1. terobi

    terobi Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    Messages:
    339
    Likes Received:
    252
    Location:
    Manchester, UK

    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

    Mumble Bee Custom Title. Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Messages:
    1,208
    Likes Received:
    1,968
    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

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,489
    Likes Received:
    5,672
    Location:
    California, US
    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.
     
    terobi likes this.
  4. terobi

    terobi Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    Messages:
    339
    Likes Received:
    252
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    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.
     
    Steerpike likes this.
  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,489
    Likes Received:
    5,672
    Location:
    California, US
    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

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,755
    Likes Received:
    762
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    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!
     

Share This Page