The Novelry Blog

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How To Write a Fantasy Novel - The Battle Scene. Oct 06, 2019

To the Battle!

The battle in the classics of Tolkien and others is often a bit of a let down.

There’s a long walk, a lot of fine talk, plenty of awe then either the human hero finds an exit and postpones the battle or there’s a divine intervention which crushes evil a tad unfairly I think.

So, we have a complete rout, or evil sneaks off. There’s not much in the way or real prolonged suffering, no lingering in the mud of the trenches here. But hey ho. We’ve all been surprised by our first punch and children milk-fed on reading books are no doubt the most sucker-punched of all. But we all know there’s no alternative without completely compromising the experience of wonderment.

Tolkien approaches the battle in short sentences. You will know one’s coming because his word count between full stops drops dramatically. This seems to me to prove that discretion really is the better part of valour.

Bilbo almost stopped breathing, and went stiff...

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