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44

You don't need to be able to build homemade explosive to describe a character who does. You just need to give the reader the impression that the character knows what he/she's up to. Most of the reader won't know how to make or detonate bombs anyway, so you can probably impress them without turning your story into the Anarchist Guide to Explosives. So, ...


31

"Did you know if you mixed equal parts of gasoline and frozen orange juice concentrate you can make napalm?" - Tyler Durden, Fight Club But guess what, it doesn't work. The author made that up. But in the context of the story the method works. Making factual mistakes in the description of bomb making might in fact be the responsible thing to do. You don't ...


31

Have you considered doing something like skipping, then describing? Something like (but do consider this first draft quality): The man kept the gun pointed at her. Jane had trained for years, and knew exactly what to do. Moving swiftly and confidently, she wrestled the gun from his hand. The man had been completely unprepared for her hitting his wrist, ...


28

Be consistent The most important thing is to keep your story consistent. A story which has the same rules throughout can be accepted even if it is not compatible with the real world. However, even a fantasy story will be rejected by the reader if the rules of what is possible in the fantasy world change without justification. Even within a given genre, the ...


22

The simple answer is simply to describe the awareness of the fight. I've been doing martial arts for three years now, so I know that your mentality shifts a lot depending on what style you are using. However, there is a common theme of looking for a weakness in your opponent and exploiting it. While I have never been in a plain 'fist-fight', I would assume ...


18

You have a lot to talk about, in theory. A city under siege could last for months, sometimes a year, without reinforcements (by the way, wikipedia has a nice list of sieges here, both real and fictional). So, sieges are relatively slow and can have relatively low action (compared to field battles). But you, as a writer, have the possibility of skipping all ...


17

If you're doing essentially the same thing as 90% of your genre (flying people achieve great heights immediately, people with superpowers never have issues with getting fuel for those powers, someone can be knocked unconscious for hours but be okay) because the "realistic" details are not the purpose of your story, then I think you're fine. If anything, your ...


17

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 -...


15

The tone of your writing will make the difference Written out in a cold hard list like that is certainly sounds brutal. MC2 has MC1 at their mercy and yet continues to threaten and abuse them. If you want to portray the brutality of the scene then you don't have a problem. If you didn't intend for it to sound so harsh then you need to look at how you ...


15

As @Wetcircuit suggest, try shifting the focus to the gunman Now, I have no idea how you write your story, but here's an attempt at setting up the scene: Staring straight into the barrel, her heartbeat was the only thing she could hear, as all of her senses sharpened, to show her that this was one of the moments. Those moments where everything came ...


15

Let's take a look at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in the Lord of the Rings: First, we have the Rohirrim. Among them are Theoden, Éowyn, Éomer and Merry. Then we have Minas Tirith, with its various forces, and with Gandalf and Pippin as focal point characters. There's the events inside the city with Denethor, and there's Imrahil outside. In the middle ...


14

The O.S.S. and I My great-uncle wrote a book about his experience with the Office of Strategic Services in WWII, full of stories of espionage and clandestine acts. There is even a chapter titled "How to Blow Up a Bridge." It may not be a textbook answer to your question, but perhaps the tone and (exciting!) stories could give you some inspiration. It's ...


14

I like your last example. Just keep the speedy action and remove the final sentence that seems out of place for your setting. If your character knows what she's doing, the action she performs will be subconscious; even she won't think about it much, and the prose reflects that. Her hand hit like thunder, whirling the gun away from the man's fingers and ...


13

Assuming the detainer is a police officer, in many jurisdictions this would be considered unnecessary force, i.e. illegal, and would likely result in the detainee having to be released. Police forces in many nations are bound by principles of criminal justice ethics, and in fact, there are laws that police officers must adhere to in order to avoid ...


12

I'm going to try and take the answer from "a CVn": Have you considered doing something like skipping, then describing? ... and take it a bit further. Jane was calm, arms up, as John held her at gunpoint. Steadying herself, she assessed him. Everything about his posture, his demeanour, his very air, spoke volumes to her: He was going to pull the ...


11

Welcome to the SE. In general, dry writing is 'journalistic' writing, in that it records events. Gripping writing records interior reactions to events. Interior writing is tougher to write, in particular because it involves knowing the background and emotional make-up of not only the main character, but the friends and close secondary characters. Take ...


10

If you are contemplating about mediaeval warfare with longsword type weapons, try reenactors. These people are actually researching what can, cannot be done with the means at the time. This includes fighting in full plate using realistic swords. There are lots of visuals to be found but best would be to seek out a group from a compatible age and go through ...


10

If you want the scene to initially be confusing, go ahead! Since it's written in first person, that's just realistic. However, keep it brief. It would probably be rather annoying to try to read through more than a paragraph of stuff that makes no sense, and readers might just want to skip it. Also, to make sure they don't continue to feel confused after ...


9

Describe the effects, particularly where the effects in space without the presence of air resistance/friction differ from the familiar effects in an atmosphere where friction slows things down. Thucydides' answer to your question in Worldbuilding SE gave several possibilities, e.g. "Kinetic energy weapons will go until they run into something." Since your ...


9

It's actually not an issue because "history is written by the victors", who often use their dominance to codify the evil of the vanquished. The vanquished may have been evil, but evil is a relative concept based on social mores, (despite what deolators would assert), and so, even engaging in acts that would be considered evil, it's a safe bet that most of ...


9

"Good" and "Evil" are, almost always, very relative terms. While wars are invariably (if there's some counter-example I cannot think of it right away) fought for economic reasons fighters are usually driven by some compelling inner moral reason. [I know I'm oversimplifying, but otherwise this answer would become a long treatise.] Your "heroes" fall, most ...


9

As Totumus Maximus noted in a comment, the fact that your character loses the fight shows, right off the bat, that she is not going to be an overpowered Mary-Sue who wins everything without even trying. The fact that she can't defeat the creature (and probably knows she can't) but tries anyway shows that she is courageous and doesn't give up easily, which ...


9

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 ...


8

I am not convinced of your premise that people don't read books for action scenes, nor that numerous fighting scenes are "just bad writing." I'd argue that knocking a character out just to skip an action scene is bad writing. The Hobbit certainly had battle scenes, I remember one where Gandalf was turning pine-cones into fire bombs. Tolkein's The Two Towers ...


8

There are a LOT of things you see all the time in fiction that are totally unrealistic. Not only do characters in stories typically get knocked out and remain unconscious for hours, but they then regain consciousness, shake their heads, and they're fine. In real life a concussion is not something that just goes away by shaking your head. I develop software ...


8

I am afraid that if I write a scene like the one with Joe above, people might criticize it for being unrealistic, even if I was writing a fantasy. Hang a lampshade on it. Beefy McProtagonist had seen bards who clearly knew nothing of actual combat perform tales in which a blow to the back of the head would render an adversary unconscious for hours, ...


8

Engineering corps, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Your character has done military service as a Combat Engineer and/or Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). As their tour of duty ended (for reasons left unspecified for your convenience) they then transferred to law enforcement, or a private military company (PMC) for the same kind of duty, and/or as an educator ...


8

Some Generals fought alongside their soldiers. I did a quick google to confirm and as recent as WWII some generals fought while directing battle. Caesar was known to join the fray when the issue was in doubt, inspiring his men and giving his loyal legions the desire to not only please him, but protect him. The further back in history your battle is, the ...


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