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How do you plan and write an action scene?

Discussion in 'The Authors' Café' started by shoz999, Sep 4, 2019.

  1. shoz999

    shoz999 IT WAS ME! SETETH!

    Simple question. Probably long answer lol, how do you plan and write an action scene for your Pokemon fanfics.

    So for me, this is either the easiest or hardest part depending on how much I grasp the action scene. Sometimes, I have an idea what each action, each blow or movement is going to happen in a battle and other times I just have no idea what the Pokemon or Trainer are thinking step-by-step when battling. You want to plan this out carefully because you want your audience to actually know what's going on and that can sometimes be the hardest part because what the writer sees is not always what the reader sees.

    Then there's also how consistent your "magic system" could be and everyone has a different idea of how to handle Pokemon's battling system. Some people just focus on the moves, typings, maybe some abilities thrown in there but others go a little deeper than that and start to add stuff like the Pokedex entries, the Pokemon's biology into the battle. Like for example in Pokemon Adventures, Quagsire is a sturdy very strong Pokemon that is slow to feel anything and because of that it's able to lift a Pokemon much larger than it. When Quagsire performs such an action, it looks like it takes some time but it does it with a smile like it's no big deal and it gives off the impression that it looks like a bit of a challenge for Quagsire but it also looks easy for Quagsire. For some other people, they throw in the numbers and go for a more mechanical feel which are normally explained by various forms of electronics like the Pokedex and for some people, this is interesting and logical way to do battling but for others they see this as a way to take them out of the immersion because even though this isn't really immersion-breaking, the numbers and more mechanical focus does give off the impression that Pokemon are more like tools than friends.

    Now imagine all of this but consisting of Pokemon battles where you have to switch in and out to around 3 to 6 Pokemon. Now suddenly it seems like a lot more work right and the thing is, it kind of is depending on how much your going for but that's just from my experience.
     
  2. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Write out a basic script for what you want to happen--what the heroes do, how the villians respond, and how the heroes respond to that in turn. Also consider when and if allies show up, and when the heroes fire off the last ditch super move to save the world (or at least get the bad guys off their backs for the day)
     
    shoz999 likes this.
  3. Venia Silente

    Venia Silente [](int x){return x;}

    Plan around the music.

    I'm not even half kidding. I find a piece of music that I feel like it would relate to the action scene I want to write, even more if it is an actual fight. I listen to the piece a couple of times to get in the mood of what should the pacing of the scene be. With that in place, I find it much easier to write the outline, and with an outline that already has a good pace you already get a better idea of how to handle the level of detail that the various components of the scene need, adding to the information about their nature - for example, a knife fight requires a different breadth and depth of attention to detail than a sword fight than a gun fight.

    In my experience and looking at how action is handled in several movies and series, if you find yourself at either of these extremes then the resulting action scene is going to be unsatisfactory. Much of the "good" action in a good action scene comes from giving the reader the feeling that not even the author/director is sure who's going to come out on top, and the best way to fake it is to... well, not fake it. If a gap is too wide and you need too much material to fill it, leave the task to the reader - they likely have more and better material than you have.

    (of course, if at the bottom of that gap is a lava moat figuratively speaking, do disregard this particular advice)

    It could help better perhaps to have a better idea of what kind of action scene you need to plan for. After you get through even the most basic minutiæ about an action scene, planning strategies tend to vary wildly depending on the medium, the expected pacing, the amount of participants and the narrative weight of the outcome.

    Anyway, as a sort of general specific advice: at every major step of the battle these are some of the things you need to know about your characters and about the fight itself, the list slightly altered to account for Pokémon (but still needs to account for the specifics of your setting):

    * Their location relative to each other: who can attack or even afford to aim at who.
    * How much of their available energy has each participant spent (their PP, if you want), and if it is possible for them to acquire energy for attacks from an available source (eg.: a typed Gem).
    * The presence of wounds and mental preconditions that hamper the character's performance. Things like Taunt / Torment come into play, as does overthinking (in the in-character sense).
    * Which participants can afford to change their strategy and why. A Swellow might well stay up in safe air range to avoid a Manectric's bolts, but it's not going to himself land any hits from up there either.
    * Who has support. Is it possible for your trained mon to request their Trainer for a switchout?
     
    shoz999 likes this.
  4. TheWanderingMist

    TheWanderingMist Kanae, Keeper of the Gates Emblazoned

    Regular battle scenes are pretty easy because anytime I write them I have the battle playing in my head and can adjust as needed. If the focus is on the battle itself, I'll do the Trainer call outs of attacks. If it's instead on someone watching the battle, I'll summarize the action.

    Contest battles are nightmares because I have to ramp up description in order to capture the fact that it's a Contest battle rather than a regular battle and try to get all that flashiness into writing.
     
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