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My POV character has been seriously injured and is bedridden for three months.

But life stops for no one. In fact, a major epic battle is brewing and to delay it would be unrealistic. If anything, the enemy would surely seek to strike while the hero has been forced onto the sidelines.

I've already written the huge battle... and it's epic. But I can't figure out that to do with it.

Do I delete the scene and replace it with how the POV character hears the news after the fact? But three months of doing nothing is really boring.

Or, do I keep the scene but switch to a new POV character for just one scene? (Would it be confusing to have a secondary POV character for only one scene?)

  • 1
    do you have to have a specific POV character? Can you write it as third person limited with no one POV, so you are "watching" all the events like a camera moving around but not staying with one person and not getting anyone's thoughts? – Lauren-Reinstate-Monica-Ipsum May 28 at 20:05
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You have multiple options.

  • You can, as @Amadeus says, rewrite, so your character can be in the battle.
  • You can have somebody recount the battle to your character after the fact, with your character reflecting bitterly on not having been there, and having been unable to affect things. In this case, you don't have to narrate the three months of doing nothing - that's boring. Also, it can't be the big battle of the story - if the main character misses the most important battle, readers would be disappointed.
  • Depending on who your character is, they might be involved in the tactical preparations for the battle, without having to get out of bed. They might even be receiving messages and sending orders while the battle is ongoing, depending on how close they are to the action.
  • If you wish to introduce another POV, you should do so earlier. As an example, consider how in The Lord of the Rings we see battles from Merry's POV and from Pippin's POV, while Frodo and Sam are elsewhere. It is an option, but it would require more substantial changes than the previous ones.
  • You can make this battle something the character and the reader only hear about , without much description (that many dead, that many wounded, such and such assets gained or lost), and keep the epic description for another battle.
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    +1 for involving them in tactical preparations. The scene might be even more intense if they know what's happening during the battle but can't do anything about it. – icanfathom May 28 at 21:04
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    You mentioned LotR, but didn't bring up the fact that Tolkien did exactly what the OP was asking about in The Hobbit - Bilbo is knocked out at the beginning of the Battle of the Five Armies and has to have it described to him after the fact. – Darrel Hoffman May 29 at 12:39
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    @DarrelHoffman Bilbo sees quite a bit of the battle. He is knocked out only when "the eagles are coming". Having fought in the Battle of the Somme, Tolkien knew that battles were ugly, "uncomfortable, not to say distressing". Writing for children, he lets the reader feel relief and joy as the tide turns, and skips over the ugly parts by having Bilbo not see those. "All that happened after he was stunned, Bilbo learned later; but it gave him more sorrow than joy" is all he says on the matter. And there's Thorin's death of course. – Galastel supports GoFundMonica May 29 at 12:50
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Rewrite.

I don't think it is a good idea to have a new POV character for one scene.

You have control of history, don't injure your hero character, or don't injure her so badly, or go back in your story and figure out how to delay the battle until she can participate.

It sounds like you are a discovery writer, inventing the plot as you go. So am I, but sometimes I write myself into a dead-end, as you have done. The answer is to unwind back to a turning point and fix it.

Stephen King is a discovery writer, and he did the same thing while writing The Stand: Wrote himself into a corner; his story stalled. After thinking about it for a week and thinking he was going to lose the book, he scrapped a hundred pages of writing and rewound. He decided that, because he lets his characters do what he thinks is the most natural thing for each to do, they became complacent: So he went back to where he decided that first began (the stall), and he had the bad guys plant a bomb that killed half his heroic crew. He introduced a major plot twist.

In the final story, you can't tell that happened: It reads smooth. The bonb is a surprise but it makes sense: the bad guys wanted to hit them and did it, using a traitor and sabotage. The traitor was unhappy with the good guys; I don't know if he added that or just used what was there.

Just go back and fix it. Think of something else. The Hero has to be at the battle; whatever you wanted to accomplish with the injury, accomplish it some other way. Make it happen to someone else, maybe someone the hero loves (as a friend or romantic interest). Do like King, and come up with a plot twist, something unexpected (that still makes sense).

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