Back in the days of old, I hung out with a lot of text-based role players. Amidst this group were a particular crowd who role played as magic users and warriors, demons and beasts of ill-imagining. Their purpose was to write the most epic battles you could imagine.
I dipped my feet in and wrote in a couple of battles. Would you believe, some people shy away from fictional text-hitting a girl? In a setting where this attack is meant to happen? Well, I experienced that, at least once, much to my character’s dismay. She was ready to bring it, but her opposition barely came to the party. I also role played as quite a few insane characters, which made text-battling very, very fun. In fact, characters of dubious mental stability have become a recurring theme. They are just too deliciously entertaining to write!
I also spent a lot of time as a designated panel judge for major battles and writing “tournaments” for this group. In this role, I learnt a lot about another side of writing. Because part of my job was to explain exactly why one person’s efforts in the ring had been superior to another’s, I had to understand what I was reading and why it worked or didn’t. I broke down a lot of work in that position, and analysed the description, movement, ferocity; the creativity, environmental use, and especially, the give and take of a battle. It taught me a lot about writing fight scenes.
One of the most important factors to me was always how untouchable a character was or wasn’t. There’s nothing great about a character who is never hurt, never at risk. If a writer remembers to let their character take a good beating in the middle of their turn and still overcome while considering the disadvantaged they’ve just written in, it’s going to be a thrilling battle. Nothing else works on the same level as seeing a character trampled, then still manage to fight back. Observe any successful action film and you’ll probably see this, well, in action.
The Damning Moths is no stranger to battles, and a lot of the essential elements for a good fight can harken back to my days of role playing. I know, those dudes won’t ever see this: but thank you. You can’t imagine how fondly I remember you, and miss you, and think of those who taught me the most when I’m in the middle of having my characters tear each other apart. Thank you.