly portrayed because you want to show that it was what is actually important. Secondly you are going to want to divide up the events in your Battle Report (note that I said in your Battle Report and not your battle. Don't let the tabletop rule everything you want to do, use it as a guideline). Moments can be divided into a variety of categories, all of which I will go over later: plot; character development; setting; With those in mind you are going to decide what details in particular to focus on. Of course this will be discussed in future posts, the next four or so posts will all be related with this one and each other so it might be a little frustrating to read through this until you are able to put all of the pieces together at the end (its only four days after this one, you'll live). So the types of details that you center your efforts upon will be determined largely by the type of scene you are doing so we can skip that bit for now. What I don't need to do in those posts is provide you with a scale for effort. When you lay out what you want to include in your Battle Report scenes wise (you don't have to do all of this ahead of time though you may find it to be beneficial considering the format that I am presenting) you should make a conscious choice on how important each of these scenes is in terms of the category assigned to it. Just how much character development comes out of this scene between the narrator and an enemy soldier youth? Does it impact the audience's view of the narrator more than the scene where we see them hold their best friend as they die, or is it less important than the scene where we find out their favorite brand of caffeine? Once these decisions are made you will find everything else is much easier. Onto how you actually put in the detail. An exercise that you might find to be useful is imagine yourself as a storyteller. I know that sounds obvious, but see yourself actually telling your friend this story over the phone or while at a campfire. Does it have the necessary imagery to give them an actual sense of what is going on or to know how tense the moment is supposed to be? Can they picture it in their heads? Do they have a sense of attachment to the story, do you think they would be leaning in towards you to hear what you are saying better in order for them to fully embrace the experience so they don't miss a word? Can they tell what are the important moments? Of course you are going to have to be brutally honest with yourself, this is not the time to be exaggerative. Maybe you need to actually test it out on someone, but for the most part you can weed out the unnecessary stuff and find out what needs the most work to start with with this technique. The key to keep in mind is that you are ultimately telling a story, the entire thing has to be communicable through language. Your hand gestures will not be present when people are reading your stories, they cannot make those same leaps of the imagination and imagery that you are going to initially. Another technique that I will give you (and this will be brief) is that you should picture it in your head. What do you see? Now take every possible bit of it and put it into words. Describe it down to its absolute core so that if someone was there they would be startled as they noticed something that you picked out that they had not even noticed despite standing in that same spot as you. Both of those methods should serve you well along with the tidbit I gave you some post in the past about the feeling of the room (temperature, taste, sound, smell, etc.). Hope this was a good read, thanks for joining me!