Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fantastic Worlds and Armies

I must say that I was a little disappointed when I found out that the popular writing book The Art of War for Writers wasn't actually about warfare and effective battle scenes. Because I need some help in that area.

I found some great articles on not just medieval warfare, but many other aspects of speculative fiction such as dialogue, world-building, and naming characters at The one I needed this morning is called "The Numberless Hordes."

Does anyone else have any other good resources to share?


  1. Why don't you go to The Writing Show and browse through their archives of podcasts. They're very informative. There's a link to them on my side bar if you want to check it out :)

  2. i think i found that article back when i was doing Eldala.

    regarding The Art of War for Writers, i knew what it was before i bought it, but was disappointed that it was mostly a rehashing of his other book on plot and structure, which i already have.

    good luck with your battle scenes. i'm facing the same problem. my husband helped me with them last time, but he's been busy this time around. have you tried watching some battle scenes from various movies?

  3. Yes, Michelle, but watching a scene doesn't tell me what the things are called. You know, all those little bits of metal and leather and what not that the cute guys with long hair wear. Nor the difference between a captain, a marshal, a general and a sargeant. I know a halberd isn't the same as a hauberk, but exactly what they are is a bit fuzzy! LOL!

    Really I was researching military ranks, because even though Harth as the second in command to Faldur makes him a Lieutenant, I think the term is too modern-sounding. So I was looking to see if there was anything else I could use. Per the article, it looks like I probably shouldn't call him anything at all, except perhaps Sargent. I'm racking my brains for some kind of Ranger-ish title that would be distinct for the Hanorja, but I can't think of anything.

  4. Sorry, I can't help with war and battle resources. I popped over from Laurel's leaves to say hi and congratulate you ion your award! :-)

  5. I'm sorry, I don't. Francine Prose recommends reading books with the types of scenes you're looking to write. She gives examples, but not of battle scenes. Are there works of fiction you know of that may help or have you done that already?

  6. Thank you, Teresa and Shannon. I have a friend who has some really incredible fight scenes in her book, and I plan to use those as a reference. Really though, I'm starting to think that there's nothing that mysterious about fighting. Like everything else, just write it.

    Tolkein wrote some of the most famous battle scenes ever, and this is what they are like:

    "For morning came, morning and a wind from the sea; and darkness was removed and the hosts of Mordor wailed, and terror took them, and they died, and the hooves of wrath rode over them. And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was upon them,, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City." - The Return of the King

    It is the mood, the great tides that matter, not the details of whose sword connected with which part of whom else's armor.

  7. Hi,

    If you're interested in knowing the secrets of the War Bow (long bow) you'll find a url on my blog:last but one post. It's a book written by my father-in-law. There are others, too.

    For general warfare information through time from era of the building of the pyramids: A History of Warfare by John Keegan.

    Other than that the rank and file from officer to army cook has passed down the generations of various military schools with variations on the theme og how many mn per platoon, regiment/legion etc. So, for fantasy armies following the Roman/Greek way of legions might be an idea along with officer ranking ie; centurion, legionaire etc. Though with a bit of imagination one could play with those names and juggle them: centenion etc. Same goes for captain, major etc: caprano, magor. ;) or something even more imaginative!!


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