Proper length of a battle

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Thread: Proper length of a battle

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    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Proper length of a battle

    So I'm nearing the end of my first story arc in "Journeys of the Red Star" and all that's left to do is for Ash, Dawn, and Kiyama to defeat a shapeshifting fire ghost to cleanse an ancient forge and appease a lovelorn spirit. My problem is, how long should the battle be?

    Some details:

    --As it is a ghost, weapons won't help (so the three of them have to cast spells, even though it will transform into beings that can be hit with weapons)
    --It has been known to eat Pokemon too
    --The ghost has spells of its own
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    J'ai Envie De Toi AetherX's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Proper length of a battle

    I think that as with any action scene, a battle should work the same way as a whole story. Avoid adding stuff just to make it longer. I'm sure you have an idea of what kind of strategy the heroes are going to use to defeat the ghost, so if you start there and work outwards (i.e. what needs to happen for the heroes to arrive at the conclusion that this is the strategy that will work?), it should be fairly clear how long the battle needs to be. Since it's the climax of the arc, I say it should probably last at least a full chapter. If you've been building up to it for a long time, it should be longer. If it's spontaneous, it could be shorter. If you've just been building up to it for the arc, I think that one chapter's about right.

    It all really depends on how long you can keep it interesting, and how anticipated it is. Nothing's worse than a disappointingly short scene that's been built up to for at least the last few chapters.

    Just my two cents.

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    Default Re: Proper length of a battle

    I don't know if I can offer much but when writing the battles, I'm guessing it should tying into the story with seamless segues.

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    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Proper length of a battle

    Quote Originally Posted by AetherX View Post
    I think that as with any action scene, a battle should work the same way as a whole story. Avoid adding stuff just to make it longer. I'm sure you have an idea of what kind of strategy the heroes are going to use to defeat the ghost, so if you start there and work outwards (i.e. what needs to happen for the heroes to arrive at the conclusion that this is the strategy that will work?), it should be fairly clear how long the battle needs to be. Since it's the climax of the arc, I say it should probably last at least a full chapter. If you've been building up to it for a long time, it should be longer. If it's spontaneous, it could be shorter. If you've just been building up to it for the arc, I think that one chapter's about right.

    It all really depends on how long you can keep it interesting, and how anticipated it is. Nothing's worse than a disappointingly short scene that's been built up to for at least the last few chapters.
    Just my two cents.
    I've already planned for it to get an episode to itself--the problem is finding the fine line between too short and "tl;dr"
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    J'ai Envie De Toi AetherX's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Proper length of a battle

    Quote Originally Posted by LightningTopaz View Post
    I've already planned for it to get an episode to itself--the problem is finding the fine line between too short and "tl;dr"
    If that's the case, then my second bit of advice still stands. If it's been built up to for a while, then make it a little longer than the usual chapter. If it's only been built up to for a little while, then make it as long as a regular length chapter. If you write long chapters, readers will expect a longer battle. I think as long as you make it exciting, it can be as long as you'd like.

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    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Proper length of a battle

    Okay--I'll aim for about 4-6 pages (since all my exploration episodes were roughly 2-3 pages)
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    is obsessed with Noivern! Zekurom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Proper length of a battle

    If you "aim" for some length, you'll start writing for that length. Instead, write so that everything follows smoothly, and you've placed all the appropriate details in, without caring about the length. If it comes out too long, it comes out too long. You're not writing a résumé. If you've paced everything right, it should still read smoothly anyway.

    That being said, if you're desperate for a guideline, it depends on how important the battle is to the plot. The more important, the longer you'd probably make it.
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    Registered User Tyroctar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Proper length of a battle

    I agree with everyone above who says that the more important the battle is the longer it should be in the end. I've written climactic battles that have reached almost ten pages, but they were climactic so they're supposed to be that way. You don't want a ten page slugfest to start out a story, but when it matters, you better pack a punch with it. My suggestion is write the scene, see how long it is, then go over it and trim the fat so to speak. Get rid of any redundancies, but don't skip anything and don't attempt to force it into anything. You may have a square peg and round hole.

    I hope this isn't way too late or anything.

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