Has nothing to do with Ham To Ham Combat. Hopefully.
Ahem. I find that combat scenes are, wordcount wise, relatively short.
Writing wise, they can be hellaciously long, because the planning. Oh man, the planning….
There are three things, minimum, I need to have before I can successfully write a fight. First – who’s involved? Good guys, bad guys, innocent bystanders, that one tourist who gets lost off the highway and wanders into the line of fireballs.
Second – where is the fight? Physical terrain, time of day, weather conditions. All of these matter in determining who has the advantage, and under what circumstances they can change something up to get the upper hand.
Third – how long can the fight go on? In a Masquerade setting, you only have so long before the cops show up to the “suspicious noise” reports. Intrepid is a Broken Masquerade setting, so the cops are definitely showing up; their deadline is more “how long can the good guys keep fighting, when demons don’t get tired very easily?” Not to mention, Demongate….
Number two is often the hardest to pin down. And nothing will really work until I get the right spot. I can write around it, I can lead up to it and rough stuff after the fight, but writing the fight itself… for that, I need a map.
If you just guessed what I spent the afternoon at the library researching, bingo!
The map itself isn’t enough to pick the “where” of a fight, but it is a big help. Without a map I’m guessing in the dark. With one, I can poke various spots for pros and cons, especially if it’s the Bad Guy picking the ultimate battlefield. Does he want tactical advantage? Numbers? A spot he’s guaranteed to get media attention and show off?
…And never underestimate the bunny-fuel of looking at a map and saying, “Gee, I’ve always wanted to set somewhere like that on fire….” 😉