Defend this city, defend your home: writing a battle scene

The siege machines are rolling across great plains that stretch out for as far as the eye can see, heading for the mighty fortress. Soldiers line up along the walls, preparing the puts of bubbling tar and the massive wooden trebuchets. The commanding officers are telling them over and over, “stand your ground” and “defend the city, defend your home.”

Scenes like this appear in nearly all works of epic/high fantasy. Many readers look forward to the bloody conflicts, although most of them are usually the same. Some enemy force attacks a castle or fortress city, and they usually take control, beating down the gates or burning the city. When all hope is gone, someone always saves the day.

My novel (and hopefully all of its sequels) focuses mostly on a set group of characters and their quests to achieve the demands of the prophecy (and later on, to defeat who created the prophecy to begin with). The characters grow throughout the series, as does the entire world (technology and science advancing quickly).

My novels therefore won’t contain very many epic battles scenes involving castles under siege. The key word there is many. In my current chapter of my first novel, the capital city of Euphinor, Suixerium, comes under siege multiple times by the same foe, who tries to take it and create a new protectorate state. The battles at Suixerium are not critical plot points of the novel, although two of the main characters are present during the battles. Those scenes focus mostly on the characters during the siege.

I thought it would be an easy chapter to blow through, but it has held up progress on my novel. The armies of Aaniea are attempting to take the main castle walls, but the soldiers and the wizard Austrevur have been keeping them at bay. Austrevur had been using illegal dark magic to save them, although it was becoming too much for him to keep doing.

I’m at the point where I’m not sure what to do with the scene. I suppose I could focus on the great battle at hand, but I didn’t want to have it seem like a crucial part of the plot. It was more for character development and to show what’s happening throughout the world as the other MCs are trying to reach the prophecy.

Do you write any epic battles? Do epic battles appeal to you?

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Author: Chase Charaba

Hello there! I'm Chase, an ambitious, aspiring young novelist and YouTuber who hopes to get a novel published one day. I'm also trying to produce the highest quality YouTube videos by constantly learning new ways to film and edit. I've been involved in journalism for 5 years, including 1 year as co-editor of a national award-winning high school newsmagazine and 1 year as the co-editor of an award-winning college newspaper. I write mainly epic/high fantasy, but I also mess around with science fiction, horror, and realistic fiction.

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