How to: Writing the Human Moments Between the Swords and the Fists

by Priscilla Yip

The dust settles as the hero defeats villain after villain before continuing their quest to defeat the antagonist.


What happens then?


Writing in between the battles is tough, and something that I’ve struggled with since I don’t want to bore my reader before the final battle. Whether it’d be defeating the evil boss or after a nasty break up, it’s hard to know where to continue from there without slapping on a rushed scene to get to the next battle. Therefore, I try to take into account the aftermath of the battle. Since there are so many ways I could write this, I start with a simple one.


First, if my character is physically injured, I could write a scene about them getting medical attention. For that I would have to consider if they’re alone or in a party which opens up a whole can of worms which I will discuss later. Also my character’s location is a major factor. If their location is close to civilization or surrounded by wildlife places a time limit on my character’s survival. There’s also my character’s inventory, whether or not they have bandages, or a magical potion.


Next there’s the emotional state my character might be in after the battle. They could either be triumphant or exhausted. It’s a good opportunity to express your character’s mood and their emotions about their goal or their current situation. You might also consider the status of their opponent. Have they escaped? Or have they let the character live? How that affects your character?


Furthermore, as a writer, we have to consider the purpose of the battle and whether or not it will affect the world of your story. Whatever happens next might further develop or change your story's world. Consider how the world might shift because of the battle. Did it hurt diplomatic relations? Or did the battle help the character in their journey?


If my character is in a group after a battle, I would consider writing funny hijinks that they could get into in order to further develop their characters and their relationships to one another, or a side story that takes them from one place to the next. It’s a good way to establish a normal mundane snapshot of their lives without the fighting.


You could add in your own experiences like for a story I did a few weeks ago. After a big battle, I wrote that my character just fell right onto a straw pile of a nearby farm by the forest, but in reality that was me after turning in a major project minutes before the due date.


Additionally, you could foreshadow future events with subtle actions or motifs. Personally I enjoy writing about my character after a battle resting around a campfire before helping a traveling caravan get to its destination. With this, I get to flesh out the economic side of the world while describing the culture and political situation.


How do you write the moments between battle or action scenes? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author: Priscilla Yip is a English major from Texas who is an avid fantasy reader and podcast listener. She loves watching anime and reading web comics.



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