1. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    Writing naval battles

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by terobi, Jun 2, 2016.

    So, my current WIP includes airship battles (and indeed an entire naval culture) based heavily on Napoleonic War-era European navies.

    The trouble is, I have no idea how to write those battles. At the moment, it feels like dry description of manoeuvres, and I'm struggling to make them exciting. All of the standard techniques for writing fight scenes - short, direct sentences, clear goals and actions, etc. just aren't working.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for either discussion of these things, else for books and stories that handle this in an exciting way?
     
  2. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    Not really the answer you're looking for, but if you want to buy time write from the point of view of a new guy.

    That way, the first few battles can amount to "stuff was crazy, things blew up"
    Plus you can have him learn about ship battles, and how to describe them, at the same rate you do.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Check out Patrick O'Brien, C.S. Forester, Julian Stockwin, etc. All good historical, naval fiction.

    EDIT: Scratch Kent; I don't think I liked him that much. Also, Rafael Sabatini has a book that I think is set during the same time period. Probably published in the early to late 1920s.
     
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  4. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I watched the Hornblower adaptations as part of my research, to get the aesthetic down, so the prose style may also be helpful.
     
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  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You're welcome. O'Brien wrote Master and Commander, which you may have seen in film form. Stockwin does justice to their literary tradition.
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Looking at examples from fiction (not exactly Napoleonic era) you could check out Roger Zelazny's first book in the Chronicles of Amber series, Nine Princes in Amber. Also, I don't recall which off the top of my head, but the Elric books have some naval combat sequences in them. It's what I used to give me ideas for the naval fight (3 ships) in my most recent fantasy novel.

    Sometimes using other successful authors' works to give ideas in wording, pacing, perspective, dialogue and such help me with I come across something challenging that I haven't attempted before.

    Good luck!
     

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